Showing posts with label Insight Remote Support. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insight Remote Support. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HP Expert Chat Explores How Insight Remote Support and Insight Online Bring Automation, Self-Solving Capabilities to IT Problems

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect expert chat with HP on new frontiers in automated and remote support.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect presentation, a sponsored podcast created from a recent HP Expert Chat discussion on new approaches to data center support, remote support, and support automation.

Data centers must do whatever it takes to make businesses lean, agile, and intelligent. Modern support services then need to be able to empower the workers and IT personnel alike to maintain peak control, and to keep the systems and processes performing reliably at lowest cost.

This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. To help find out more about how to best implement improved and productive IT support processes, I recently moderated an HP Expert Chat session with Tommaso Esmanech, Director of Automation Strategies at HP Technology Services. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Tommaso has more than 16 years of HP IT support experience, and has been a leader in designing new innovations in support automation.

In our discussion now, you’ll hear the latest on how HP is revolutionizing support to offer new innovations in support automation and efficiency.

As part of our discussion, we're also joined by two other HP experts, Andy Claiborne, Usability Lead for HP Insight Remote Support, and Paddy Medley, Director of Enterprise Business IT for HP Technology Services.

Our overall discussion begins now with a brief overview from me of the data center agility market, and need for improved IT support capabilities.

I begin by looking at why industry and business leaders are forcing a rethinking of data centers and their support. Agility is the key nowadays. The speed of business has really never been faster, and it needs to be ever more responsive. It seems that even more time compression is involved in reacting to customers. And reacting to markets now is more than essential, it's about survival. Those that can't keep up are in a pretty tough -- even perilous -- situation.

Modern data centers therefore must serve many masters, but ultimately, it's primarily a tool of business, and it must perform therefore at the speed of business. For example, nowadays the impacts of big data are demanding that decisions are increasingly data-driven. A lot more data needs to be tapped and mined. Decisions need to be made based on data -- and those business decisions need to be conducted with ongoing visibility, performance analytics, and, of course, time is important, so near real-time.

But even as data centers support these new levels of agility and analysis, they also need to become cost-reduction centers. Modern IT must do more for less, and that extends especially to ongoing operations and support, which for many people are their largest long-term costs in their total cost equation.

Big date requirements

But not only are data centers supporting many types of converged infrastructure, and now increasingly virtualized technical workloads, too. They're supporting big data requirements -- as we pointed out, data continues to explode -- but they must do this all efficiently, with increased automation as a key component of that efficiency. And moving towards lower energy costs is increasingly important as well.

To accomplish this high efficiency and to exploit the best in performance management and operational governance, these new requirements are all essential to delivering that never failing reliability. And we can also move now toward proactive types of support -- to continue the ongoing improvement and to maintain systems with those high expectations met.

In a nutshell, data centers must do whatever it takes to make businesses lean, agile and intelligent, as businesses and innovate and excel in their fast-changing markets. Modern support services need to be able to empower the workers and the IT personnel alike need to be able to maintain peak control, even within an ecosystem of support, so constituents can keep these systems and processes performing reliably, at the lowest possible cost.

Fortunately, today's modern data centers are like no others before. For the first time, data centers can accommodate the interrelated short-term tactical imperatives and the long-term strategic requirements demanded by their dynamic business demands and requirements.

By delivering fit-for-purpose utilization and converged infrastructure control -- and by putting a priority on energy conservation and automated support -- total costs are no longer spiraling out of control. By doing all of this correctly -- managing your data center for efficiency and putting in proactive support to continue operational efficiency – you can gain huge payoffs.

Fortunately, today's modern data centers are like no others before.

But there are big challenges in getting there as well. So it's important to execute properly to keep that efficiency continuing and building over time. This is, after all, a journey. So today, we're going to learn about how modern data centers are being built for business demands first and foremost, and we'll see how converged infrastructure methods and technologies are being used to retrofit older data centers into fleet, responsive engines of innovation.

We'll also hear specifically on how HP is redefining modern data-center support, enabling far more insights into performance and operation and modernizing through efficiency projects like Voyager, Moonshot and Odyssey, the big initiatives at HP that we've heard quite a bit about, and that are changing the very definition of the data center.

Moreover, we're going to see how HP Technology Services places a proactive edge on service support. And they’re pioneering support automation and remote support, with all of this designed to make IT more responsive so that the businesses themselves can stay adaptive.

I now have the pleasure of introducing our main speaker, Tommaso Esmanech, Director of Automation Strategies at HP in the Technology Services Group. He's going to provide an overview on how HP is revolutionizing support to offer new innovation in support automation. Tommaso leads the Deployment and Business Impact of Web Services implementation, change management, and technologies intended to distribute faster and more customer-oriented services via the Internet.

Support automation

Tommaso Esmanech: Thank you, Dana, and good day to everyone joining today. Before we dive into how HP is implementing support automation and enabling a new and a next generation of data centers, we need to understand what HP is trying to achieve with support automation.

Our intent is to automate the entire support processes, eliminate minor work, and improve production and activities for the entire enterprise. This involves finding solutions for software and hardware, and making hardware and software work seamlessly together by providing a best-in-class customer experience.

What we need to understand is that the world is changing. Customers are using devices that now are providing a new, innovative experience. Their front end is becoming easier. Customers demand integrated capabilities and are requesting a seamless experience, though the back end, the data center, is still complex, articulated, and provided by multiple vendors.

You have network storage and management software that needs to start working together. We began a the journey about 18 months ago in HP to make that change, and we’ve called it Converged Infrastructure. HP took on the journey, mostly because we're the only provider in the industry that provides all the components to make the data center run seamlessly. We're the only provider for data-center network solutions, storage, servers, and management software.

Let’s put this in context of support automation. When you have hardware and software working together and you’re supplying services within that chemistry, you achieve a powerful position for customers. Furthermore, if you're able to automate the entire support and service process, you provide a win-win situation for you, our customers, our HP partners, and for HP, of course.

When you have hardware and software working together and you’re supplying services within that chemistry, you achieve a powerful position for customers.

Now, let’s sit back and look at how this support has changed throughout the years. Support used to be very manual. A lot of the activities used to reside on site where a very qualified workforce, customer engineers and system engineers, would interact to resolve and manage situations.

In the early '90s, we saw a change with infrastructure support moving from decentralized to centralized global and regional centers, moving routine activities into those centers and providing a new role for the customer engineers by focusing on value-added infrastructure and capabilities.

In the '90s, we saw the explosion of the Internet. The basic task was to move to the Web sales, service, our system knowledge base, chat, support cases and case management. A lot of these activities were still manual, relying on human factor activities, to determine the root cause of a problem.

In 2000, we saw more growth of machine-to-machine diagnostics. Now, imagine that we can completely revolutionize that experience. We can integrate the entire delivery support processes, leveraging the machine experience, incorporating that with customer options of all the information with the customer in control, and really blending a remote support, onsite, phone, Web and machine-to-machine into a new automated experience. We believe that unimaginable efficiency can be achieved.

Gardner: Tommaso, I just have a quick question. As we talk about support automation, how is this actually reaching the customer? How do these technologies get into the sites where they’re needed, and what are some of the proof points that this is making an impact?

Intelligent devices

Esmanech: Let me talk about how we’re bringing the support automation to the customer. It starts with how we build intelligence and connectivity into the devices. You probably followed the announcement in February of our new ProLiant servers, our Generation 8 servers.

We have basically embedded more support capabilities into the DNA. We call it Insight Online. As of December 2012, we will be able to support in a similar fashion the existing installed base. This provides the customer a truly one-stop-shop experience for the entire IT data center.

Now that it is easier to utilize and take advantage of an automated support infrastructure, what are the key points? You don't have to make, or necessarily have to make, a phone call. You don't have to wait for a document provide a description. All those activities are automated, because the machine tells us how it’s feeling and what is its health status.

Furthermore, if we compare our support infrastructure to standard human interaction and technical support, we've seen a 66 percent improvement in problem resolution. All these numbers are great for your business.

How much does it cost in downtime? What if your individual servers are impacting your factory? For us, it's about keeping your systems up and running, making sure that you meet the customer commitments, and delivering your products on time.

If we compare our support infrastructure to standard human interaction and technical support, we've seen a 66 percent improvement in problem resolution.

You may say, “Well, machine-to-machine support automation existed before.” Yes, some of them did. What we added just recently is a new customer experience. The management of the infrastructure, the access to the information, how it’s performing, was very much limited to the local management, with access only to the technical few, and they knew how to use it, they knew how to read it.

With Insight Online, accessible through the Web, we now provide secure, personalized anytime/anywhere access to the information. We're totally changing the dynamics from few who had access to those who need to have access to the information. That reduces high learning times that were necessary before, and moves to the user-friendly, innovative, and integrated content that our customers are requesting.

Furthermore, Insight Online is integrated in real-time with a back end. It's not just a report or dashboard of information that is routinely updated. It truly becomes a management tool, when you can view the infrastructure.

One of the other key aspects with Insight Online, this new Web experience, is that we didn’t want to create a new portal. We had made a conscious decision in integrating it with the existing capabilities that you're using to do basic support tasks like accessing a knowledge base, downloading drivers and patches, downloading documentation, and making the infrastructure run seamlessly. The access to the information has to be seamless.

We've also leveraged HP Passport, the identification methodology that you use within your HP experience, providing one infrastructure and not multiple access points.

Gardner: Tommaso, can you give us a bit more detail about how it all comes together, the server management and the support experience?

Customer connectivity

Esmanech: It starts with the connectivity on the customer side. We have a new Generation 8 with embedded DNA that directly connects to the HP back end through Insight Remote Support. Through Insight Remote Support, we're able to collect information and provide alerts about events, warranty, case-management status, and collect all the information necessary for us to deliver on the customer commitments.

In this new version, we've embedded new functions. For example, we allow you to provide identification on the HP service partner that is working on managing your environment. It could be HP, or it could be a certified HP service partner. We have authentication through HP Passport that allows and permits access to the information on Insight Online. Last but not least, we've been able to achieve a faster installation process, eliminating a lot of those hurdles that made it more difficult. It's now significantly easier to adopt Insight Online.

What's important to recognize is that as we collected the bulk of knowledge and information on how these patches are performing, Insight Remote Support does role matching and event correlation.

It not only provides, as we say, traffic-light alerts. You're able to correlate an event with other events to propose a multipurpose action and, in the end, trigger the appropriate delivery and support processes. For example, we can automatically send the right part to you in case you need to manage the device. We link with the standard support processes.

When information is flowing from the customer side into HP support, they have access to the customer in Insight Online. We have access to a customer through our dashboard. This provides alerts and information about how the devices are performing and automatically links warranties. It informs the staff of when they're going to expire, so you can take more proactive actions about renewing it. They also automatically link support cases to events, and with one click, you can navigate to the website.

We have access to a customer through our dashboard. This provides alerts and information about how the devices are performing.

One new feature of Insight Online is access for our HP partners. I talked about having to identify a partner that is actually working on the device? What we have is now a new partner view, again, through HP servers and Insight Online. This uses a new tab called My Customers, and now others can be part of the entire interaction by being able to manage devices on behalf of the customer.

You don’t have to install any of your own software. You don’t have to develop it. We are providing the tools to be more productive, right from the start, by installing the HP server, HP infrastructure, data network storage, and giving you new tools to give you more efficiency.

HP Support Center with Insight Online also provides access to multiple users. You could be an account manager, managing infrastructure, who is going to meet the customer and you want to talk about that infrastructure, how it's performing. You log onto Insight Online and review the information.

Your HP partner can automatically view the information before even going on site and taking actions on a customer device. You will have everything accessible. If users complain that the infrastructure is not performing, you will view the management software and know what is actually going on.

You can actually gain that without having to be in the environment. It is kind of giving the life back, that is the way I would like you to see. Now, let’s also look at this in terms of security. You have information flowing from your data center back into HP and now accessible online.

Security and privacy

First of all, security and privacy are extremely important. We actually compare our privacy policy against all the countries that we do business in. Security is highly scrutinized. We've been audited and certified for our security, and it’s extremely important for us to take care of your security concerns.

Gardner: Tommaso, one of the things I hear quite a bit from folks is that they’re trying to understand how this all works in a fairly complex environment, like a data center, with many people involved with support. There are individuals working on the customer IT infrastructure internally, self-maintainers as well, within that group.

But they’re also relying on partners, and there are other vendors and other devices and equipment and technologies involved. So how does the support automation capability that you have been describing address and manage a fairly fragmented support environment like that?

Esmanech: It is indeed one of the questions we asked ourselves, when we started looking at how do we solve today's problem? How do we give something more than just management software. It’s all about the users that need to access the information.

As I said before, access through a management console is limited to the few that can have access to that environment, because they're within the network or they have the knowledge how to use the tools. With the new experience, by providing cloud-based service in support automation, we're able to provide tools to the customer to enable access to the right people to do the right job.

We've created a new portfolio of services that is taking advantage of this new knowledge and infrastructure to provide new value to the customer.

HP shares devices or views devices or groups of devices with multiple users through the Web-based capabilities that we have with Insight Online. The customers then create groups. Also all customers manage. So you're in control of setting up those groups, saying who has the right to view the information and what he is able to do with such information.

Another important aspect is the security when employees move on. It's part of life. You have somebody working for you, and tomorrow he’s going to move to another organization. You don’t want that individual to have access to your information any longer. So we've given the ability to control who is accessing information and eventually removing the user's right to go into HP Support Center Insight Online and see your environment. So it’s not only providing access, but also controlling access.

Let me take another look how things are changing. We have this easy-to-adopt Insight Remote Support. You have this new access methodology and you have all this knowledge, information, and content flowing from the customer environment into the hands of the right people to keep the system up and running.

If you are under warranty, which is the minimal requirement to take advantage of this infrastructure, you still have a self-solve capability. You have to figure out what you have to do in some cases. While there's information provided, it's still up to you.

We've created a new portfolio of services that is taking advantage of this new knowledge and infrastructure to provide new value to the customer.

Proactive care

n the technology side, we need to look at proactive care service. First of all, a technical account manager is assigned as a single point of contact for the software. Several components and reports are sent or made available to the customer. Incorporated incident reports are reviewed with a technical account manager.

This allows them to decide configuration, performance, and security, match it against best practices. It allows them to understand what is the current version of software to keep the infrastructure up and running at the optimal level.

I want to close with few takeaways. First of all, products and services have come together to provide an innovative and exciting user experience, helping to guarantee a 24x7 coverage, and providing access to anywhere/anytime cloud-based and secure support, while managing who can receive such information.

We've embedded this also with a new portfolio to take advantage of old HP expertise and knowhow. Now, partners, customers, and HP experts work together to dramatically increase uptime and achieve efficiency at 66 percent.

This concludes our main presentation, and I want to turn it back to you, Dana, for our Q&A session.

Products and services have come together to provide an innovative and exciting user experience, helping to guarantee a 24x7 coverage.

Gardner: Thank you, Tommaso, and I’d like to introduce to our audience a couple of more experts that we have with us today.

We're here with Andrew Claiborne, Usability Lead for HP Insight Remote Support. Andy has developed HP remote support solutions for a half-dozen years within HP’s internal development labs. He also developed portions of the HP Insight Remote Support capabilities with a special focus on usability.

We're also here with Paddy Medley, Director of Enterprise Business IT for HP Technology Services. Paddy has more than 25 years of experience in the R&D of technology solutions for the HP services organization, responsible for the formulation and execution of technology solutions that are underpinning the delivery of HP technology services. Welcome to you both.

Let me start with you, Paddy, about licensing. Do we use the full functions of iLO 4 and the new HP SIM without any licensing issues?

Eliminate licensing issues

Paddy Medley: The good news is, Dana, is that what we’re trying to do with the solution here is to make it as pervasive as possible and to eliminate licensing issues. HP SIM is essentially a product attribute. Once a customer purchases a storage server from HP or they’ve got such device that’s under service contracts, they are actually entitled to HP SIM by default.

With iLO, iLO really comes in two formats, the standard format and advanced format. The standard format is effectively free, and the advanced format is for fee. The advanced format has additional facilities, such as supporting virtual media, directory support, and so on.

Gardner: Thank you. We have a question here directed at Insight Remote Support. It’s about the software. They're asking, is it included, and is it difficult to install?

Medley: The preface of the first answer applies to this answer as well. What we’ve done with our overall solution is make it as easy to install as possible for the huge amount of human factor effort in behind that. At its most basic level, what’s required is Insight Remote Support software, and that needs to be installed on a Windows-based system or a VMware guest or Windows guest. That’s pretty pervasive.

The actual install process is pretty straightforward and very intuitive. As I said, it's an area where we’ve gone through extensive human factors to make that as easy as possible to install.

The actual install process is pretty straightforward and very intuitive.

The other part of that is if the customer has Insight Manager already installed, they'll actually inherit its features, and there is an integration point there. For instance, if Insight Manager has already discovered a number of devices on the customer’s environments, we’ll inherit those with Insight Remote Support, and for pertinent events occurring in those systems, we’ll try to trace them through Insight Manager into Insight Remote Support and back to HP.

Gardner: Andy Claiborne, a question for you. Our viewers say that they're working to modernize their infrastructure and virtualize their environment. They'd like to implement support automation like Insight Remote Support, but they feel the cost is too high. What does it cost to implement this?

Andy Claiborne: Previous versions of Insight Remote Support were very challenging to get installed, especially at large customer sites. Trying to address that has been one of the key features that we've been trying to bake into our latest release of our support automation tools.

If you have just a couple of Gen8 ProLiants that you want to deploy in your environment and support using our support automation solutions, those systems are able to connect directly to HP, and that capability is just baked into their firmware. So it's really straightforward to set those up.

Hosting device

If you have a bunch of legacy devices in your environment, you’d have to set up what we call a hosting device, which is one system that sits in your environment that listens to all of your devices and sends service events back to HP. For our latest release, we've dramatically reduced the amount of time that it takes to set up, install, and configure the hosting device and implement remote support in your environment.

In the labs, we have cases that used to take our expert testers 45 minutes to get through. Our testers can now get through them in five minutes. So it should be a dramatic improvement, and it should be relatively easy.

Gardner: Here's a related question. How soon can we recover the upfront cost of implementing HP support automation? I think this is really getting to the return-on-investment (ROI) equation.

Claiborne: We look at two aspects. What does it cost to deploy it, and what benefit do you get from having remote support? As we said, the cost is greatly reduced from previous releases.

The benefit, as Tommaso mentioned, is in looking at our case resolution data across thousands of cases that have been opened, we see a 66 percent reduction in problem resolution time. When you think about just how incredibly expensive it is if one of your critical system goes down and how much that costs every second that that system is down, the benefits can be huge. So the payoff should be pretty quick.

Through the entire support processes and collection of the data, we're able to provide a great value proposition for our customers.

Gardner: Okay, Tommaso, a question for you. They ask, why is Insight Remote Support mandatory for proactive care?

Esmanech: If you think about the amount of data that we need to collect to deliver against the proactive care, if we were to all do that activity manually, that would definitely make the value proposition of proactive care through event and revision management, almost impossible to manage or to adapt as a value proposition. So we separate those. Through the entire support processes and collection of the data, we're able to provide a price quantity that is very interesting and a great value proposition for our customers.

A customer can choose as a part of our portfolio, foundation care, but of course, the price point and the value it will provide is going to be different.

Gardner: Here is a question that gets to the heart of the issue about your getting data from inside of other people's systems. They ask, our company has very strict security requirements. How does HP ensure the security of this data?

Esmanech: That is really one of the most asked questions. After we start talking with the security experts at the customer sites, we're able to solve all the problems.

Our security is multilayer. It starts with information collected at the customer site. First of all, the customer has visibility into everything that we collect. When we collect it and transfer it to HP’s back end, all that information is encrypted. When we talk about providing access on Insight Online through the Web, the access goes through HTTPS, so it's encrypted access of information.

For a password, for example, a minimum set of characters is required for an alphanumeric password. Also, the customer has knowledge and information about who is accessing his and viewing his devices. Last but not least, we have certified our environment end-to-end for eTrust, which is one of the most important certifications of security for these type of services in infrastructure.

Product support

Gardner: Paddy, a question from an organization with ProLiant servers as well as HP storage and networking products. Will Insight Remote support all of those products, or is it just the ProLiant servers?

Medley: We've had our initial release of the new Insight Remote Support and Insight Online solution. The initial solution covers Gen8 products only. In parallel with that, we're working on the second release, and that will be coming out in the summer.

That will, in effect, provide similar support for all of our legacy devices, network storage, and server spaces with the exception of three private tools, which we are looking at delivering in a future release. Our objective here is to have pervasive coverage across all of our enterprise-based products.

Gardner: Okay, is there an upgrade path for Insight Remote Support, so that older versions can gain some of the new capabilities?

Medley: There is indeed. We have our legacy remote support solution, which has very significant usage in customer sites. We're providing an upgrade path to customers to migrate from that legacy solution to our new solution, and that’s part of the bundle that will go with the summer release that I just spoke about.

We're providing an upgrade path to customers to migrate from that legacy solution to our new solution.

Gardner: Andy, we have a question here from another user. They have a lot of ProLiant servers running Insight Remote Support today and they are purchasing some of the new ProLiant Gen8s. Will different versions of Insight Remote Support interact, and how so, how would that work?

Claiborne: A lot of you might have spent a lot of time and energy deploying our current generation of remote support tools and you're wondering what does it do to the mix when we add a Gen8 ProLiant.

First, if you're happy with your current set of features, you can monitor the Gen8 ProLiants with the current Insight Remote Support tools, just as you would with any other ProLiant using agents running on the operating system. If you want to get some of the benefits of the new HP Insight Online portal or use the baked-in firmware-enabled remote support features of the new Gen8 ProLiants, you would have to upgrade to the latest version of Insight Remote Support, and we’ve tried to make this as easy as possible. Today, we have Remote Support Standard and Remote Support Advanced.

Our next release of Remote Support, Version 7.0.5, will allow most Remote Support Standard customers and some Remote Support Advanced customers to upgrade automatically. We made this upgrade as seamless as possible. It should be hands-off. We will import all of your device data, credentials, site information, contact information, and event history, into our new tool.

Also, we’ve gone through extensive testing to make sure that, for example, if you had an Open Service event in your current Version 5 solution and you upgrade to Version 7, the service event will still be visible in your user interface and you’ll be able to get updates for it.

Hands-off upgrade

or the remainder of Remote Support Advanced customers, if you have mission-critical features -- you're monitoring like an XP Array or a dynamic smartcooling device, things like that -- support for those will come in the subsequent release, Version 7.1. With that, we will also implement a seamless hands-off comprehensive upgrade process.

Gardner: A user asks, Do I need a dedicated server to run Insight Remote Support?

Claiborne: If you're running Insight Remote Support, you have this hosting device in your environment that listens to events from all of your devices in the environment. That doesn't need to be a dedicated server and it doesn't need to be running on HP hardware either. You can run that on any computer that meets the minimum system requirements, and you can even run that on a VMware box.

We end up doing a lot of our testing in the lab in VMware systems, and we’ve realized that a lot of you out there are probably implementing VMware systems in your customer environments. So VMware is supported as well.

The one thing to remember, though, is that this box is the conduit for service events from your environment to HP. So you need to make sure that the box is available and turned on and that it's not a box that’s going to be accidentally powered off over the weekend or something like that.

Gardner: Back to Tommaso, and the question is, what is the difference between Insight Online and Insight Remote Support?

We’ve realized that a lot of you out there are probably implementing VMware systems in your customer environments. So VMware is supported as well.

Esmanech: That’s come up before. The easy way to describe these is that Insight Online is the Web access of Insight Remote Support. It's part of the entire support of the information ecosystem. While we do recognize that Insight Remote Support has a management console, where you can view events and view the devices, that's limited to access within the environment, within the VPN, and only to the few people that know how to manage the environment.

You also have to recognize that Insight Remote Support goes beyond just a management console. It has event correlation and it collects all the data. As Andy said, it's a conduit back to HP. The conduit back to HP leads to Insight Online. The way it is now, there are two systems, and they're part of the same ecosystem.

Gardner: Tommaso, you mentioned self-solve services. What are those, and what did you mean?

Esmanech: The term self-solve we define as those activities and capabilities for which a customer can find a solution of the problem by himself. For example, if you were going on a website for support, you're accessing that knowledge base, finding articles and information on how to troubleshoot or solutions to the problem. If you were just loading drivers, it’d be component of self-solve.

By themselves, they're not services that we sell, but they're part of our services support portfolio. It's about doing business.

Some of the self-solve capabilities may be available to customers with contracts, versus customers who have a warranty, or or don't even have an HP device, but we give the customer the ability to solve problems by themselves.

Future direction

Gardner: Next one to you, Paddy. This is sort of a big question. They are asking, can you predict HP support automation's future direction for the next 10 years? Can you look at your crystal ball and tell us what people should expect in terms of some of the capabilities to come?

Medley: We're seeing a number of trends in the industry. We talked earlier about the converged infrastructure of storage, servers, and networks into single tabs and converged management of that environment.

We’re seeing a move to virtualization. Storage is continuing to grow at a pervasive rate, and hardware continues to become more and more reliable. So when you look at that backdrop, the future is different from the past, in terms of service and service need. We’re seeing this greater need for interoperability, management, revision, configuration management, and for areas like performance and security.

In other words, we're also seeing a move to greater needs that are proactive, as well as reactive, service support. The beauty of the Insight Online solution is that it provides us a framework to go along that path. It provides us the basic framework to provide remote event monitoring or reactive monitoring in the case of subsequent events occurring, and then getting those events back to HP, but also to deliver proactive service.

What we're doing with the solution here is that, as we collect configuration and event information from customer environments, that configuration and event information is securely transported back to HP. Parts are loaded into a database against a defined data model.

We’re bringing convergence of all the reference data associated with the products that we support and then providing a set of analytics that analyze that collected data.

We’re bringing convergence of all the reference data associated with the products that we support and then providing a set of analytics that analyze that collected data against that reference data, producing recommendations and actions and events management. In fact, aggregation and that ability to do that in that aggregated back end, that’s really providing us, we see, with a key differentiator.

And then, all of that information is presented through the Insight Online portal, along with our knowledge bases, forums, and other reference data. So it's that whole aggregation that’s really the sweet spot with this overall solution.

Gardner: Well, that sounds very exciting. I'm afraid we’ll have to leave it there. A huge thanks to Tommaso Esmanech, Andy Claiborne and Paddy Medley.

I’d also like to thank you, our audience, for taking your time, and I hope this was helpful and useful for you. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Goodbye until next time until the next HP expert chat session.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect expert chat with HP on new frontiers in automated and remote support. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2012. All rights reserved.

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