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HP Contends For IT Heavyweight Crown

While HP has led the IT market for some time on a revenue basis, its latest announcements continue the company's evolution from its commodity PC, server and printer roots to the enterprise roost that has been ruled by IBM since the dawn of the information age. HP is announcing a number of Converged Infrastructure solutions that bundle hardware, software and services, targeted at what the company calls the Instant-On Enterprise.

Having kicked sand in Cisco's face with its network announcements last month, HP is now focusing its sights on combating IT sprawl with turnkey solutions that "deliver new levels of speed, simplicity and efficiency that enable clients to capitalize and anticipate change."

Monday's introductions include: Converged Systems, a new portfolio of turnkey hardware, software, consulting and services; Converged Storage architecture and portfolio, which integrates HP Store360 scale-out software with HP BladeSystem and HP ProLiant hardware; Converged Data Center, a new class of HP Performance Optimized Data Centers (PODs), including the HP POD 240a or HP EcoPOD, which uses 95% less facilities energy; and HP Server Automation 9.1 software, which seamlessly provisions physical and virtual application instances across the entire life cycle.

It's all about driving extreme simplicity to the fastest time to value, says HP. With Converged Systems, solutions can be up and running in hours instead of months.

More than any other systems vendor, HP has tightened its product lines, messaging and marketing around a single theme--Converged Infrastructure--says analyst Mike Kahn, managing director, The Clipper Group. “HP has skillfully wrapped its convergence message into an easy-to-identify rallying flag, one that stands higher than all of the rest. Does this give them a competitive advantage? In many ways, yes, as it brings distinctive strategic differentiation into a world of infrastructure based on commodity components. If you crave infrastructure simplicity, HP's converged infrastructure is the place to start.”

In the old days, says Kahn, we used to say that you needed to look "beneath the covers," but that applies much less in this world of commoditized innards. “Today, you have to look 'beyond the covers' to the software that turns hardware into appliances and solutions and the services that accelerate adoption and use. HP has been investing heavily here to fill out its portfolio, and its new and improved offerings have achieved a sizable mass, certainly big enough to offer much to those across the small-business-to-large-enterprise spectrum.”

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