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HP Displaces Cisco, EMC In Sabre Data Centers

$800 million deal with travel industry leader replaces rivals' aging equipment with HP's latest virtualized, converged systems.

HP announced Thursday it has signed an $800 million deal with Sabre Holdings to migrate its data center applications, storage, and network devices onto HP Converged Infrastructure, a combined networking, computing, and storage package that's managed as pools of virtualized assets.

The deal covers six years and is one of the largest that HP Enterprise Services has signed, according to Russell Krauss, VP for the unit. HP 3Par storage and HP Networking will replace EMC and Cisco Systems products--two key HP rivals.

The deal also covers an upgrade to the IBM mainframe that will remain at the core of the Sabre Holdings data center. HP had been in an 11-year relationship with Sabre in which it provided data center management services. The deal announced Thursday extends that deal by six years and initiates a migration from competitors' aging equipment to HP's latest integrated sets of rack-mount servers, storage, and networking.

It's also a major win for HP Enterprise Services, the combination of HP's legacy consulting services business and its 2008 acquisition of Electronic Data Systems, the consulting organization founded by H. Ross Perot, for $13.9 billion.

[ Learn more about HP's Converged Infrastructure offering. See HP Upgrades ProLiant Servers For Converged Data Centers. ]

"Sabre Holdings [runs] a very large, very high reliability, very mixed technology environment," said Krauss in an interview. By moving it to converged systems, Sabre's complex cabling to attach many compute, storage, and networking devices will be simplified through HP's integrated management interface. Data center administrators will be able to configure networks and make logical connections between virtualized resources in the converged infrastructure instead of hard-wiring them, he said.

Sabre is the Sabre airline reservation system's technology provider, which is used by Travelocity and other online travel services. Sabre CIO Barry Vandevier said in a statement that the HP contract will allow Sabre to "develop and deliver innovative products, while keeping costs down."

Part of HP's expanded role will be to provide application management services for the Sabre data center network, Vandevier added. Application management includes realigning virtualized resources so that the most business-critical application gets what it needs to meet its traffic.

HP said it has landed another major Enterprise Services account, but did not disclose the amount. TurkCell, the largest telecom supplier in Turkey, with 34.5 million subscribers, will use HP CloudSystem Service Provider, or a service platform operated for TurkCell in an HP data center, from which to launch new cellphone services.

A previously announced HP Enterprise Services contract was a five-year deal with Blue Shield of California, an organization with 400 data center applications and three million subscribers. That amount, also, was not not disclosed.

The pay-as-you go nature of the cloud makes ROI calcula¬tion seem easy. It’s not. Also in the new, all-digital Cloud Calculations InformationWeek supplement: Why infrastructure-as-a-service is a bad deal. (Free registration required.)

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