HP Unveils Converged Infrastructure Products for Branch Offices, Data Centers

Hewlett-Packard unveils networking and ProLiant systems to simplify branch office management and data center deployment, and also debuts a TippingPoint-based security service.

Hewlett-Packard rolled out new features Oct. 5 for its Converged Infrastructure portfolio to provide customers with integrated servers, storage, networking and software.

The announcement introduced a series of offerings designed to simplify branch office management, a new HP TippingPoint security service to control application access, a new ProLiant server system and enhancements to HP POD (Performance Optimized Datacenter). The new products, all available immediately, provide clients with flexible SAAS (software as a service), outsourcing and cloud computing platforms, HP said.

The HP Branch Office Networking Solution is "a turnkey, all-in-one connectivity solution" based on HP switches, the company said. Designed to improve application delivery to remote offices, it integrates and consolidates HP equipment and other third-party products into a cohesive system. By simplifying deployment and allowing remote management, HP hopes to bypass the need to maintain a local IT staff at each branch office.

The HP switch runs virtual appliance software from various HP partners in its AllianceOne network to deliver networking and security devices to the office. The applications include Citrix NetScaler VPX, Microsoft Lync, NetScout nGenius Integrated Agent, Avaya's Aura Session Border Controller and the Riverbed Steelhead RiOS (Riverbed Optimization System).

HP is trying to reduce challenges associated with deployment and managing network services in the branch office by bundling third-party services with HP Ethernet switches. Customers buy the switches and everything is set up and ready to go.

IT managers can "converge multiple network infrastructure technologies-LAN, WAN, wireless, unified communications, [VOIP] voice over IP and security-that can be managed" via a remote console, HP said.

Rival company Cisco Systems unveiled its own line of branch office application products, as well.

HP also announced the HP Application Digital Vaccine Service that provides IT managers with granular control over application access. Based on the TippingPoint IPS (intrusion prevention system) technology that HP acquired as part of the 3Com deal earlier in 2010, the service lets IT managers remotely block access to entire Websites, such as Twitter or YouTube, or specific features based on who needs to access them from the branch office.

HP also unveiled the modular HP ProLiant SL6500 Scalable System, which can "scale from one node to thousands" and provide up to 1 teraflops (floating-point operations per second) of processing power per unit of rack space. The platform can house the HP ProLiant SL390s G7 and HP ProLiant SL170s G6 servers, as well.

Service providers can use the "single, high-performance scalable platform for hosting, Web serving, cloud computing or outsourcing a variety of applications," HP said. The release later said, "By simply 'plugging in' new nodes, clients can add more applications or services as their business grows," and nodes can be removed for servicing without bringing the whole system down, according to the company.

Finally, for IT managers looking to incrementally add data center capacity, HP is launching the world's first assembly line for rapid deployment of the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter. "HP PODs are 37 percent more energy efficient and 45 percent less expensive than a traditional brick-and-mortar data center," HP said. HP also claimed service providers can expand a data center in as little as six weeks using these PODs.

Based on HP Converged Infrastructure, the new products give customers the tools to cohesively manage all of the servers, storage, and network components in a data center, the company said. Clients can "automatically tune their infrastructure to meet the specific requirements of their environments," HP said.