LAS VEGAS -- Hoping to attract more corporate IT shops to its cloud computing camp, HP rolled out a series of high-end server hardware, security and compliance-oriented cloud services and tools that tightly tie together on-premises and public cloud resources.
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Whether this bolsters HP's position against powerhouse cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft remains to be seen. But some analysts believe HP is at least taking a step in the right direction, given those competitors are quite willing to deliver their own complete hardware-software platforms.
"The top cloud providers are building their own hardware for high performance data centers to improve IT productivity," said Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions in Gilford, New Hampshire. "It is incumbent on commercial providers like HP to step up and say to users: We can also build ultra- high performance systems with services that are just as competitive. That's their message this week."
Gardner believes competition in the IT services industry reached a new level recently, where companies like HP and IBM must deliver more compelling cloud and on-premises offerings against cloud-only providers such as AWS. This is especially true for automation tools that allow users to shuttle workloads between clouds and back and forth from clouds and on-premises environments.
"This higher level of competition is not deciding between public or private but private and public," Gardner said. "But where do users draw the line? What does the hybrid ratio there look like? Is it 80% public and 20% private, or the other way around?"
Gardner and others think HP has been well positioned to deliver competitive cloud offerings for some time but has had difficulty articulating a comprehensive strategy and delivering the goods.
"HP should get more aggressive, if only because so many [users] haven't moved to modern data centers yet, including us," said an IT administrator with a mid-size healthcare organization based in Boston. "We will need more processing power and things like management software to handle the influx of people moving to programs like Obamacare and Medicare the next few years."
New HP servers, management tools for HPC, cloud
At its annual HP Discover conference here this week, the company rolled out the HP Apollo 6000 and 8000 servers, with a more modular design to take up less space than its previous rack-based servers and with improved power distribution and cooling technologies.
Normally aimed at scientific and research markets, the new HP servers can run applications that traditional enterprise-class shops use, such as data analytics and compute intensive database applications.
"We see demand for [high performance computing] applications across a lot of different industries growing rapidly, and many data centers are ill-equipped to handle the space, power and infrastructure necessary to run the processing power they need," said Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, HP Servers and Networking.
HP also beefed up its Datacenter Care Flexible Capacity (DCFC) series of on-premises IT infrastructure with flexible pricing models and scalability for a cloud-like experience. DCFC makes it easier for users who want to employ resources for compliance, security and data sovereignty for on-premises applications, and to provision other applications and workloads for the cloud, a company spokesman said.
HP also enhanced its converged infrastructure management tool, One View, to allow larger corporate shops to manage across HP 3PAR storage pools with improved automation of servers and storage. The company also enhanced the performance of its HP Converged System platform for IT as-a-service with twice the speed previously available.
HP debuted its HP Helion Self-Service HPC, a private-cloud offering that uses HP Helion OpenStack cloud platform as its foundation. The product, which functions as a self-service portal with built in compute resources, gives IT users the option of self-managing services or choosing HP to manage them on a pay-for-use basis.