‘Gen 8 servers provide a single architecture for cloud in a converged infrastructure’

HP has tried to battle out the flat growth phase in the Indian server market in 2012 with some innovations. The company has recently launched its new Gen 8 series servers. Dataquest caught up with Vikram K, director, industry standard servers, HP India to get an insight into how its new generation servers deliver value to the CIO. Excerpts

Server and data center economics has been changing. What’s your view on what CIOs look for when they buy additional capacity?

We analyzed a lot of data centers with an average of 10,000 sq ft, the hidden costs, where it was being spent etc. We were surprised that about $25-30 mn were being spent on some of these regular upgrades and updates, and regular administrative tasks. In addition, people are making provisions for expanding capacities for digital content, big data, and cloud.

What’s your response to these findings?

We combined all that insight into a family of 4 large virtues or features –
one which automated the lifecycle automation element, that automated all tasks of a performance server such as software upgrades and updates, that gives a huge performance boost from utilization of manpower and reduces the amount of time spent on administrative tasks that comes down by a huge 30-40%.

And then, the big thing is around workload acceleration and big data, digital content etc, we spent a lot of time and effort on algorithms and solicited engineering work.

Server numbers last year were pretty flat. What is HP doing to boost the market?

The first big thing that we did was the launch of Generation 8 and what we set out to address and what we announced are we are making the extensions to the product family.

We are introducing the 4-Socket HP ProLiant BL660c and DL560 Gen8 servers, which are a family of 4-socket servers which are based on the Xeon E5. What we set out to do with this is that it primarily addresses the following workloads: Digital support, data warehousing, data analysis,
business processing, high-performance computing and anything which
is medium to large virtualization, back-end database application
development, etc.

If you were to combine all of this and the fact that the way the customers are moving, it gives us a short entry platform both at the blade end and the vendor rack end and high entry into the cloud and eventually also the converged infrastructure piece. A lot of customers already have wind of this.

How would you trace the roadmap of HP’s server strategy
hitherto and onward?
Three years back, we were the first ones to actually ‘invent’ the converged
infrastructure. And from then on, if you look at after 2 years, it has
become a sort of industry standard.

So, on a continuous basis, even within that there have been multiple improvements, updates, upgrades, and at the far end, the first announcement that apart from Project Voyager which led to Generation 8, was the Project Moonshot.

It did a bunch of things, like making a family of dense, ultra-dense servers, and with the capability of running at about 10-15% of the power that today’s servers consume.

These servers can handle workload acceleration, lifecycle automation,
storage, networking, and have other Gen 8 features and these converge
well at the fabric level.

Which clients are wanting to upgrade?
Most of them are expanding capacity for digital content. Improving operating efficiencies, server upgrades, virtualization – these are the other
factors. From segment perspective, largely from the banking and financial
services, the telecom industry, I am sure it will happen shortly, manufacturing, education, etc.

Some existing clients are stuck with the Itanium combination,
how can they move out or upgrade to a Gen 8 scenario?
One of the most important points that customers carry when they
move into cloud, is that they want a single architecture. That is precisely
what the Gen 8 provides. The Gen 8 provides for you if you have
your basic premises, IT, you have a public cloud or a private cloud, or
all of that.

What do you predict for HP servers for FY13, particularly
in the wake of global developments happening in the company?
With the trend of the last 3 quarters and from an index perspective, we
have 45% of the market; for the full year it is difficult to comment.
The technologies we bring to the table are the ones that bridge the
gap between what clients currently have and what clients would want to
have.

So the single architecture that I spoke of, that brings the cloud in a
converged infrastructure, actually is what the customers want.
 

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