At its European customer showcase, Hewlett-Packard will detail a laundry list of new services and other offerings that look to better manage and control the data center form the physical hardware to virtual environments.
The HP Technology at Work Conference starts March 17 in Barcelona, and company executives will focus on the slate of new services that it will begin offering later this year under the name of HP Data Center Transformation.
This portfolio includes consulting services for building, retrofitting and updating facilities, and new methods for consolidating data center hardware infrastructure, and software that looks to better manage the increasing presence of virtual environments within enterprise data centers.
The catalyst for all these services stems from HP's own Adaptive Infrastructure program, which looks to help businesses meet their IT needs by building flexibility data centers through a combination of technology and services. HP is undergoing a massive restructuring and consolidation project that looks to save the company about $1 billion through consolidating its data centers worldwide. The company is looking to use that project to illustrate it capabilities in creating flexible data centers.
In the coming years, HP believes enterprises will be faced with a number of the same issues-power and cooling, server and application sprawl, and lack of floor space-that will make them rethink current data center models.
Jonathan Eunice, an analyst with Illuminata, said HP is looking to address customer concerns that come with the difficulty of changing the IT infrastructure to meet new and unexpected needs.
At the same time, virtualization has become such a key technology to help with consolidation that companies such as HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems and VMware are each looking better ways to manage these environments through technology and services.
"The general thrust of all this is to make virtualization or the concept of dynamic infrastructure easier to deploy in the data center," Eunice said. "What HP is trying to do in terms of manageability is to attack all the different fronts at once."
In addition to new services that HP will offer for virtualization, the company is adding a new piece to its Insight Manager software called Virtual Server Environment. This tool sits on top of any hypervisor and gives the IT staff a way to allocate resources across one or the entire data center, said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers division.
The Virtual Server Environment, or VSE, software has been used with HP's own high-end Superdome servers and is now being optimized for commodity x86 systems, Miller said.
"What it does is give people the tools to do real time capacity planning on their servers, and it also looks across the entire field of server utilization and power utilization," he said. "As you are looking at all the logical resources [in the data center], the VSE allows you to manage those resources across the physical and virtual [environments] and allows you to view them all as a pool of resources."
Since the number of enterprises adopting virtualization as a critical technology for consolidation continues to grow, Eunice said these businesses are looking for better ways to control the new range of resources they have available to them.
"These customers want a data center that runs smooth and is less expensive to manage and this is a hot topic of discussion now," he said. "They have got to get their data center performing better and virtualization gives them the leverage to get there."
In addition to the virtualization management software, HP will enhance an automation tool called Operations Orchestration, which will work with both physical and virtual environments.
For services, HP is now offering plans for virtualization as well as Critical Facilities services for addressing issues of operation costs and power and cooling when planning a data center. There is also a new service called Data Center Consolidation.
Finally, HP will offer its own Adaptive Infrastructure resources as a service to its customers. This SAAS (software as a service) offering allows customers to call on HP's own resources when their businesses need additional compute power on short notice.