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HP Expands Service Offerings For x86 Environments

Hewlett-Packard announced today the availability of several new service offerings designed for business customers that are increasingly putting their mission-critical applications on industry-standard x86 architecture servers. The new Critical Advantage service includes varying levels of support at different price points, and offers both proactive service to prevent breakdowns and reactive service to respond quickly when breakdowns occur.

As enterprise customers gain confidence in the reliability, performance and cost-effectiveness of x86-based systems, as well as increase their use of virtualization, they are migrating mission-critical systems to x86-based systems from legacy mainframe or Unix-based systems, says Flynn Maloy, director of worldwide marketing for technology services at HP. "IT shops are getting comfortable with this technology," Maloy says. However, because they run mission-critical apps and because virtualization brings with it its own level of complexity, services and support has to keep pace with this trend.

Critical Advantage service is divided into two broad categories of proactive and reactive services. The Flexible Proactive services include Performance and Capacity Analysis for Virtualized Environments that guide customers on virtualization capacity planning; a Virtualization Readiness Workshop that delivers infrastructure planning and assessment to maximize the benefits of virtualization on x86 systems while mitigating the risks; and Availability Analysis for Virtualized Environments to improve efficiency and maximize uptime. As with other HP Services, customers can build up a number of credits as they purchase other HP services and can use those credits to select from a menu of services to order, Maloy says.

The Flexible Reactive services offer immediate support from HP, including on-site support, with pricing based on varying levels of immediacy. The least expensive initial level of support is called 13x5 support, which means HP technicians are available 13 hours a day, five days a week--basically, the typical workday. Next level of support is 24x7 support. The highest and most urgent level is 6-Hour Call-to-Repair, which means that when a service call is placed, the repair is made within six hours.

Critical Advantage customers also have access to the services of HP's Global Mission Critical Solution Center, which comprises a staff of elite service technicians with the highest level of experience in IT systems. "These guys have really big brains. They are the SWAT teams," says Maloy. While the Critical Advantage system is geared toward x86 environments such as those running on HP ProLiant blade or rack servers, the new offering also realizes that x86 environments are typically multivendor, multiversion and multivirtualization, meaning they could run any combination of VMware, Citrix or Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platforms, Maloy says.