HP Unveils Converged Systems for Virtualization, Big Data

One new solution is based on HP's Moonshot microserver technology that is powered by AMD and aimed at hosted desktops.

Hewlett-Packard continues to expand its converged infrastructure portfolio, introducing several new solutions that include a hosted desktop offering based on its Moonshot microserver technology.

The new systems, introduced Dec. 9 during the company's HP Discover 2013 event in Barcelona, Spain, are part of HP's larger push to offer a range of workload-optimized converged solutions that enable enterprises to better manage the deluge of data being generated, the new applications like big data and analytics that are coming onto the scene, and new delivery models, such as cloud computing.

"These [systems] are easy to buy, manage and support," Frances Guida, manager of HP's Converged Systems business, told eWEEK.

The systems reduce the complexity in data centers by offering unified solutions that include compute, networking, storage and management and can be quickly deployed in the data center, Guida said. Where it once took three to six months to get a system ordered and up and running in a data center, with the company's converged systems, it takes about 20 days.

In addition to the systems, HP also is introducing a range of new converged storage offerings.

HP has been aggressively pursuing the converged infrastructure space. Company officials have been using the term for several years and in April announced a new ConvergedSystems business unit. Most recently, HP CEO Meg Whitman and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in November announced SuperPod, a joint product for Salesforce.com customers that want to create their own dedicated infrastructure within Salesforce.com's cloud. Salesforce SuperPods will be based on HP's converged infrastructure technology.

The new ConvergedSystem solutions are optimized for hosted desktop, big data and virtualization environments. The ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops is based on HP's Moonshot m700 microserver systems powered by Advanced Micro Devices' quad-core Opteron-X chips. The ConvergedSystem 100, which was built in conjunction with AMD and Citrix Systems, is designed to give users a full PC experience from a hosted environment, offering six times faster graphics than other virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, according to John Gromala, senior director of hyperscale product management for HP servers.

In addition, each remote user gets dedicated compute and graphics processing, and the solution lowers the total cost of ownership by 44 percent and power costs by as much as 63 percent—Moonshot servers are smaller and use less power than traditional systems—while speeding deployment times by 90 percent, Gromala told eWEEK. The ConvergedSystem 100 also does this without the need of a storage-area network or hypervisor technologies, he said.

A single ConvergedSystem 100, which is available now, supports up to 180 machines that run Microsoft Windows 7 or 8. HP first showed off the new AMD-based Moonshot system last month at AMD's developer summit.

HP's ConvergedSystem 300 for Vertica is aimed at big data environments, with the system aimed at businesses running HP's Vertica analytics platform. The system is designed to enable businesses to quickly load, analyze and monetize data from a single system, and is 50 to 1,000 times faster than competing data warehouse solutions, HP's Guida said. The system will launch in April 2014.

HP also is offering two systems for virtualized environments. The ConvergedSystem 300 is aimed at companies looking to support 50 to 300 virtual machines (VMs), while the ConvergedSystem 700 targets enterprises with 100 to more than 1,000 VMs. According to Guida, the systems offer twice the performance of similar products and three times the IT efficiency at a price 25 percent lower and total cost of ownership 28 percent less.

The ConvergedSystems for Virtualization are available now.

Guida said the idea of such converged infrastructure solutions is increasingly attractive to a wide range of industries. It's also a driver for other major tech players, including IBM, Dell and Cisco Systems—all of which offer integrated solutions—and vendors like VCE, which focus on converged systems, such as VCE's Vblocks.

In a recent survey, TheInfoPro—a service of 451 Research—found that while spending on IT infrastructure will slow over 2013 and 2014, there is growing interest in integrated offerings. Forty-nine percent of respondents to TheInfoPro's survey said they are currently using such systems, while another 26 percent said they expect to be considering these technologies in the next two years.

"They're gaining more and more traction in the marketplace," Peter ffoulkes, research director for servers and virtualization at the TheInfoPro, told eWEEK.