Hewlett-Packard has just unveiled new, low-cost servers -- the Cloudline family of servers -- to meet the needs of service providers that want to differentiate themselves in the market. HP said its new open standards-based solutions, partnerships and flexible business models will help service providers drive growth, accelerate service delivery and reduce costs.
HP may be right on time with its solutions, given IDC research that shows most organizations will stop managing their own infrastructures over the next five years. The IDC data suggests enterprises will more often turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centers in the years ahead.
If IDC’s research pans out, service providers -- including software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, managed hosters, consumer service providers, telco/communication service providers -- will need highly scalable infrastructures that support business growth and flexible business models that match costs to revenue so they can meet customer expectations.
Cloudline Servers Debut
“Service providers must adjust to meet ever-increasing customer demands for simplicity, security and availability -- they can no longer compete on cost alone,” said Antonio Neri, Senior Vice President and General Manager at HP’s Enterprise Group. “HP is delivering systems, built on open-design principles, combined with services and solutions that allow service providers to move fast, launch new services and grow their business in a sustainable way.”
The HP Cloudline server family, birthed from the HP-Foxconn joint venture and built on open-design principles, offers cost-focused and customizable compute platforms that HP said provides capacity on demand, flexible operations and low costs.
Cloudline servers support open management tools and tap into common industry hardware and firmware interfaces, according to HP. The servers are also optimized for HP Helion OpenStack, which offers an open, extensible enterprise-grade cloud platform based on OpenStack technology.
Could Cloudline Fail?
We turned to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his thoughts on the new Cloudline servers. He told us HP is attempting to strongly compete in a hyperscale segment increasingly led by original device manufacturers (ODMs), like its Cloudline partner, Foxconn.
“The fact that the company is highlighting Foxconn's role in this endeavor is telling since it underscores HP's recognition of the important role of ODMs,” King said. “How well HP's Cloudline will do is difficult to say.”
King is quick to point out that Dell, with its Data Center Solutions, has long been the dominant Tier 1 vendor in this space, and success requires tight supply chain and margin controls and moving massive volumes of product. But value-added technologies like HP's Helion OpenStack platform could make the company's solutions attractive to service providers and other cloud-focused customers, he said.
“That said, ODMs have been taking increasing volumes of server sales away from traditional vendors like HP,” King noted. “If Cloudline fails, the company could find itself unable to participate in one of the most dynamic segments in the server market.”
Adding New Switches
HP’s new Cloudline servers work to supplement the recently announced HP Altoline, an open network of switches produced by a joint venture between HP and Accton Technology. Simply stated, the HP Altoline switches are loaded with Open Network Install Environment boot loader. That gives enterprises the option of leveraging Cumulus Networks' Linux network OS. The promise of HP Altoline switches is clear: offering service providers and Web-scale organizations more flexibility and control in tuning networking infrastructure to meet specific applications and business needs.
“The industries we serve -- including regulated industries like financial services and life sciences -- require secure collaboration solutions that make it safe and easy to share valuable information anywhere, on any device,” said Ron Hovsepian, Intralinks CEO. “HP’s leadership in cloud with HP Helion and service provider-ready solutions gives us yet another strategic advantage in delivering world-class, secure content collaboration solutions to enterprises worldwide.”
Also in the portfolio is the HP Service Provider Growth Suite from HP Financial Services. This technology promises the business flexibility required for creating and delivering new services that meet the evolving customer needs. Finally, there’s the HP Datacenter Care for Service Providers, which the company bills as a flexible, comprehensive, relationship-based approach to personalized support and management of heterogeneous data centers.