Can Microsoft Maintain Enterprise Interest Through Cloud and Mobile?

The past 60 days or so have shown a wave of changes at Microsoft. But are they enough to maintain interest by enterprise customers that Microsoft has long since courted…and counted on for the bulk of their revenue?

Revenue Breakdown

About a third of Microsoft’s revenue comes from their Business Division. A quarter comes from their Server and Tools Division and another quarter from their Business Division. The rest of the software giant’s $77.8 billion in revenue comes from Entertainment and Online Services (ie: Bing & MSN). Revenue from Microsoft’s Azure cloud service falls under their Server and Tools Division while their Office 365 cloud service falls under the Business Division category. The question is: Can Microsoft shift gears to replace diminishing traditional software with services such as 365 and Azure. In order to answer that question, Microsoft’s cloud strategy becomes front and center.

New CEO at the Helm

Next year will mark Microsoft’s 40th anniversary since their founding in 1975. Roughly 60 days ago, Microsoft announced a new CEO, Satya Nadella. Nadella is only the third CEO to lead Microsoft during their almost 40-year history. A long time Microsoft employee of over 20 years, Nadella has lead different parts of the organization most recently leading Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group. It is this last assignment that may be the most critical to his (and Microsoft’s) success moving forward.

Microsoft’s Halo is Strong

No, not that Halo. The halo effect from Microsoft’s existing enterprise business and relationships is strong and not expected to erode any time soon. In order to understand this further, one can look at the percentage of desktop operating system (OS) market share that Microsoft currently commands.
os_market_share_december_2013

Credit: The Next Web

Beyond desktop operating systems, Microsoft is still the dominant player in the productivity suite…by a long margin.

prod_suite_adoption

Credit: Forrester

Desktop OS and Productivity Suite are foundational to any enterprise customer. The relationship Microsoft garners with enterprise customers is strong and wide. And the value of those relationships is a gold mine that any provider today would kill to have. The question really comes back to Microsoft’s ability to convert customers from traditional software users to next generation users of cloud and mobile centric solutions.

The End of the XP Era

Well, not really. Yes, Microsoft ends support tomorrow for XP, but there is still quite a bit of the XP operating system in use between corporate systems and embedded within products. According to many, XP’s percent of desktop market share still hovers near 30%. It will take quite a while (read: years) to completely replace those systems. In the meantime, expect to see an increase in compromises through those unprotected systems.

Turning a Battleship in a Bathtub

Bringing in a new CEO that appreciates both Microsoft’s history and the new cloud centric world was a key move for Microsoft. If there was a time for Microsoft to change, now is that time. At the recent BUILD conference, Microsoft expressed their understanding of the importance from cloud and mobile. With Nadella at the helm charged with a background in cloud, the next few months will be critical to prove his ability to start the transformation of a giant. Customers will want to watch Microsoft’s next moves closely as it should set both the tone and cadence of future moves.

The Shark of HP Converged Systems

The story of Converged Infrastructure (CI) continues to gain steam within the Information Technology (IT) industry…and for good reason. Converged solutions present a relatively easy way to manage complex infrastructure solutions. While some providers focus on CI as an opportunity to bundle solutions into a single SKU, companies such as Nutanix and HP have produced solutions for a couple of years now that go much further with true integration.

As enterprise IT customers shift their focus away from infrastructure and toward platforms, application and data, expect the CI space to heat up. Part of this shift includes platforms geared toward specific applications. This is especially true for those operating applications at scale.

Last week, HP announced their ‘shark’ approach of hardware solutions geared toward specific applications. One of the first targets is the SAP HANA application using HP Converged System 500 as part of a co-innovation project between HP & SAP. It is interesting to see HP partner with SAP HANA with so much emphasis on data analytics today. In addition, specialized solutions are becoming increasingly more important in this space.

Enterprise IT organizations need the ability to start small and grow accordingly. Even service providers may consider a start-small and grow approach. Michael Krigsman (@mkrigsman) recently wrote a post outlining how IT projects are getting smaller and still looking for relief. HP expressed their intent to provide scalable solutions that start small and include forthcoming ‘Project Kraken’ solutions later this year. Only time will tell how seamless this transition becomes.

Additional Reading:

HP CS Blog Entry:

http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Converged-Infrastructure/HP-ConvergedSystem-for-SAP-HANA-meet-the-industry-s-most/ba-p/157176#.UynDsdy0bfM

IBM Dev@Pulse Conference Impressions

The Dev@Pulse conference is IBM’s developer conference tagging onto the core IBM Pulse conference. This is IBM’s first year trying to hold a developer-centric conference (Dev@Pulse) alongside their flagship cloud conference (IBM Pulse). Dev@Pulse is about as far away physically as you can get from the main conference and held in a nightclub rather than conference center. While Hakkasan LV Nightclub is a trendy choice to hold a developer summit, the attendance seemed thin and pulled from the existing IBM user base.

In talking with folks at the event, it seems IBM is trying new things like lightning talks, demos and a playground to woo developers. There are several labs to choose from too. In talking with devs prior to the event, many of them had not hear of Pulse, let alone Dev@Pulse. This seems like a miss on IBM’s part to attract new developers to the IBM ecosystem. After attending several sessions at Dev@Pulse, I’d say that it has the makings of a decent developer conference.

A good example was IBM’s technical rundown of the just-announced IBM BlueMix. The session went soup-to-nuts on how to deploy an app using BlueMix as a great summary introduction of how BlueMix works and how to deploy an app using the new service. However, only 50 or so folks were in attendance for the talk here at Dev@Pulse. One presenter even asked the audience how many are Cobol programmers and several raised their hands. That is a very different crowd from the typical Node.js, Rails, Python crowd.

On the other hand, IBM is identifying the need to bridge the gap between cloud-based apps and traditional apps. They also note that the challenge is in extensively leveraging APIs. The API economy is a reality…not just with IBM but in the industry today. That’s pretty forward thinking (and refreshing) for a traditional enterprise organization like IBM. The question will be: How to get the permeation through the rest of the organization beyond just BlueMix and SoftLayer.

Trying to attract developers to a conference like IBM Pulse or Dev@Pulse will be hard to do in isolation. There are a number of other efforts in terms of location, audience, social impact and content that IBM needs to address in order to make significant, sustaining waves.

IBM Pulse Conference Impressions

IBM’s conference on cloud is taking place this week in Las Vegas at the MGM Convention Center. There are two core parts to the conference; The main Pulse general conference and the Dev@Pulse conference which is specifically targeting developers. The two conferences are…and feel…completely separate from one another.

IBM Pulse Core
The main IBM Pulse conference is IBM’s rebranding of their past Tivoli conference into a cloud conference. Pulse 2014 is branded as ‘The Premier Cloud Conference’. I’m not sure I would go that far, but it’s much more than that. IBM is bringing much more of their software portfolio to bear. Having attended, keynoted and presented at a number of cloud conferences around the globe, this one takes on quite a different vibe. It’s far more subdued and less energetic than its cloud rivals. That could stem from IBM past culture creeping forward. But there are many trying to shed the IBM of old for a fresh and modern perspective. Just talking with folks around the room, it’s clear that the individuals want to turn the corner, but it’s hard to turn a battleship in a bathtub. Changing culture is hard.

The presentations have been a mix of lukewarm depth and buzzword bingo. While the right things are being stated and the cloud-centric focus is decent, it is unclear the impact IBM has for its customers. This seems to be a pretty significant gap for IBM to fill in the coming months. One area IBM needs to address is how to attract new developers and customers. Looking around the room, 1/2 of the gentlemen are in suits while the other 1/2 are simply jacket-less. You rarely see the jeans, tee shirt or hoodie walking the floor. This speaks more to IBM’s current user base that the new millennials that are the real x-factor in cloud development today.

And speaking of developers, IBM’s Dev@Pulse developer conference is happening in tandem with IBM Pulse. More on Dev@Pulse and IBM Pulse perspectives coming soon!

Who are the biggest cloud providers?

Cloud computing has taken off like wildfire. In that vein there is a bit of discrepancy between who the largest cloud company is and isn’t. Is perception reality? One could argue that perception is reality. And the perception today is that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the largest. That may be the perception, but the reality is far different.

Amazon by the Numbers

Today, Amazon’s market cap is $180 billion. In fiscal 2012, Amazon reported $61 billion in revenue. In Nov 2013, Alex Williams (@alexwilliams) of TechCrunch reported that the AWS (Amazon’s Web Services) portion is “…widely believed to be a $3.5 billion business.” That is a substantial business on its own, but pales in comparison with the revenue from the rest of the Amazon portfolio; namely amazon.com. Meaning, AWS may account for less than 6% of Amazon’s total revenue.

Largest Cloud Computing Providers

Now let’s look at the larger, publicly traded companies that focus on cloud computing solely:

Market Cap (as of Jan 24, 2014)

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) = $379 billion

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) = $36 billion

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) = $25 billion

Workday (NYSE:WDAY) = $16 billion

NetSuite (NYSE:N) = $8 billion

ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) = $8 billion

Concur (NASDAQ:CNQR) = $6 billion

Now, these are closer to pure-play cloud providers. Meaning, their only business is cloud-based services. And they don’t represent two other groups: Diversified public companies and privately held companies.

Diversified Cloud Companies

While cloud computing may not be their primary source of revenue, one can not exclude this group from the mix. Some of the larger companies include:

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) = $309 billion -> 365, Dynamics, Azure

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) = $168 billion -> Cloud

SAP (NYSE:SAP) = $92 billion -> Cloud

IBM (NYSE:IBM) = $196 billion -> SoftLayer

HP (NYSE:HPQ) = $55 billion -> Cloud

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) = $137 billion -> Terremark

Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) = $5 billion -> Cloud

The revenue from cloud alone from each of these companies can easily reach into the billions of dollars.

Privately Held Cloud Companies

Aside from publicly traded companies, there are a number of privately held companies. Some of which are startups. Of late, companies such as Box and Dropbox have received valuations of $2 billion and $8 billion respectively. And this is before they go IPO.

Perception vs. Reality

The point is, Amazon’s AWS may garner the 800lb gorilla perception, but there are a number of other viable and larger cloud providers in the market today. And this doesn’t account for the up-and-coming providers that could provide Amazon with some healthy competition.

HP Discover Barcelona: What to Watch For

Today kicks off HP’s Discover conference in Barcelona, Spain with a bevy of information on tap. Looking over the event guide, it is clear that HP is targeting the Enterprise customer with an emphasis on Cloud Computing, Data (including Big Data) and Converged Infrastructure. HP’s definition of ‘converged infrastructure’ does include a bevy of their core infrastructure components.

With an emphasis on cloud and data, HP is really targeting the future direction of technology, not just traditional IT. HP is a large company and can take a bit of work to evolve the thinking from traditional IT to transformational IT. It is good to see the changes.

Of note is the expansion of data beyond just Big Data. For many, the focus continues to persist on Big Data. Yet, for many enterprises, data expands well beyond just Big Data. Look for more information beyond the existing NASCAR example on both the breadth and depth. In addition, there are sessions that provide a deep dive specifically for HAVEn partners. It is good to see HP consider the importance of their partner program.

Core areas of both printing and mobility are making an appearance here at Discover. However, their presence pales in comparison with the big three.

So, what to look for… With cloud and data, the keys for HP will rest with how well they enable adoption. How easy do they make it for customers to easily adopt new technologies? Adoption is key to success. With converged infrastructure, has the story of integration moved beyond a reference architecture and single SKU approach? Look for more details on how far HP has come in developing their portfolio along with execution of the integration between the different solutions. This integration and execution is key.

LifeSize Tech Day 2013

Video conferencing trumps audio conferencing! Why you ask? More than 80% of communication is non-verbal. So, why don’t more people use video conferencing over audio? There are a number reasons…read on.

HISTORY

While some may feel video conferencing is passé, I attended LifeSize’s TechDay in Austin, TX and now have a different perspective. Founded in 2006 and later acquired by Logitech, LifeSize is a producer of video conferencing equipment and services. Historically, video conferencing has been relegated to two extremes: 1) Personal 1:1 communications and 2) Fixed and proprietary meeting room systems. And until recently, the only option was the fixed and propriety meeting room systems. Today, 70% of all video conference calls are point-to-point (1:1 or room-to-room). The great thing about personal systems (ie: Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime) is the ability to use them across multiple devices in just about any location. While some provide group video conferencing, they are often not as high quality as fixed systems with high-end cameras and high-speed data connections.

INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY

As people look for ways to increase productivity, an increase in video conferencing could provide a useful tool. Picking up on the non-verbal communication helps drive clarity and highlight nuances not otherwise visible with audio conferencing. Plus, we know that team interaction provides a greater opportunity for collaboration and team building. Video conferencing, while not exactly the same as being in the same room as other people, is coming very close. Even mobile solutions are providing an interesting spin on the ability to video conference from just about anywhere. By bridging the gap between the fixed systems and the personal systems, users can start up a video conference as easily as they would with a phone call.

SPECTRUM OF SOLUTIONS

Video conferencing sits within a spectrum of communication solutions and alone is a $3b market with a number of different solutions. The different solutions within the spectrum of communications are:

- Audio Conferencing: Commonly used for group meetings, but lacks the video interaction. Audio is easy to access and only requires a telephone to use. All of the backend infrastructure is hosted.

- Web Conferencing: Web conferencing offers the ability to share screens and present documents in a one-to-many fashion. Some audio collaboration may exist, but only limited video or sharing bi-directional.

- Video Conferencing: Provides the ability to interact with both audio and video. It provides attendees to interact with each other visually. Video conferencing itself spans a wide range of needs from 1:1 personal video conferencing to high quality video required when connecting meeting rooms together.

- Telepresence: Similar to Video Conferencing, telepresence provide a very high quality way for multiple rooms to participate in meetings. Telepresence carries a hefty price tag and is best geared for connecting entire rooms of people together.

LIFESIZE PORTFOLIO

The LifeSize product portfolio covers a wide space from their smaller Passport Series that supports a single high-definition (HD) display to their flagship Icon series which supports Dual HD displays along with a myriad of other features. LifeSize even offers a video Softphone solution too. While many of the solutions require infrastructure on premises to support video calls, LifeSize is starting to offer a Hosted Infrastructure option.

Many of the existing solutions on the market today may use standards to communicate between end points, but they don’t integrate well with competing solutions. That becomes evident if you want to start a video conference session between companies that may have standardized on different solutions. LifeSize has taken a different path by leveraging standards to provide interoperability with other competing solutions.

Two factors govern the success of any given solution:

1)     Interoperability: How well does the solution interact with other devices, solutions and products? Not only is it standards based, but how accessible is the solution to use?

2)     Critical Mass: Unlike the fixed systems of years past, newer systems need a critical mass of users to function well. Think Metcalfe’s Law here: The utility of a network increases at the square of the number of nodes within it. The more users using the system, the more valuable it becomes.

WEBRTC

An alternative and simple option would be to launch a video conferencing session in a browser. Google and others are working on that via the WebRTC movement. Today, the browser of choice for WebRTC is Google Chrome. But hopefully that will span out to include other browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Will WebRTC replace video conferencing? Probably not as it is not able to “ring” someone.

HOSTED SOLUTIONS

It was a bit disappointing that LifeSize’s efforts are not centered around their hosted offering. At least not yet. We know that the market is moving away from on-premises equipment and my point of view is that LifeSize should move full-steam in that direction too.

Another opportunity might be for service providers to host the solution for small medium business (SMB) clients. It could provide an interesting market to help augment LifeSize’s existing hosted offering. However, at this time, LifeSize explicitly forbids multi-tenant use of their solution.

IN SUMMARY

While video conferencing may have been around for some time, I believe we are just starting a to see its mass adoption. It is in the relatively early stages as behaviors change to accept starting a video call just like one would an audio call. The adoption of personal solutions will help change this behavior and in turn help open up video conferencing more broadly in the workplace.

Today, LifeSize offers a great portfolio of solutions with both good quality at an interesting price point. As their hosted solution develops further, it will be interesting to see LifeSize’s adoption in the marketplace.

HP Aims for the Stars with CloudSystem and Moonshot

Over the past few months, I’ve had a chance to spend time with the HP product teams. In doing so, it’s really opened my eyes to a new HP with a number of solid offerings. Two solutions (CloudSystem and Moonshot) really caught my attention.

HP CloudSystem

HP’s CloudSystem Matrix provides a management solution that manages internal and external resources and across multiple cloud providers. The heart of the CloudSystem platform is in its extendible architecture. In doing so, it provides the glue that many enterprises look to leverage for bridging the gap between internal and external resources. On the surface, HP CloudSystem looks pretty compelling for enterprises considering the move to cloud (internal, external, public or private). For those thinking that CloudSystem only works with OpenStack solutions, think again. CloudSystem’s architecture is designed to work across both OpenStack and non-OpenStack infrastructures.

However, the one question I do have is why CloudSystem doesn’t get the airplay it should. While it may not be the right solution for everyone, it should be in the mix when considering the move to cloud-based solutions (public or private).

HP Moonshot

Probably one of the most interesting solutions recently announced is HP’s Moonshot. On the surface, it may appear to be a replacement for traditional blades or general-purpose servers. Not true. The real opportunity comes from it’s ability to tune infrastructure for a specific IT workload.

Traditionally, IT workloads are mixed. Within an enterprise’s data center run a variety of applications with mixed requirements. In sum, a mixed workload looks like a melting pot of technology. One application may be chatty, while another is processor intensive and yet another is disk intensive.  The downside to the mixed workload is the inability to tune the infrastructure (and platforms) to most efficiently run the workload.

All Workloads Are Not Created Equally

As the world increasingly embraces cloud computing and a services-based approach, we are starting to see workloads coalesce into groupings. Instead of running a variety of workloads on general-purpose servers, we group applications together with service providers. For example, one service provider might offer an Microsoft Exchange email solution. Their entire workload is Exchange and they’re able to tune their infrastructure to most efficiently support Exchange. This also leads to a high level of specialization not possible in the typical enterprise.

That’s where Moonshot comes in. Moonshot provides a platform that is highly scalable and tunable for specific workloads. Don’t think of Moonshot as a high-performance general-purpose server. That’s like taking an Indy car and trying to haul the kids to soccer practice. You can do it, but would you? Moonshot was purpose-built and not geared for the typical enterprise data center or workload. The sweet spot for Moonshot is in the Service Provider market where you typically find both the scale and focus on specific workloads. HP also considered common challenges Service Providers would face with Moonshot at scale. As an example, management software offers the ability to update CPUs and instances in bulk.

Two downsides to Moonshot are side effects of the change in architecture. One is in the creation of bandwidth problems. Moonshot is very power efficient, but requires quite a bit of bandwidth. The other challenge is around traditional software licensing. This problem is not new and seems to rear its ugly head with changes in innovation. We saw this with both Virtualization and Cloud. Potential users of Moonshot need to consider how to best address these issues. Plus, industry standard software licensing will need to evolve to support newer infrastructure methods. HP (along with users) need to lobby software providers to evolve their practices.

OpenStack at the Core

HP is one of the core OpenStack open-source contributors. OpenStack, while a very powerful solution, is a hard sell for the enterprise market. This will only get harder over time. On the other hand, Service Providers present a unique match for the challenges and opportunities that OpenStack presents. HP is leveraging OpenStack as part of the Moonshot offering. Pairing Moonshot with OpenStack is a match made in heaven. The combination, when leveraged by Service Providers provides a strong platform to support their offering compared with alternatives.

When considering the combination of CloudSystem along with Moonshot and OpenStack, HP has raised the stakes from a single provider. The solutions provide a bridge from the current traditional environments to Service Provider solutions.

I am pleased to see a traditional hardware/ software provider acknowledging how the technology industry is evolving and providing solutions that span the varied requirements. I, for one, will be interested to see how successful HP is in continuing their path through the evolution.

HP Anywhere and Poken

Last week at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas, I visited the HP Anywhere booth to learn about the HP Anywhere mobile development platform. While at the booth, I was particularly intrigued by the Poken devices that a few folks had. But more on that in a minute

HP’s Anywhere provides a cross between an enterprise App Store and a portal to access enterprise applications. It allows enterprise mobile developers to create apps that are consumed by internal users on a variety of devices. The concept of an enterprise app store is interesting but not new. The combination of an app store along with a portal to enterprise applications is where I think the value is. To an established enterprise that may have a number of legacy applications, making them available to a growing mobile workforce is not a trivial matter. At first blush, it appears that HP Anywhere could provide the interface to mobile-enable enterprise legacy apps while maintaining the mobile experience.

Across the show floor, I noticed a few folks carrying this curious device hanging from their badges.

photo 1photo 2

Beyond the cute shape of a playful hand, is a platform that could be very interesting. However, at HP Discover, the Poken device was mainly used to store and exchange business card information via a NFC connection. That aspect is novel, but definitely not new or interesting. The functionality arrived more than 10 years ago with the Palm “beam” capability where two users could ‘beam’ their business card info back and forth via Infrared. Years later Bump provided similar capabilities via a mobile app.

If we look beyond just exchanging contact info, the Poken device demonstrates an interesting platform for mobile exchange to collect or share data. The company targets the exhibitor market, but just imagine if enterprises could share information in a similar way with clients, prospects or providers. In addition to just exchanging contact information, data could include technical documents, data sheets or website URLs…maybe more.

HP Converged Cloud Tech Day

Last week, I attended HP’s Converged Cloud Tech Day in Puerto Rico. Fellow colleagues attended from North, Latin and South America. The purpose of the event was to 1) take a deep dive into HP’s cloud offerings and 2) visit HP’s Aguadilla location, which houses manufacturing and an HP Labs presence. What makes the story interesting is that HP is a hardware manufacturer, a software provider and a provider of cloud services. Overall, I was very impressed by what HP is doing…but read on for the reasons why…and the surprises.

HP Puerto Rico

HP, like many other technology companies, has a significant presence in Puerto Rico. Martin Castillo, HP’s Caribbean Region Country Manager provided an overview for the group that left many in awe. HP exports a whopping $11.5b from Puerto Rico or roughly 10% of HP’s global revenue. In the Caribbean, HP holds more than 70% of the server market. Surprisingly, much of the influence to use HP cloud services in Puerto Rico comes from APAC and EMEA, not North America. To that end, 90% of HP’s Caribbean customers are already starting the first stage of moving to private clouds. Like others, HP is seeing customers move from traditional data centers to private clouds to managed clouds to public clouds.

Moving to the Cloud

Not surprisingly, HP is going through a transition by presenting the company from a solutions perspective rather than a product perspective. Shane Pearson, HP’s VP of Portfolio & Product Management explained that “At the end of the day, it’s all about applications and workloads. Everyone sees the importance of cloud, but everyone is trying to figure out how to leverage it.” By 2015 the projected markets are: Traditional $1.4b, Private Cloud $47b, Managed Cloud $55b, Public Cloud $30b for a cloud total of $132b. In addition, HP confirmed Hybrid Cloud approach as the approach of choice.

While customers are still focused on cost savings as the primary motivation to move to cloud, the tide is shifting to business process improvement. Put another way, cloud is allowing users to do things they could not do before. I was pleased to hear HP offer that it’s hard to take advantage of cloud if you don’t leverage automation. Automation and Orchestration are essential to cloud deployments.

HP CloudSystem Matrix

HP’s Nigel Cook was up next to talk about HP’s CloudSystem Matrix. Essentially, HP is (and has been) providing cloud services across the gamut of potential needs. Internally, HP is using OpenStack as the foundation for their cloud service offering. But CloudSystem Matrix provides a cohesive solution to manage across both internal and external cloud services. To the earlier point about automation, HP is focusing on automation and self-service as part of their cloud offering. Having a solution that helps customers manage the complexity that Hybrid Clouds presents could prove interesting. Admittedly, I have not kicked the tires of CloudSystem Matrix yet, but on the surface, it is very impressive.

Reference Architecture

During the visit to Aguadilla, we joined a Halo session with HP’s Christian Verstraete to discuss architecture. Christian and team have built an impressive cloud functional reference architecture. As impressive as it is, one challenge is how to best leverage such a comprehensive model for the everyday IT organization. It’s quite a bit to chew off. Very large enterprises can consume the level of detail contained within the model. Others will need a way to consume it in chunks. Christian goes into much greater depth in a series of blog entries on HP’s Cloud Source Blog.

HP Labs: Data Center in a Box

One treat on the trip was the visit to HP Labs. If you ever get the opportunity to visit HP Labs, it’s well worth the time to see what innovative solutions the folks are cooking up. HP demonstrated the results from their Thermal Zone Mapping (TZM) tool (US Patent 8,249,841) along with CFD modeling tools and monitoring to determine details around airflow/ cooling efficiency. While I’ve seen many different modeling tools, HP’s TZM was pretty impressive.

In addition to the TZM, HP shared a new prototype that I called Data Center in a Box. The solution is an encapsulated rack system that supports 1-8 racks that are fully enclosed. The only requirement is power and chilled water. The PUE numbers were impressive, but didn’t take into account every metric (ie: the cost of chilled water). Regardless, I thought the solution was pretty interesting. The HP folks kept mentioning that they planned to target the solution to Small-Medium Business (SMB) clients. While that may have been interesting to the SMB market a few years ago, today the SMB market is moving more to services (ie: Cloud Services). That doesn’t mean the solution is DOA. I do think it could be marketed as a modular approach to data center build-outs that provides a smaller increment to container solutions. Today, the solution is still just a prototype and not commercially available. It will be interesting to see where HP ultimately takes this.

In Summary

I was quite impressed by HP’s perspective on how customers can…and should leverage cloud. I felt they have a healthy perspective on the market, customer engagement and opportunity. However, I was left with one question: Why are HP’s cloud solutions not more visible? Arguably, I am smack in the middle of the ‘cloud stream’ of information. Sure, I am aware that HP has a cloud offering. However, when folks talk about different cloud solutions, HP is noticeably absent. From what I learned last week, this needs to change.

HP’s CloudSystem Matrix is definitely worth a look regardless of the state of your cloud strategy. And for data center providers and service providers, keep an eye out for their Data Center in a Box…or whatever they ultimately call it.