You could think of it as a kitchen counter approach to appliances, which work well alone but don't exactly bake the whole cake. Organizing, attaching and managing the appliances -- with an emphasis on security and centralized control for the whole set-up -- has clearly been missing in branch offices. The E5400 series switch accomplishes the convergence of the discrete network appliances. The HP E5400 switch with new HP Advanced Services ZL module is available worldwide today with pricing starting at $8,294.
Today's HP news also follows a slew of product announcements last month that targeted the SMB market, and the "parts is parts" side of building out IT solutions.
To automate the branch office IT needs, HP is bringing together elements of the branch IT equation from the likes of Citrix, Avaya, Microsoft, and Riverbed. They match these up with routers, switches and management of the appliances into a solution. Security and access control across the branches and the integrated systems are being addressed via HP TippingPoint security services. These provide granular control of application access, with the ability to block access to entire websites - or features - across the enterprise and its branches.
Worried about too much Twitter usage at those branches? The new HP Application Digital Vaccine (AppDV) service delivers specifically designed filters to the HP TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), which easily control access to, or dictate usage of, non-business applications.
The branch automation approach also support a variety of network types, which opens the branch offices to a be able to exploit more types of applications delivery: from terminal serving apps, to desktop virtualization, to wireless and mobile. The all-WiFi office might soon only need a single, remotely and centrally managed locked-down rack in a lights-out closet, with untethered smartphones, tablets and notebooks as the worker nodes. Neat.
When you think of it, the new optimized branch office (say 25 seats and up) should be the leader in cloud adoption, not a laggard. The HP Branch Office Networking Solution -- with these market-leading technology partners -- might just allow the branches to demonstrate a few productivity tricks to the rest of the enterprise.
Indeed, we might just think of many more "branch offices" as myriad nodes within and across the global enterprises, where geography becomes essential irrelevant. Moreover, the branch office is the SMB, supported by any number and types of service providers, internal and external, public and private, SaaS and cloud.
Data centers get legs
Which brings us to the other end of the HP spectrum for today's news. The same "service providers" that must support these automated branch offices -- in all their flavors and across the org chart vagaries and far-flung global locations -- must also re-engineer their data centers for the new kinds of workloads, wavy demand curves, and energy- and cost-stingy operational requirements.
So HP has built a sprawling complex in Houston -- the POD Works -- to build an adaptable family of modular data centers -- the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD) -- in the shape of 20- and 40-foot tractor-trailer-like containers. As we've seen from some other vendors, these mobile data centers in a box demand only that you drive the things up, lock the brake and hook up electricity, water and a high-speed network. I suppose you also drop them on the roof with a helicopter, but you get the point.
But in today's economy, the efficiency data rules the roost. The HP PODs deliver 37 percent more efficiency and cost 45 percent less than a traditional brick-and-mortar data centers, says HP.
Inside the custom-designed container is stuffed with highly engineered racks and the cooling, optimized networks and storage, as well as the server horsepower -- in this case HP ProLiant SL6500 Scalable Systems, from 1 to 1,000 nodes. While HP is targeting these at the high performance computing and service provider needs -- those that are delivering high-scale and/or high transactional power -- the adaptability and data center-level design may well become more the norm than the exception.
The PODs are flexible at supporting the converged infrastructure engines for energy efficiency, flexibility and serviceability, said HP. And the management is converged too, via Integrated Lights-Out Advanced (ILO 3), part of HP Insight Control.
The POD parts to be managed are essentially as many as eight servers, or up to four servers with 12 graphic processing units (GPU), in single four-rack unit enclosures. The solution further includes the HP ProLiant s6500 chassis, the HP ProLiant SL390s G7 server and the HP ProLiant SL170s G6 servers. These guts can be flexible upped to accommodate flexible POD designs, for a wide variety and scale of data-center-level performance and applications support requirements.
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