HP Blades Day 2010: Final Thoughts
This is my 5th consecutive post on HP Blades day. So far no videos have been uploaded, just the coverage of the event and pictures. This post primarily focuses on what I feel we saw at HP in terms of things that will help them, challenges in the market and where all this may go.
There has been at least 6 to 8 hours of video recording on my flip camera; starting tomorrow I will upload these videos only of the most interesting sessions on the blog.
The coverage of the event can also be found on Greg Knieriemen’s Infosmack Podcast on Storage Monkeys, here.
This event was a very smart move by HP and as far as I can see they have exceeded their expectations with this event. Though I felt the twitter activity with HP Tech Day (Storage, #hptechday) was much higher than what we saw with this event HP Blades Day (Blades, #hpbladesday). Though the after discussions have taken over the blogging, twitter and the Internet press by surprise with the number of tweets, blogs and press articles written about this event.
Clearly for me this was a good platform to learn, understand and share some visions and technologies related to HP Blade products. I have been a storage focused individual, but only with a shallow knowledge of the blades architecture and infrastructure. This was a great event for myself to understand the depth of these products and take a deep dive into the interworking of converged infrastructure. An Event like this helps understand and connect the dots together with future products and emerging technologies. As this was a non-NDA event, we didn’t have preview to the next generation of HP Blade products.
One thing that is pretty visible and positive is that HP has managed to mobilize resources in the direction of integrating internal resources relating to converged infrastructure. Though its obvious and again visible that at places, they have not been able to fulfill that dream entirely.
There were some awkward moments where the engineering teams were asked to not do a deep-dive on other vendor technologies. The marketing folks spoke about some strategy related to these technologies and painted an overall picture. The mix of people involved with the presentations and demos seem to accomplish the agenda. Marketing pitches by social media and marketing teams along with engineering details by the architecture teams seemed to accomplish their goals.
The highlight of the sessions were a 45 min talk with the CTO of StorageWorks, Paul Perez and the competitive intelligence session that was hosted my Gary Thome and his team to compare HP Blades products with Dell, IBM and Cisco UCS. Discussions around CEE and Virtual Connect were pretty interesting.
HP emphasized the 250 million dollar investment with Microsoft over and over during the HP Blades Day. This proves that they value this partnership heavily and possibly have a roadmap associated in the future with great integration with Microsoft products.
HP emphasizes a lot on converged datacenters and the products it’s gearing for the next generation. But an integration vision from a convergence management was still lacking, a direction or a strategy on how these pieces of puzzle will be joined together and managed. HP clearly owns all the stacks of the next generation products, but again the orchestration and integration is one thing that is not very clear yet. Say too big and too much to manage!!!
With Networking products and the focus on Virtual Connect, HP seems to be moving in the right direction, but again when it comes to FCoE and CEE (Converged Enhanced Ethernet) the direction is pretty unknown. It’s sort of wait and watch as to where the market goes and drives demands, a lack of vision in real terms. HP clearly has a big competition from Cisco when it comes to the Networking stack.
With Storage products, HP clearly has a very big competition with already proven Vendors and their technologies like EMC, NetApp and IBM. Also technologies that are strong and emerging would largely cause market nuisance or focus disruption for HP.
With the Blade products, HP is a market leader, but truly considers Dell, IBM and Cisco as the biggest threats and sort of prepared to fight against it. Seems the next generation Rack and Blade products might seem to have a lot of integration with storage and networking.
The services story, with the acquisition of EDS, HP made a move in the right direction being the first in the market to do so. With the latest acquisitions from Dell of Perot Systems, from Oracle of SUN Microsystems and by Xerox of ACS, large vendors are all trying to fulfill the services gap. HP clearly has a big competition with IBM and Oracle in the space.
The VCE (VMware, Cisco, EMC) coalition: What are your thoughts. It’s pretty amazing to see HP not mention the word ‘cloud’ these two days. Focus has been virtualization and the partnership with VMware, but really no focus on moving toward utility market and integration of all next gen products for converged datacenters with the underlying virtualization layer. May be the Microsoft partnership may fulfill this.
VMware or Microsoft: They didn’t say this, but seems something is cooking. The partnership with Microsoft and the investment of 250 million dollars will create some friction with VMware, at least my guess. Next gen products may utilize Hyper-V as an underlying virtualization layer rather than using the default VMware Hypervisor.
HP still needs a very strong storage technology in the Enterprise space that is their own and not OEM’d. The truth is, eventually the HP – Hitachi relationship has to come to an end with HP’s new product that may compete in the same market space. This strategy will enable HP to be very unique in terms of the markets they serve, which may include their own in-house storage products for SMB, Midsize and Enterprise customers.
So other lacking things from HP were the Cloud Strategy (if they ever plan to enter that space), FCoE discussions, Procurve and Storage Management as it relates to Insight Software.
It may have been very hard to cover all these platforms in a day and a half with giving all the technology details behind it. Also remember this was a non-NDA session, so we were not preview to all the future products and technologies.
Overall HP did hammer us for 2 consecutive days with HP Blades Technology. Coming out of it, I can truly say, HP had so much focus on datacenter convergence. Their move to hire Dave Donatelli was a smart one many of his strategic moves and direction in the ESSN (Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking) are pretty visible now.
Apart from GestaltIT Techfield Day, HP is still the only OEM to arrange Bloggers Invite Only Event. The ratio of Bloggers to HP Personnel was 1:2, giving everyone a lot of attention.
Now the question is who will be next OEM to do a similar event and what will they do to prove themselves different. Already hearing some buzz in the industry about some the effects of HP Blades Day and some possible events from other OEMs.
But I clearly see an advantage of an event like this and the after effects of it, good move HP Marketing Team! Along with Ivy Worldwide!!
Disclaimer: This event is sponsored by HP and hosted in Houston, TX. HP paid all the flight, living and mostly food expenses. This is a bloggers – invitation only event. No products have been given by HP.