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HP and Microsoft: The Story Is In The Details

By now you've probably heard that Microsoft and HP announced that they will invest $250 million in aligning the two organizations. It's some of the projected deliverables that make this deal so interesting. The agreement will have  implications for both engineering and marketing/sales teams at multiple levels. HP and Microsoft will collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, with HP offering services and Microsoft continuing to invest in HP hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure. The move will also increase their joint investment in HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partner network by ten times.

More broadly, according to the press release, businesses will benefit in four  main ways:

  • Increased business efficiency through software-hardware that will respond to changing business requirements.
  • Improved application performance by optimizing Exchange Server and SQL Server through turnkey pre-integrated servers.
  • Enhanced operations through integrated, interoperable virtualization and management tools. The duo will integrate HP Insight Software, HP Business Technology Optimization software and Microsoft System Center with Microsoft Hyper-V Server.
  • Investment protection and low total cost of ownership, enabling customers to deploy systems with confidence.

So Microsoft gains access to the HP's data center management software and HP will gain access to Microsoft customers, a win-win for all. (Nod to fellow NWC writer, Edward Correia, for his pithy summation here.)

Beyond the go-to-market benefit, enterprises should realize significant feature gains in future products. HP and Microsoft cited two examples of such integration that will be forthcoming. One due later this year are new power management capabilities for HP server. From Microsoft System Center, IT professionals will be able to directly lower a data center's energy bill by reducing the power utilization of the servers in that data center. Another is the use of runbook automation to simplify the management of Windows and heterogeneous environments.

The data center of tomorrow will be enormously complex. The infrastructure is envisioned as being able to adapt to environmental and load conditions, tapping cloud capabilities as necessary. In order to realize that vision, a strong synchronicity must exist between the three segments that comprise the data center - software, hardware, and the cloud. The relationship between Microsoft and HP is a step along the lines of realizing that vision.