HP, Arista Challenge Cisco With Joint Converged Solution

The two vendors will offer an integrated platform that includes networking from Arista and HP's server, storage and OneView management software.

integrated solution

Hewlett-Packard and Arista Networks are offering a converged infrastructure solution that brings together products from both companies and challenges systems from competitors such as Cisco Systems and VCE.

The joint solution—the HP Converged Architecture with Arista—was unveiled at the HP Discover show June 2 as part of a larger expansion of HP's converged product line. It's a reference architecture aimed at cloud environments that features Arista's programmable networking technology and Extensible Operating System (EOS) being sold with HP's Converged Architecture offerings, including server and storage products—such as the company's 3Par StoreServ offering—and its OneView management software.

The combined HP-Arista offering will give organizations a converged cloud solution that doesn't limit them to a single vendor, according to Arista CEO Jayshree Ullal. It combines HP's server and management platforms with Arista's software-defined cloud networking capabilities, and is built using best-of-breed technology, Ullal wrote in a post on Arista blog.

"It is a solution for performance-intensive, virtualized workloads, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and big data workloads," she wrote. "Arista and HP are a fitting example of the open federation for massively scalable compute and storage networking in the new converged cloud era. … Together, and with our other mutual eco-system partners, we have built a best of breed stack as a compelling alternative to the legacy and fragile foundation of traditional IT infrastructures built to support siloed applications."

System makers are growing their portfolios of converged and integrated infrastructures to meet the increasing demand from organizations that are dealing with such trends as big data analytics, IT mobility, social software and the cloud, and are looking for greater efficiency in their data centers. Cisco provides a range of options within its Unified Computing Systems (UCS), which offer Cisco servers, networking and management software combined with storage and virtualization technology from other vendors, as well as integrated systems jointly developed with NetApp.

Lenovo—which last year bought IBM's x86 server business for $2.1 billion—and EMC in January announced they are partnering on converged infrastructures for cloud environments, and Oracle is building out its lineup of systems that combine its hardware with its business applications. Dell, VCE—owned by EMC—Hitachi and IBM also offer integrated solutions.

IDC analysts have been following the growth in the market for integrated systems and platforms, saying it is among the fastest growing segments in the infrastructure space. In 2014, worldwide revenue for integrated systems hit $9.4 billion, a 28.9 percent increase over 2013.

"An expanding number of organizations around the world are turning to integrated systems as a way to address longstanding and difficult infrastructure challenges," Eric Sheppard, research director for storage at IDC, said in a statement when the numbers were released in March. "This drove $2.1 billion of net-new spending in 2014 and makes these solutions an increasingly rare source of high growth within the broader infrastructure marketplace."

As part of the focus on converged systems, HP also unveiled OneView 2.0, the latest version of its management software. The product now includes templates for automating server change management tasks as well as automation, proactive monitoring and guidance for storage-area networks (SANs), enabling IT administrators to detect and resolve issues before they impact the business. Users also can combine physical infrastructure data from OneView with virtual machine management information from HP's Virtualization Performance Viewer to more easily plan for upcoming capacity needs and mitigate configuration issues.

HP also unveiled other reference architectures for the ConvergedSystem 700, including one for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) using XenDesktop from Citrix Systems on VMware's vSphere. Two others are designed for unified communications and collaboration workloads, with one using Microsoft's Exchange and SharePoint 2013 and the other Lync 2013.

Other reference architectures aimed at disaster recovery scenarios use HP's 3Par StoreServ with either VMware's vCenter SRM or vSphere 6.0.