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HP's Converged Infrastructure Branches Out

Just days after making storage, server and competitive mid-market announcements as part of its Converged Infrastructure strategy, HP is at it again with a number of new product launches, including a major thrust into the branch-office market. The world's largest IT vendor is rolling out a multi-vendor solution that reportedly eliminates the need for local IT resources.

The HP Branch Office Networking Solution, a turnkey hardware, software, application and connectivity offering, features Avaya Aura Session Border Controller powered by Acme Packet, Citrix Netscaler VPX, Microsoft Lync, NetScout nGenius Integrated Agent and Riverbed Steelhead RiOS. HP says that it allows customers to converge multiple network infrastructure technologies--LAN, WAN, wireless, unified communications, voice over IP and security--that can be managed remotely from a single point. The result is streamlined application delivery, improved employee productivity and 66 percent lower total cost of ownership.

One of the objectives of the announcement is to convey that Converged Infrastructure is not just about the data center, says HP. The modular design of the branch office solution means that other best-in-class offerings can be incorporated as required. The company says they not only test these products for compatibility and interoperability, but certify them, too. Currently there are 14 partner applications available, including WAN acceleration, security, unified communications and collaboration.

According to Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, this announcement begins to address the longstanding advantage IBM has often had with IBM Global Services and the ability to effectively blend products that aren't from IBM into a packaged solution. "This has, until now, been relatively unique to the OEMs because IBM Global Services was so much more capable. HP, with EDS, now has that same capability and is flexing it with this offering. Corporations want a general contractor for projects like this because they aren't equipped to do all of the hand-holding necessary."

While this begins to level the playing field with Big Blue, Enderle says it should really help HP with the other major competitors "Dell should eventually be able to do similar things since their own acquisition of Perot. Oracle services isn't yet at this level and is still likely coming up to speed on Sun's products. [Ellison] has never been a huge fan of selling third party offerings, and this could leave Oracle as odd man out during the market recovery when services like this should be increasingly popular."

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