HP Rolls Out Products To Push Adaptive Enterprise Strategy - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

HP Rolls Out Products To Push Adaptive Enterprise Strategy

The vendor's main message is that companies need to transform their technology infrastructure so it can be allocated and reallocated as business conditions change.

Hewlett-Packard on Thursday unveiled several products and servers designed to help companies better synchronize IT resources with business needs. The rollout is part of HP's Adaptive Enterprise strategy, and the technology vendor's main message is that companies should be thinking about transforming server, storage, software, and networking resources into virtual technology components that can be allocated and reallocated as business conditions and service-level agreements dictate.

One of the most tangible forms of Adaptive Enterprise is HP's new blade-style PCs, which consist of an HP T5000 thin-client desktop device that connects via Ethernet to a rack of CPUs running Transmeta Corp.'s Efficeon processors and Windows XP Professional. Scheduled for availability during the first quarter of 2004, the blade PCs let users share CPU resources, regardless of where the desktop is located. The combination of thin client, blade PC, network storage, implementation, training, and support is expected to cost an average of $1,500 per desktop.

HP's blade PC will hit the market several years after ClearCube Technology Inc. introduced a similar technology, which includes a desktop device that connects to standard peripherals such as the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speaker. The desktop then connects to back-end Client Blades via a Category 5 cable. ClearCube's Client Blades feature a number of processor configurations, the most powerful being a 2.4-GHz Intel Pentium 4. IBM in May began reselling and supporting ClearCube's PC blades, which start at $600 for the hardware. Support prices start at about $2,000 per year, the company says.

The virtualization of IT resources such as server and PC capacity will satisfy the market's demand not only for cost savings but also for flexibility, says Tom Bittman, a Gartner VP and research director. "A year ago, it was about cost for everybody," he says. "They would say, 'I don't care what you call it, as long as it cuts costs.' Today, however, it's also about agility."

HP also says it has integrated HP Virtual Server Environment for the HP-UX operating system with BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 middleware and Oracle9i Real Application Clusters. The company has also extended the reach of its HP Serviceguard high-availability clustering software so it can connect two data centers up to 100 kilometers apart.

HP also introduced an extensive of list of services, including HP Agility Assessment Service, IT Consolidation services, Utility Datacenter services, and Adaptive Network Architecture services.

This plethora of products and services creates additional challenges for the company, however. HP faces an uphill battle in trying to explain to the market what Adaptive Enterprise is all about, Bittman says, adding that HP rival IBM has done a better job of promoting its similar On-Demand strategy. "People are even starting to refer to the [utility-computing] concept as on demand, which is IBM's term. HP doesn't want that."

HP's approach to utility computing has been fundamentally different from IBM's approach, Bittman says. Whereas IBM leads with its business-technology consultants, HP has taken more of an infrastructure and systems-management approach. It's too early to gauge the success of either approach, he says. "You have to pitch from both ends."

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