HP Unveils Facility-as-a-Service Data Center Offering

The goal is to enable businesses to build data centers on site without having to pay millions in upfront costs.

Hewlett-Packard officials want to make it easier and more cost-effective for enterprises to build data centers.

The giant tech vendor is unveiling its HP Facility-as-a-Service (FaaS) offering that essentially lets organizations avoid the millions of dollars in upfront capital costs associated with building new data centers and instead spread those costs out over a number of years. The service gives businesses another option when deciding on a data center strategy, and enables them to keep control of their infrastructure rather than opt for a cloud or co-location solution, according to Rick Einhorn, vice president of technology services data center consulting at HP.

"It takes out most of the initial capital expenditure and drives it into an operational expenditure," Einhorn told eWEEK.

IT trends likes cloud computing, big data and mobility are putting pressure on enterprises to transform their data centers into more modern environments that can meet the new demands for speed, flexibility and automation. Organizations have several options to choose from, including modernizing their current facilities and building new data centers or leveraging cloud environments or co-location services.

Using outside services like cloud and co-location facilities can help businesses avoid the hefty upfront costs of building new data centers, but in the process, they lose flexibility and control they're used to when their infrastructures are on premises, Einhorn said. For some businesses, that might be OK, he said. However, there are other enterprises, in such areas as financial services, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, that will want to keep their applications in-house and on premises.

With their FaaS offering, HP officials are looking to give businesses the financial flexibility that comes with the co-location option, but enable them to keep control of everything on their property, he said.

Citing numbers from analyst firm Forrester Research, HP officials note that the cost of building and managing a traditional data center can hit more than $59 million, and that operation costs—such as power, staffing and maintenance—will add to that.

Through the FaaS program, HP will bring in its modular data center resources—from servers and networking to storage and software—and build out the facility to the customer's specific needs. The initial upfront costs for the technology and services are rolled into a monthly fee as part of a maintenance service agreement that lasts for five years, and can be renewed if desired.

The data center remains on premises, and the enterprise operates the facility, giving the business the ability to control and secure the resources and data running on them, Einhorn said. They also can take the money that would have gone toward the initial capital costs to build and provision the data center and use it for their business needs instead, he said.

HP will maintain the facility, and because it's designed in a modular fashion, the vendor will only bring in the amount of technology the business needs. If more technology is needed in the future, HP can supply that and the monthly fee is adjusted, Einhorn said. This saves the business from over-provisioning the data center and paying for performance and capacity they don't need.

The customer will still need to pay some upfront costs—such as for the construction of the building—but once that's up, HP can do the rest, he said. The value is that the customer gets to keep the technology and its data on premises and run it themselves, but pay for it via the monthly fee as they would with a co-location setup.

How much the business pays each month will depend on the size of their data center and the amount of HP equipment they use, Einhorn said. After five years, the customer has a number of options, including extending the agreement, buying the equipment or giving it back to HP. The service is available now.