HP might still go for true Converged Infrastructure?

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HP has been marketing Converged Infrastructure for at least 3 to 4 years now. But for most of us it still is not even close to what we would love it to be. In the mean while younger players in the field like Nutanix and Simplivity are playing in that market that the big layers are slacking at. When I wrote my first post of this year where I mentioned Nutanix I said this:

My idea: Nutanix should get an as big as possible market share today. The biggest reason they are niche player now is that the server vendors have been lacking this vision. If HP would have bought FusinIO 2 years ago, this would already exist. If DELL would make something out of the RNA Networks acquisition + their cooperation wth Micron, this could already be in their hands and I am still wondering why Cisco UCS has not made this possible. So it will be up to Nutanix to take that x86 platform market now, because the others just aren’t ready. If you want to talk about “Converged Infrastructure” – this is it, if you talk “x86 Mainframe” – this is it! Who’s next?

What is Converged infrastructure:
Now to HP’s credit, what they have done pretty well in the last few years is that they standardized almost all of their products to the ProLiant platform. Think of StoreVirtual (LeftHand), StoreOnce, StoreAll (Ibrix + Autonomy + Vertica), … But there is more to just standardizing components. there is also bringing that closer to each other.

There is one specific product that has been launched 18 months ago at HP Discover Vienna (december 2011) which went beyond that. This is the E5000 (exchange cluster) / X5000 (windows storage cluster). Basically 2 blade servers together with a DAS (direct attached storage) in a single box. You could call this a C1000 enclosure but HP didn’t. As of the moment this box was available, everyone has been asking to buy this as a ProLiant SKU. Even today this is still not possible. I love this concept for branch offices for example. You could easily run an HP StoreVirtual VSA & HP StoreOnce VSA on this, making it a full datacenter in a single node.

Now guess what DELL did last week … just what we have been asking for (Dell VRTX). HP, you’re next! 

So what’s the point?

Well, putting some components together and selling them all under the same name or just in a reference architecture (EMC vSpex, Dell vStart, …) is not the reason you could be selling it. One big fact that is missing is the management of all those components. For HP you would need HP Cloud System Matrix, build on HP BladeSystem Matrix today to get to that management level. But those are humongous beasts to handle. I never had a customer doing that. But I would see a lot of the customers I used to serve installing Nutanix today. You know why? Starting at one box, getting all management together. That’s what customers are after. Not only for whole racks at a time but just for a single node, scaling up when necessary.

Tom Joyce, bringing all powers together? 
Just a few weeks ago Dave Donatelli decided to spin up a new devision at HP, called “Converged Systems” under the lead of Senior Vice President & General Manager Tom Joyce. It’s not in his intent to bring Servers, Storage and Networking in one business but to build the management layer on top of that. I hope he can do to Converged Infrastucture what StoreServ 7000 did to 3PAR: bringing enterprise to the masses!

It’s been a while since someone at HP got me excited about “converged infrastructure”. Go Tom, looking forward to where you are going. If you nail this like you promise, I’ll be cheering on this blog 😀

Tom Joyce being interviewed by John Furrier & Dave Vellante at SiliconAngle.TV 
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