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HP Blades Day 2010: HP POD Tour

March 4th, 2010 No comments

As part of the HP Blades Day, HP showed us a demo of the mobile datacenters that HP manufacturers and sells as Performance Optimized Datacenters (POD).

Though we didn’t get to see the manufacturing of this POD, they showed one of these POD’s sitting in their parking lot.

This thing was massive, a size of a tractor trailer with its weight around 100,000 pounds. Though these datacenters are not very mobile, they are used for customers that may need additional computation power or has on-demand computing. I would think these are probably available to buy by a customer and possibly lease.

Here is the video of HP POD Tour that was given to us at HP Houston, TX facilities, quite an impressive setup. Unfortunately we were not able to go inside the POD, we took pictures and movies outside the POD.

The only thing that needs to be connected to these POD’s are electric connection for power and cooling. Additional resources would include network/fiber connections etc. Not just one POD, but you can have a warehouse full of POD’s used as datacenter.

These typically cost 60 to 70% of a regular brick built datacenter and is at least 40% more efficient.

Hope you enjoy the video…

Cheers

@storagenerve

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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.

HP Blades Day 2010: Final Thoughts

March 3rd, 2010 1 comment

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.

Satellite View of HP Facilities in Houston, TX

The coverage of the event can also be found on Greg Knieriemen’s Infosmack Podcast on Storage Monkeys, here.

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Positives

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.

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Challenges

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.

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Summary

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!!

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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.

HP Blades Day 2010: Friday – Day 2

March 2nd, 2010 No comments

Again an early AM start today, with a busy schedule ahead at HPBladesday.

The day kicked off with some Q&A on the topics covered from the previous day. We all had full access to the team from yesterday to see if there were any questions.

Most of the questions were around FCoE, Convergence, Blades infrastructure and the discussion on the Tolly Report.

Tolly Report

Some discussions on this report by Stephen Foskett

Some discussions on this report by Kevin Houston

After the Q&A session, Joseph George took the stage with a presentation on Client Virtualization and HP product overview; covering the VDI solutions offered my HP. This was an insightful presentation on how the HP blades and software infrastructure can be used with VDI.

Joseph George

Kevin Houston, Rich Brambley, Simon Seagrave

Martin Macleod and the HP Team

After a demo of the Client Virtualization lab, we went for the Factory Express tour.

Chris Evans

The factory express tour was presented my Denise Herdman, Jean Brandau and Wade Vinson. We all got to see how the HP systems were assembled both the Servers and Storage in different factories. How they performed quality testing, how they were all packaged, etc. This was a great tour of the facilities giving us a full access to how supply chain works within HP from a customer entering an order to how the equipment is fulfilled. Quite an operation….

Greg - www.iknerd.com

After the factory express, we were given the HP pod (performance optimized datacenter) tour; think of this as a datacenter in a trailer. Wow…. it was impressive. Here are some pictures. These HP pod datacenters are 40% more efficient than the typical conventional datacenters.

Simon Seagrave in the POD



Systems inside a POD

The day was coming to an end. We were at the last destination of the day, at a Mexican restaurant having lunch. After the lunch headed back to the hotel. It was time for the final goodbyes to the Bloggers, HP and Ivy worldwide teams. But there were about 5 of us staying back that day.

Enjoyed the rest of the day, a bit of a relax, worked out at the gym, had a quite dinner, a drink and hitting the bed early to leave back home next morning.

Though both the blog posts from today and yesterday were just an overview of the activity we did at HP, some deepdive sessions and videos from the event are forthcoming.

Disclaimer: This event is sponsored by HP and hosted in Houston, TX. The flight, living and mostly food expenses were all paid by HP. This is a bloggers – invitation only event. No products have been given by HP.

HP Blades Day 2010 – Archives of #hpbladesday (hashtag) on Twitter

March 1st, 2010 No comments

Here is the #hpbladesday (hashtag) on Twitter broken down based on activity dates. An archive of all activity on Twitter.

Archives available to download, with Pre-Event Tweets, Day 1 Tweets, Day 2 Tweets and Post Event Tweets.

HP-Blades-Day-(Post-Event)

HP-Blades-Day-(Day-2)

HP-Blades-Day-(Day-1)

HP-Blades-Day-(Pre-Event)

Feel free to download the links (in PDF Format)

Cheers
@storagenerve