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3/17/2008
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Data Centers To Fall Short In 2-5 Years, HP Predicts

One third of CIOs surveyed believed they would not be able to find the electricity, cooling capacity, space or budgets they need to continue to expand their data centers.

Hewlett-Packard is predicting that one-third of enterprise data centers will be unequal to the demands placed on them within two to five years, due to new constraints acting on them.

It bases the prediction on a privately commissioned survey of CIOs, in which a third of the respondents indicated they believed they would not be able to find the electricity, cooling capacity, space or budgets they need to continue to expand their data centers.

As technology giants, such as Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft, build new data center capacity, they select locations where power is readily available at the lowest commercial rates, noted HP's Deb Nelson, senior VP of alliances, Technology Solutions Group. "The average data center can't do that," she noted.

"Today's customers are facing multiple challenges -- the explosion of data, a growing mobile workforce and the need for access to real-time information," said Ann Livermore, executive VP of the Technology Solutions Group, in a statement announcing the new services. HP is going to move some of its focus from data center products to data center design consulting, data center management and even data center facilities offered as an HP online service, said Livermore.

In February, HP acquired EYP Mission Critical Facilities, a company that specializes in building data centers adapted to future conditions and turning them over to enterprise buyers, ready to be switched on. HP is capitalizing on EYP know-how to offer HP Data Center Transformation, a set of services and software products aimed at helping data centers cope with the need to modernize or completely redesign themselves.

For good measure, HP is throwing in an announcement of a new, eight-socket, quad-core AMD Opteron server, the ProLiant DL785 G5, as a recommended new platform for hosting virtual machines in the modernized data center. Pricing starts at $17,000.

The elements of Data Center Transformation include:

  • HP Critical Facilities services, based directly on the expertise gained from EYP. HP consulting services will assess a current data center and its future needs, then offer a way to meet demand. "You need to do a comprehensive audit of what's in our data center and what the dependencies are," said Nelson in an interview. With such an audit in hand, HP can advise a client how to reduce power consumption, consolidate resources and virtualize servers in a data center, she said.

  • HP Data Consolidation services include the design, transition and support for achieving a reduced number of data centers in order to reduce energy consumption and management costs.

  • HP Data Center Virtualization services are aimed at helping design and support a virtualized infrastructure out of existing physical assets. In addition to virtualizing servers, HP expertise will be applied to virtualizing storage, networks and applications, said Nelson.

  • HP Insight Dynamics-VSE is a new software product that analyzes physical and virtual resources at the same time. It helps customers extend the life of a data center with capacity planning that can gauge future energy consumption, based on the number of physical and virtual resources. It works with hypervisors from the major vendors, including VMware's ESX Server and Citrix Systems XenServer. It becomes available in the second quarter. It will become available in the second quarter, when pricing will be announced.

  • HP Operations Orchestration is an existing HP Software (formerly OpenView) product, derived from its acquisition of Opsware. It is being upgraded to allow changes in the software infrastructure to be rolled out across the board. A patch to an operating system can be sent to all instances of the operating system instead of occurring on a system by system basis. "It tells you ahead of time what a system's interdependencies are," because Orchestration has been integrated with the change management database. HP's Universal Change Management Database records system essentials as they're built, capturing dependencies between application and operating system and reducing human error. It becomes available in April, with pricing still to be announced.

  • HP Adaptive Infrastructure As A Service (AIaaS) will be a new service based on HP data centers that deliver such common applications as Microsoft Exchange, SAP applications or other enterprise applications. Customers needing more processing power will be able to get it within hours by contacting HP for AIaaS, said Nelson.

Asked for representative pricing, Nelson said "it's nearly impossible to put a dollar figure" on it, due to different customer needs.

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