Wow, what a busy couple of days it’s been attending the HP Infrastructure Software and Blades Tech Day at the HP campus. So many subject areas around HP’s Infrastructure Software and BladeSystem products were covered my mind is spinning on where to start. That said there was some really clear messaging coming through from HP around both of these product areas.
To summarise here are my thoughts and the key points that I am taking away from this day and a half event:
- Investment: HP have invested considerable time, money and have leveraged their extensive experience with building leading enterprise level servers (HP Proliants) and applied much of this to their HP BladeSystem products.
- Innovation: HP are continuing to innovate across their BladeSystem product line (eg: dynamic power capping) and with products such as HP’s automated convergence of software, server, storage and networking platform product, the HP Matrix.
- Competitors: HP have a seemingly good awareness of what blade technologies and products their competitors are offering whilst at the same time, as you’d expect, genuinely believe that they currently have the best blade platform on the market. Despite being given the opportunity to enter into a competitor mud-slinging conversation on a couple of occasions by the attending bloggers, HP remained professional and respectful when speaking of their competitors – this speaks volumes in my opinion.
- Virtualization: With the emergence and mainstream adoption of virtualization in the enterprise HP’s blade offerings address the requirements of virtualization with features such as high capacity memory and high IO throughput. Despite HP’s recently announced US$250M partnership with Microsoft, HP made it clear that it was business as usual where VMware was concerned and that they would continue to push and work with VMware’s virtualization product line. This makes perfect sense since the majority of VMware virtualization platforms globally are running on HP blade and Proliant server hardware.
- Software: HP’s Systems Insight Manager (SIM) suite of management software continues to evolve to include the management of other HP products. The power monitoring and dynamic power saving features within SIM also lend to a compelling case for using this management product. In my experience many companies seem to overlook, or be unaware of the powerful and informative functionality that HP SIM can offer them with little to no cost.
- Blade Server & Storage Solutions Customisation: HP’s Factory Express facility at the HP Houston site provides HP with the ability to offer its customers a highly customised factory fitting service. HP have clearly spent much time and money around creating a thorough method of bespoke assembly and testing providing a true value-add service to its clients.
- Getting the Word Out: A criticism I’ve had of HP for sometime now is their inability to effectively get the word out to the general IT masses about their comprehensive range of IT offerings. It sometimes feels that due to the sheer size of the company and the number and diversity of their products that they can’t always operate as an efficient single (albeit rather large) unit. The result of this is a reduced effectiveness in conveying to new and existing customers the detail and potential application of their vast end to end stack of IT products. Admittedly this is no small feat due to the size of company, though events such as this blogger tech day will definitely assist in spreading the word via the bloggers to a broad and far reaching IT readership.
- Listening: I attended an HP Proliant Master ASE event here at the Houston HP campus about 18 months ago and both then and again now at this blogger event I was amazed at the enthusiasm and hunger for feedback shown by the HP engineers we spoke to. It is clear that these engineers are passionate about what they produce and are very appreciative of real-world feedback on their products.
- Sleeping Giant: This blogger event coincided with the release of the HP sponsored Tolly report which is entitled ‘HP BladeSystem c7000 with Proliant BL460c G6 Servers vs Cisco UCS 5100 with B200 Servers’ and can be downloaded for free from here. The Tolly report has been covered well by my fellow attendees Kevin Houston (Blades Made Simple) here and Stephen Foskett (Stephen Foskett –Pack Rat) here so I won’t venture into detail – though in particular check out Kevin’s post as it has prompted some great dialogue in the comments section. This report is the usual fare, vendor one highlights an apparent limitation with vendor two’s product – vendor two jumps up and down and tries to discredit vendor ones report. Time passes everyone forgets about it and then vendor two brings out a similar report discrediting vendor one’s product. <repeat>. So nothing too new here. Time permitting I am tempted to delve further into the report to investigate the claims that it was not a fair like-for-like comparison. However what all of this has shown is yet another instance of a more aggressive HP taking the fight to their competitors something of which we have seen a increasing amount of in the past 6 months or so. The sleeping giant finally stirs?
- Cafeteria: HP have an impressive cafeteria offering a wide range of different food products such as Chinese, Italian, Thai and the good ole fashioned sandwich. So plenty of resilience built into this important part of the employee infrastructure. 😉
Summary: The Blade and Infrastructure Software Tech Day was, in my opinion, a success for both HP and the participating bloggers. HP succeeded in clearly sharing their vision and information on their current range of BladeSystem and SIM products whilst the bloggers gained an increased understanding and an excellent inside perspective into HP’s thinking around these products. I personally walked away with plenty of material and ideas on which to write interesting posts on – watch this space for additional HP Tech Day articles over the coming week or two.
The tech day format has once again proven to provide an open and direct forum for dialogue between the HP presenters, the bloggers and ultimately a wider IT audience.
HP are clearly dedicated to the blade server computing platform and will no doubt continue to be one of the main players in this space. This is backed up with a robust suite of enterprise level infrastructure level management products in the form of SIM and the Rapid Deployment Pack to name a few examples.
The blade server computing space will no doubt continue to be a highly competitive area in which the established server manufacturers and new comers such as Cisco will play. This competition will drive innovation which can only be good for the industry and the end users.
Finally, thanks to HP and IVY for putting on this well organised and informative event.
Disclaimer: HP have covered my flight, accommodation and some food costs for attending this event. I make no secret to thinking HP Proliant and BladeSystem products are rather good and have formed this opinion over years of working with products in these ranges. That said I am just as happy to point out any product or company short comings as this would hopefully lead to improvements being made.