Bets on cloud with a new range of servers

Amidst all the gambling and high stake games that go on in the casinos of Las Vegas, technology major Hewlett Packard unveiled its own bet for the enterprise server market which it believes is transformational in nature.

Called HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, it is the result of a $300 million, two-year programme called Project Voyager.

“We are really looking to redefine what servers do. The innovations that we have come up with address our customers' pain points. Things are changing so fast in this area and we are changing the pillars fundamentally,” Mr Dave Donatelli, Executive Vice-President, Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking, HP, told Business Line on the sidelines of the launch event.

Maintenance, power costs

HP's latest bet is geared towards bringing down the overall maintenance and power costs in data centres, while maintaining high server uptimes. “The skyrocketing cost of operations in the data centre is unsustainable. We are delivering intelligence technologies that enable servers to virtually take care of themselves, allowing data centre staff to devote more time to business innovation,” said Mr Mark Potter, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Industry standard Servers and Software, HP. According to HP, enterprise customers spend an average of $24 million over three years on manual operations to support servers and the new solution brings down this cost significantly. The company claims the machines have over 160 different upgrades, compared with its previous generation of servers. This includes things like automated updating of security patches that can cut server re-provisioning times to 10 minutes from 5 hours. There are sensors in the server racks which tell where machines are located and how they are performing. Performance tweaks yield 70 per cent more computing power per watt, H.P. says.

Revenues

Numbers released by the International Data Corporation reveal that revenue in the worldwide server market increased 4.2 per cent year-over-year to $12.7 billion in the third quarter of 2011. IBM and HP jointly held the No. 1 position in the worldwide server market with each holding 29.8 per cent of factory revenue share. But while IBM experienced 3.5 per cent year-over-year growth, HP lost 2.5 points of share as revenue declined 3.8 per cent year over year largely because of weakening demand for its Itanium-based Integrity system.

But since November the company has made several announcements in a bid to make a come back. “We set out an ambitious goal to transform the infrastructure industry from top to bottom. Since November we have redefined what servers are,” said Mr Donatelli. In addition to servers, HP is charting out new initiatives for its storage and networking businesses, too. “We are very excited about where we are. We believe we have the most advanced cloud offering and we are going to get more vocal about that,” Mr Donatelli said. It is said that What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas but HP is hoping that the new announcements impact their global fortunes.

(The reporter is in Las Vegas at the invitation of Hewlett-Packard.)

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 15, 2012)
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