Picking Five Favorite Innovations at HP Discover

NEWS ANALYSIS: Here are my five favorite technology picks that were center stage at the HP Discover conference and are proof it’s no longer old-style business as usual at HP headquarters.

LAS VEGAS—The HP Discover conference here this week included a wide range of new products and services. As Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman contended in her keynote, the industry is ready for a "new style of IT."

If you are going to adopt a new style, you need to provide some stylish new products. Here is a list of five products, services and partnerships that I think defines the new HP Whitman championed.

HP becomes a Google Apps reseller. If you need further evidence that the once formidable (even monopolistic) WinTel alliance is crumbling, you need look no further than the "IT in a Box" program teaming Google and HP.

HP will still make most of its client software revenues from Microsoft Windows and is intent on leading the upgrade from Windows XP—which faces end of life support in 2014—to Windows 7 and 8. However, now that Microsoft is selling tablets and smartphones in competition with its erstwhile hardware stalwarts, there seems to be more than a little payback going on with HP partnering with Google.

The Google deal is aimed at the small and medium-sized business market and means HP will bundle up PCs, printers and Google Apps for its resellers. Not the biggest deal in the technology universe but one that shows just how much partnerships are being realigned in the mobile and cloud age.

HAVEn big data platform: CIOs face a dilemma. They are under pressure to get on the big data bandwagon. But building a system to mash up structured, unstructured and machine data is a formidable undertaking. Wouldn't you think that was a project the vendors should handle? HP's HAVEn platform assembles Hadoop, Autonomy, Vertica and Enterprise security to deliver a number of big data apps.

The acronym is a bit strained, but at least it provides a partial answer to what HP got for spending all that money on Autonomy and provides a nice packaged big data system for CIOs who want a faster entrance to the big data game.

Enterprise OpenStack: The OpenStack cloud platform is a compelling alternative to proprietary systems from the likes of Amazon Web Services, but it still remains mostly a development playground. HP has been a strong OpenStack supporter and has added services around the stack including a simpler installation and life cycle management around hybrid cloud implementations. Adding services around the core stack is where vendors will differentiate themselves in the cloud market.

Moonshot server platform: Moonshot is HP's cartridge server technology born in HP Labs and offering low power, low price and the ability to select central or graphic processors depending on your application. The renewed interest and investment in HP Labs was evident at the Discover conference, and Moonshot represents the big technology investments and game changers that HP was known for when Labs was fully engaged. The cartridge technology is worth a look from any company thinking about the next stage of server evolution.

Simple storage: Storage has moved from one of those necessary but not too interesting topics to a top item for CIOs. The advent of solid-state flash-based storage has given rise to traditional vendors playing catch-up and startup companies that contend the old guard will never catch up.

You'd think the goal should be one storage architecture that scales from remote office needs to the big data storage monsters. HP has built a storage line around its 3PAR products that largely fulfills the one architecture mission. They are also talking about what is next after flash in discussing non-volatile RAM storage. It all falls under the already overused term of "software-defined storage," but the products are finally catching up with the promise.

Those are my favorite five. The five cover the spectrum from small business through big data and reflects the big mission HP has set for itself in the enterprise.

Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008, authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.