Showing posts with label Instant-On Enterprise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Instant-On Enterprise. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Deep-Dive Discussion on HP's New Converged Infrastructure, EcoPOD and AppSystem Releases at Discover

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction HP Discover 2011 on how HP's converged infrastructure strategy supports data center transformation and applications modernization.

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

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect. Today we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas.

We’ll explore some major news around converged infrastructure and data center transformation, and learn how these strategic business goals of enterprises are more tightly aligned than ever to how IT infrastructure modernization takes root.

Until fairly recently, large IT organizations were grappling with a lot of unknown unknowns when it comes to the rapidly shifting requirements for their infrastructure and facilities. There was a sizable risk of locking in too quickly or in adopting unproven technology -- and then paying a dear price later, either in wasted investments or ending up with insufficient resources.

But now, after a series of rapidly maturing trends around application types, cloud computing, mobility, and changing workforces, the proper IT requirements mix seems much clearer. In just the past few years, the definition of what a modern IT infrastructure needs and what it needs to do has finally come into focus. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We know, for example, that we’ll see most data centers converge their servers, storage, and network platforms intelligently. We know that we’ll see higher levels of virtualization across these platforms and more applications, and that, in turn, will support the adoption of hybrid and cloud models.

In just the past few years, the definition of what a modern IT infrastructure needs and what it needs to do has finally come into focus.

We’ll surely see more compute resources devoted to big data and business intelligence (BI) values that span ever more applications and data types. And of course, we’ll need to support far more mobile devices and distributed, IT-savvy workers.

There is no longer a lot of risk in describing the quintessential data center of today and tomorrow and in recognizing that it will need to be highly energy efficient, automated, flexible, and modular. It will need to scale up and down and to adapt without complexity, delay, or undue waste.

How well companies modernize and transform these strategic and foundational IT resources will then hugely impact their success and managing their own agile growth and in controlling ongoing costs and margins. Indeed the mingling of IT success and business success is clearly inevitable.

So, now comes the actual journey. At HP Discover, the news is largely about making the inevitable future happen more safely by being able to transform the IT that supports businesses in all of their computing needs for the coming decade. IT executives must execute rapidly now to manage how the future impacts them and to make rapid change an opportunity, not an adversary.

How to execute

We're here with a panel of HP executives to explore the how -- no longer dwelling on the why or when -- to best execute on converged infrastructure and data center transformation. Please join me now in welcoming our panel, Helen Tang, Solutions Lead for Data Center Transformation and Converged Infrastructure Solutions for HP Enterprise Business. Welcome, Helen.

Helen Tang: Thanks, Dana. Great to be here.

Gardner: We are also here with Jon Mormile, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for Performance-Optimized Data Centers in HP's Enterprise Storage Servers and Networking (ESSN) group within HP Enterprise Business. Welcome, Jon.

Jon Mormile: Thanks, Dana. Glad to be here.

Gardner: And, we're here with Jason Newton, Manager of Announcements and Events for HP ESSN. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Newton: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, Brad Parks, Converged Infrastructure Strategist for HP Storage in the HP ESSN organization. Welcome, Brad.

Brad Parks: Thanks. Glad to be here.

Gardner: Helen, let me start with you. You've been looking at these trends, and we’ve summed up a little bit of the urgency, but also the clarity when it comes to what’s needed. You’ve done additional research leading up to the Discover conference here in Las Vegas. What are some of the findings, and how are the trends from your perspective coming together to make this IT transformation inevitable?

Tang: Last year, HP rolled out this concept of the Instant-On Enterprise, and it’s really about the fact that we all live in a very much instant-on world today. Everybody demands instant gratification, and to deliver that and meet other constituent’s needs, an enterprise really needs to become more agile and innovative, so they can scale up and down dynamically to meet these demands.

In order to get answers straight from our customers on how they feel about the state of agility in their enterprise, we contracted with an outside agency and conducted a survey earlier this year with over 3,000 enterprise executives. These were CEOs, CIOs, CFOs across North America, Europe, and Asia, and the findings were pretty interesting.

Essentially, there were three buckets of questions asked in the survey titled "The State of Enterprise Agility." The first set of question was, "How important do you believe agility is in the enterprise?" Not surprisingly, over 95 percent of respondents said, it's very critical. It’s important to their overall enterprise success, not just in IT.

The second bucket question was, "If that’s the case, how agile do you feel your current organization is?" Less than 40 percent of our respondents said, "I think we are doing okay. I think we have enough agility in the organization to be able to meet these demands."

Not surprising

So the number is so low, but not very surprising to those of us who have worked in IT for a while. As you know, compared to other enterprise disciplines, IT is a little bit more pre-Industrial Revolution. It’s not a streamlined. It’s not a standardized. There's a long way to go. That clearly spells out a big opportunity for companies to work on that area and optimize for agility.

The last area or bucket of questions we asked was, "What do you think is going to change that? How do you think enterprises can increase their agility?" The top two responses coming back were about more innovative, newer applications.

But, the number one response coming from CEOs was that it’s transforming their technology environment. That’s precisely what HP believes. We think transforming that environment and by extension, converged infrastructure, is the fastest path towards not only enterprise agility, but also enterprise success.

Gardner: Let’s look at some of the news. There are various parts, and they are related. If we take them into certain order, I think we can then look at why this whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Let’s start with Brad Parks. Looking at the Storage Foundation, HP Storage, tell me how we got here. Why has storage been, in fact, fractured, difficult to manage, and quite expensive. And then, what have we done now here at Discover to help bring that together and make that part of a larger converged infrastructure?

Parks: A couple of years ago, HP took a step back from the current trajectory that we were on as a storage business and the trajectory that the storage industry as a whole was on. We took a look at some of the big trends and problems that we were starting to hear from customers around virtualization or on the move to cloud computing, this concept of really big everything.

We’re talking about data, numbers of objects, size, performance requirements, just everything at massive, massive scale. When we took a look at those trends, we saw that we were really approaching a systemic failure of the storage that was out there in the data center.

The challenge is that most of the storage deployed out in the data center today was architected about 20 years ago for a whole different set of data-center needs, and when you couple that with these emerging trends, the current options at that time were just too expensive.

They were too complicated at massive scale and they were too isolated, because 20 years ago, when those solutions were designed, storage was its own element of the infrastructure. Servers were managed separately. Networking was managed separately, and while that was optimized for the problems of the day, it in turn created problems that today’s data centers are really dealing with.

Thinking about that trajectory, we decided to take a different path. Over the last two years, we’ve spent literally billions of dollars through internal innovation, as well as some external acquisitions, to put together a portfolio that was much better suited to address today’s trends.

Common standard

t the event here, we're talking about HP Converged Storage, and this addresses some of the gaps that we’ve seen in the legacy monolithic and even the legacy unified storage that’s out there. Converged Storage is built on a few main principles we're trying to drive towards common industry-standard hardware, building on ProLiant BladeSystem based DNA.

We want to drive a lot more agility into storage in the future by using modern Scale-Out software layers. And last, we need to make sure that storage is incorporated into the larger converged infrastructure and managed as part of a converged stack that spans servers and storage and network.

Gardner: Looking at some of the specifics, it seems as if cost is a big issue here. You've done a lot to bring cost down, going standard, and making utilization of storage more integrated into the other facets of the infrastructure. What sort of cost savings are we looking at, when you really do this well and when you look at it strategically?

Parks: There are really different aspects to cost, thinking about first capital expense. When we're able to design on industry-standard platforms like BladeSystem and ProLiant, we can take advantage of the massive supply chain that HP has and roll out solution that are much lower upfront cost point from a hardware perspective.

Second, using that software layer I mentioned, some of the technologies that we bring to bear are like thin provisioning, for example. This is a technology that helps customers cut their initial capacity requirements around 50 percent by just eliminating their over-provisioning that is associated with some of the legacy storage architectures.

One of the things we've seen and talk about with customers worldwide is that data just doesn't go away. It is around forever.

Then, operating expense is the other place where this really is expensive. That's where it helps to consolidating the management across servers and storage and networking, building in as much automation into the solutions as possible, and even making them self-managing.

For example, our 3PAR Storage solution, which is part of this converged stack, has autonomic management capabilities which, when we talk to our customers, has reduced some of their management overhead by about 90 percent. It's self-managing and can load balance, and because of its wide straightening architecture, it can respond to some of the unpredictable workloads in the data center, without requiring the administrative overhead.

Gardner: I suppose there's a bit of a catalytic effect, when you do the storage properly or with more of a modern architecture. You start to be able to move to a greater efficiencies in terms of the data lifecycle, managing data with an intelligent path in terms of where it's used and not used. Is there a larger role here for data that also plays into BI, at least addressing data as a lifecycle, rather than a problem asset?

Parks: One of the things we've seen and talk about with customers worldwide is that data just doesn't go away. It is around forever and that has contributed to this massive amount of data growth. So, one of the things we're looking at within HP Converged Storage portfolio is how do we not only help customers store that information -- for example, the ability to you have to look across up to 16 petabytes through a single pane of glass, that management view across that massive amount of information -- but how do they extract more value out of it.

Jason might talk a little bit more about the Vertica AppSystem solution, but within the storage domain, we're looking at building in intelligent search capabilities into these solutions and automated tiering to move data around either by physical location or physical tier to get more efficient and to extract more value out of that content.

Gardner: Let's now move to Jason Newton. Jason, tell about the big converged system’s portfolio news and perhaps a bit more about that AppSystem that was referenced by Brad.

Converged Infrastructure

Newton: We're really excited about this announcement. If you've heard anything from HP over the last few years, you've certainly heard a lot about the Converged Infrastructure and our strategy. In 2009, we started looking at the sprawl that customers were dealing with and the impact it was having on their business and environment. We saw that if you look ahead 5 or 10 years, convergence is a dominant trend.

That's the direction that things were going. We felt like we were in a great position as HP to be the ones to deliver on a promise of converging server, storage, network, management, security application all into individual solutions.

So, 2009 was about articulating the definition of what that should look like and what that data center in the future should be. Last year, we spent a lot of time in new innovations in blades and mission-critical computing and strategic acquisitions around storage, network, and other places.

The result last year was what we believe is one of the most complete portfolios from a single vendor in marketplace to deliver converged infrastructure. Now, what we’re doing in 2011 is building on that to bring all that together and simplify that into integrated solutions and extending that strategy all the way out to the application.

If we look at what kind of applications customers are deploying today and the ways that they’re deploying them, we see three dominant new models that are coming to bear. One is applications in a virtualized environment and on virtual machines and that have got very specific requirements and demands for performance and concerns about security, etc.

Security concerns also require new demands on capacity and resource planning, on automation, and orchestration of all the bits and bytes of the application and the infrastructure.

We see a lot of acceleration and interest in applications delivered as a service via cloud. Security concerns also require new demands on capacity and resource planning, on automation, and orchestration of all the bits and bytes of the application and the infrastructure.

The third way that we wanted to address was a dedicated application environment. These are data warehousing, analytics types of workloads, and collaboration workloads, where performance is really critical, and you want that not on shared resources, but in a dedicated way. But, you also want to make sure that that is supporting applications in a cloud or virtual environment.

So in 2011, it's about how to bring that portfolio together in the solution to solve those three problems. The key thing is that we didn't want to extend sprawl and continue the problem that’s still out there in the marketplace. We wanted to do all that on one common architecture, one common management model, and one common security model.

If you look at this trend toward integration and convergence, and you see some of the answers out there in the marketplace, you’ll see, for example, unique architectural stacks dedicated to a data warehouse environment or a BI environment. Then, you’ll see a completely different physical and software architecture for a virtual environment.

Then, if you look at cloud, you see a whole other island of different tools, different parts, different pieces. With our converged infrastructure strategy, we had the opportunity to do something really special here.

Individual Solutions

What if we could take that common architecture management security model, optimize it, integrate it into individual solutions for those three different application sets and do it on the stuff that customers are already using in the legacy application environment today and they could have something really special?

What we’re announcing today at Discover is this new portfolio we called Converged Systems. For that virtual workload, we have VirtualSystems or the dedicated application environment, specifically BI, and data management and information management. We have the AppSystems portfolio. Then, for where most customers want to go in the next few years, cloud, we announced the CloudSystem.

So, those are three portfolios, where common architecture addresses a complete continuum of customer’s application demands. What's unique here is doing that in a common way and being built on some of the best-of-breed technologies on the planet for virtualization, cloud, high performance BI, and analytical applications.

Gardner: This is an example where truly converged infrastructure has now gotten us to the level where we’re looking at not quite business process, but certainly a solution set and some very powerful capabilities now being executed on at that level.

Let's just quickly dig into one of those levels because it intrigued me. It was from the Vertica acquisition. We now, basically have a data warehouse, big data, real-time crunching capability, and a modern architecture designed just for that, but placed on the converged infrastructure. Tell me why that’s important and why that could be a game changer when it comes to analytics?

With the demands of big everything, the speed and scale at which the economy is moving the business, and competition is moving, you've got to have this stuff in real-time.

Newton: There are a couple of things. You hit on two points there. One is Vertica software, in and of itself. The architecture is one of the most modern architectures out there today to handle the analytics in real time.

Before, analytics in a traditional BI data warehouse environment was about reporting. Call up the IT manager, give them some criteria. They go back and do their wizardry and come back with sort of a status report, and it's just looking at the dataset that’s in one of the data stores he is looking.

It sort of worked, I guess, back when you didn’t need to have that answer tomorrow or next week. You could just wait till the next quarterly review. With the demands of big everything, as Brad was speaking of, the speed and scale at which the economy is moving the business, and competition is moving, you've got to have this stuff in real-time.

So we said, "Let’s go make a strategic acquisition. Let’s get the best-in-class, real-time analytics, a modern architecture that does just that and does it extremely well. And then, let’s combine that with the best hardware underneath that with HP Converged Infrastructure, so that customers can very easily and quickly bring that capability into their environment and apply it in a variety of different ways, whether in individual departments or across the enterprise.

Real-time analytics

There are endless possibilities of ways that you can take advantage of real-time analytics with this solution. Including it into AppSystem makes it very easy to consume, bring it into the environment, get it up and running, start connecting the data sources literally in minutes, and start running queries and getting answers back in literally seconds.

What’s special about this approach is that most analytic tools today are part of a larger data warehouse or BI-centered architecture. Our argument is that in the future of this big everything thing that’s going on, where information is everywhere, you can’t just rely on the data sources inside your enterprise. You’ve got to be able to pull sources from everywhere.

In buying a a monolithic, one-size-fits-all OLTP, data warehousing, and a little bit of analytics, you're sacrificing that real-time aspect that you need. So keep the OLTP environment, keep the data warehouse environment, bring in its best in class real-time analytic on top of it, and give your business very quickly some very powerful capabilities to help make better business decisions much faster.

Gardner: Very good. Jon Mormile, tell me a bit now how these developments we’ve heard from Brad and Jason now come together and are supported by the news around the data center transformation here at Discover.

Mormile: Thanks, Dana. First of all, when you talk about today’s data centers, most of them were built 10 years ago and actually a lot of our analyst’s research talks about how they were built almost 14-15 years ago. These antiquated data centers simply can’t support the infrastructure that today’s IT and businesses require. They are extremely inefficient. More of them require two to three times the amount of power to run the IT, due to inefficient cooling and power distribution systems.

These antiquated data centers simply can’t support the infrastructure that today’s IT and businesses require. They are extremely inefficient.

In addition to these systems, these monolithic data centers are typically over-provisioned and underutilized. Because most companies cannot build new facilities all the time and continually, they have to forecast future capacity and infrastructure requirements that are typically outdated before the data centers are even commissioned.

A lot of our customers are facing similar challenges. As I mentioned, we're talking about the ability to accommodate today’s IT, and there's the lack of scalability. But, they also have other driving factors that are affecting your businesses, such as the ability to build scalar facilities quickly.

They need to reduce construction cost, as well as operational expenses. This places a huge strain on companies' resources and their bottom lines. By not changing their data center strategy, businesses are throttled and simply just can’t compete in today’s aggressive marketplace.

Gardner: What are you doing to help them with that? What’s coming out? I'm intrigued by the EcoPOD, but there is more to it than that.

Mormile: As I mentioned, for some of these challenges that customers are facing today, HP absolutely has a solution. It’s basically surrounding our modular computing portfolio and it helps to solve these problems.

Modular computing

Our modular computing portfolio started about three years ago, when we first took a look at and modified an actual shipping container, turning it into a Performance Optimized Data Center (POD).

This was followed by continuous innovation in the space with new POD designs, the deployment of our POD-Works facility, which is the world’s first assembly line data centers, the addition of flexible data center product, and today, with our newest edition, the POD 240A, which gives all the benefits of a container data center without sacrificing traditional data center look and feel.

Also, with the acquisition of EYP, which is now HP Critical Facilities Services, and utilizing HP Technical Services, we are able to offer a true end-to-end data center solution from planning and installation of the IT and the optimized infrastructure go with it, to onsite maintenance and onsite support globally.

Gardner: So, we really have a continuum here. We're talking about AppSystems, where we've got appliances running specific apps, some of the Microsoft SQL databases, some of the SAP, ERP implementations, and then we are going in a concerted fashion down into the infrastructure, talking about virtualization, and then right into the facilities, where we have these PODs and modular approaches with efficiencies built in for cooling and energy conservation.

It's sort of end-to-end, but what’s fascinating to me, and I'd like your take on this, Jon, is that it doesn’t have to be adopted all at once. This is something that you have many different entry points.

You're talking about taking that IT and those innovations and then taking it to the next level.

Depending on the specifics of your enterprise, your service provider, whatever stage of development and maturity you are at, there is a way for you to jump on board, but at least you can start taking action. That, I think, is the key here. Jon, can you speak about the ability to jump in at any point, but still makes a significant progress?

Mormile: That’s basically the whole basis of a modular computing portfolio and converged infrastructure. HP can deliver the server, storage, and networking solution. We actually offer these solutions to 8 out of the 10 leading social media companies.

When you combine in-house rack and power engineering, delivering finely tuned solutions to meet customers’ growing power and rack needs, it all comes together. You're talking about taking that IT and those innovations and then taking it to the next level as far as integrating that into a turnkey solution, which should actually be a POD or modular data center product.

You take the POD, and then you talk about the Factory Express services where we are actually able to take the IT integrate it into a POD, where you have the server, storage, and networking. You have integrated applications, and you've cabled and tested it.

The final step in the POD process is not only that we're providing Factory Express services, but we're also providing POD-Works. At POD-Works, we take the integrated racks that will be installed in the PODs and we provide power, networking, as well as chilled water and cooling to that, so that every aspect of the turnkey data center solution is pre-configured and pre-tested. This way, customers will have a fully integrated data center shipped to them. All they need to do is plug-in the power, networking, and/or add chilled water to that.

Game changer

eing able to have a complete data center on site up and running in a little as six weeks is a tremendous game changer in the business, allowing customers to be more agile and more flexible, not only with their IT infrastructure needs, but also with their capital and operational expense.

When you bring all that together, PODs offer customers the ability to deploy fully integrated, high performing, efficient scalable data centers at somewhere around a quarter of the cost and up to 95 percent more efficient, all the while doing this 88 percent faster than they can with traditional brick and mortar data center strategies.

Gardner: Jason, going to you now, pretty much the same question. We have this comprehensive ability. We have a much more rapid physical plant capability. This now allows for people to come in at different points in their maturity, but still have a roadmap or vision of how to get to a converged infrastructure, a transformed data center. What’s the process that you encounter at that AppSystem level, where people can get involved quickly? What would you recommend that they do first?

Newton: That depends on the customer. The whole point of the Converged System portfolio is that if you like the concept of a converged infrastructure and you want to get there, we have a very simple, flexible, optimized answer for you, for workload, virtual cloud, and dedicated application environment.

As to where a customer can start, go back and look at what your business priorities are, and your level of maturity. We've got quite a few experts that will sit down to talk to you and assess where you are in that continuum. The best place to start is what is your business asking for and what are the problems that you're trying to solve? What are the outcomes? What can you deliver? That's the place to go.

The best place to start is what is your business asking for and what are the problems that you're trying to solve? What are the outcomes? What can you deliver?

A reason someone would be looking at apps is because someone in the business is saying, "I need to make much better decisions much faster." Maybe it's supply chain decisions or it could be something in retail. Or, "I need to do some better financial analysis or make better offers to my banking customers. And, I need something much more powerful than just the data that I have, and we need to do it very quickly."

I would say to look at a Vertica real-time analytic system or a data warehouse solution that we've co-developed in Microsoft. That would be a perfect place to start. The good news is that if your next priority, after getting that software in the business, is you get that virtual environment more cleaned up and running more efficiently, more optimized and simplified in terms of management, VirtualSystem would be your next step.

If you're already doing a lot of virtualization today with HP on BladeSystem, on 3PAR, or on our LeftHand technology, I would say to build on that same architecture, keep all that in place, and upgrade that to a complete CloudSystem environment.

There are a lot of entry points. It really depends on the business priority at what you are trying to do. The good news of this approach is that you can come in at any point and you can scale and and extend and know that when you solve those different application needs, you're going to be doing it in a common way, not sacrificing best of class.

Gardner: We should also point out, Jason, that at Discover here we're seeing a lot of professional services and support announcements as well that dovetail and supplement these other announcements. Maybe you could give us a very quick recap of where the professional services kick in, and perhaps that's also a starting point.

Start services

Newton: You're right. There is a multitude of those at this show. We have some new professional services. I call them start services. We have an AppStart, a CloudStart, and a VirtualStart service. These are the services, where we can engage with the customer, sit down, and assess their level of maturity -- what they have in place, what their goals are.

These services are designed to get each of these systems into the environment, integrated into what you have, optimized for your goals and your priorities, and get this up and running in days or weeks, versus months and years that that process would have taken in the past for building and integrating it. We do that very quickly and simply for the customer.

We have got a lot of expertise in these areas that we've been building on the last 20 years. Just like we're doing on the hardware-software application side simplifications, these start services do the same thing. That extends to HP Solutions support, which then kicks in and helps you support that solution across that lifecycle.

There is a whole lot more, but those are two really key ones that customers are excited about this week.

Gardner: Brad Parks, you've been hearing from Jason and Jon. They supplement and support what you are doing in storage. But, when it comes to getting started, do you have any recommendations, whether it's professional services or some sort of a path or model for working the storage transformation and modernization process into these other larger activities around, AppSystems and facilities?

The combination of our portfolio and our expertise is really going to help our customers drive that success and embrace convergence.

Parks: The approach is very consistent across the board. Converged Storage is a foundational building block that is materialized inside the VirtualSystem, CloudSystem, and AppSystem, those internal part of that larger converged data center that Jon talked about. Along that way, you can have different entry points ,and we certainly have a full set of services to help people get started.

One of the things that we announced this week is the Technology Services Organization. HP recently did a complete reinvention of their consulting portfolio.

As we've seen customers trying to modernize their storage infrastructure and take advantage of some of these converged storage trends, they have responded with a set of workshops, start services, to get people down that path, as well as enterprise services for those customers who are looking to start to bridge between internal IT and cloud environments that might be hosted externally. Our HP 3PAR Utility Storage platform is now a standard offering as an outsourced storage service within enterprise services.

Last, we know that internal IT folks have to upscale and continually learn these new technologies, so that they can feed those back into their business. HP ExpertONE has recently come out with a full set of training and certification courseware to help our channel partners, as well as internal IT folks that are customers, to learn about these new storage elements and to learn how they can take these architectures and help transform their information management processes.

Gardner: Let's go to Helen Tang for the last word today. Helen, based on the research that you’ve conducted and the fact that we have these large trends, some organizations are working towards cloud-computing models, for example, more rapidly than others. Some organizations focus just on converting apps and modernizing them, or perhaps adopting appliance models.

These services are designed to get each of these systems into the environment, integrated into what you have, optimized for your goals and your priorities, and get this up and running in days or weeks.

What is it about the research and the fact that there are so many different ways the organizations need to react rather to these trends that makes sort of the über view of what's been announced this week such a good fit?

Tang: Clearly, ever since HP launched our Converged Infrastructure strategy and portfolio in 2009, we’ve seen great traction among the analyst community, and more importantly, our customers. We’ve helped over 1,000 customers on different stages of this journey, taking their existing data center environments and transforming them, so they can embrace convergence and be able to maximize the enterprise agility that we talked about earlier.

This set of announcements that we’re talking about in the show this week, and hopefully, for the remainder of this year, are significant additions in each of their own markets, having the potential to transform, for example, storage, shaking up an industry that’s been pretty static for the last 20 years by offering completely new architecture design for the world we live in today.

That’s the kind of innovation we’ll drive across the board with our customers and everybody that talked before me has talked about the service offering that we also bring along with these new product announcements. I think that’s key. The combination of our portfolio and our expertise is really going to help our customers drive that success and embrace convergence.

Gardner: Very good. You’ve been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with the HP Discover 2011 Conference on some major news around Converged Infrastructure and data center transformation. There is lots more information available through the various landing pages, and press reports on these events this week.

I’d like to thank our guests for adding some more context, depth, and analysis. We’ve been joined by Helen Tang, Solutions Lead for Data Center Transformation and Converged Infrastructure Solutions. We’ve also been joined by Jon Mormile, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for Performance-Optimized Data Centers And, Jason Newton, Manager of Announcements and Events for HP ESSN, and as well as Brad Parks, Converged Infrastructure Strategist for HP Storage. Thanks to you all.

This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks also to our listeners, and come back next time.

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

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction HP Discover 2011 on how HP's converged infrastructure strategy supports data center transformation and applications modernization. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hastening Trends Around Cloud, Mobile Push Application Transformation as Priority, Says Research

Edited transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on converging forces compelling enterprises to take a close look at their application portfolios.

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

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the fast-moving trends supporting the rationale for application transformation. We will see how these same trends are pointing to a deeper payoff from the well-managed embrace of hybrid computing models.

An added requirement for application transformation is to make them available more securely, even in these hybrid implementations, while adding automation and governance features across their entire service lifecycle. We also have some new research that describes how top level enterprise executives are reacting to these fast-moving trends, buffeting nearly all global businesses. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Lastly, we'll examine some new products and services from HP designed to help companies move safely, yet directly, to transform their applications, improve their hosting options, and free up resources that can be used to provide the innovation needed to support better business processes. It's and the support of business processes, after all, that’s the real goal of these activities.

I'm here with an HP application transformation expert to dig into the new research and to better understand HP’s response to these market and technology shifts. Please join me now in welcoming Paul Evans, Worldwide Lead for Application Transformation for HP Enterprise Business. Welcome back, Paul.

Paul Evans: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Let's dig into these some of these trends. We're looking at things that are moving very rapidly. We have some mega trends. We're looking at new business models. We're still digging our way out of a very deep recession. Paul, give me the landscape, if you will, of what’s going on and why now is such an opportune time to look at applications.

Evans: We see three mega trends, and we validate this with customers. We haven’t just made these up. And, the three mega trends really come down to firstly that people are evolving their business models.

When you get recessionary periods, hyper growth in particular markets, and the injection of new technologies, people look at how to make money and how to save money. They look at their business model and see they can make a change there. Of course, if you change the business model, then that means you change the business process. If you change the business process, the digital expression of a business process is an application. So, people need to change their apps.

So, you change your model and the process and need to change your app, because for most people now, the app is pretty much the digital expression of their business. For many of us, when we go online or do some form of transaction, at the end of the day, it’s an app that is authenticating this, validating the transaction, making the transaction, whatever it may be. That’s one mega trend we see happening.

The second mega trend is that technology innovation just keeps on going, whether it’s the infusion of cloud architectures that people are looking towards, or the whole mega trend around mobile connectivity. That is a game changer in their mind. It’s a radical transformational time for applications, as they accommodate and exploit those technologies.

No precedent

Some people just accommodate them and say, "Okay, we can do things better, maybe less expensively. We can be more innovative, more flexible in this way, or maybe we can do things differently. Maybe we can do things like we have never ever done them before."

I don’t believe there's any precedent for the mobile evolution that we're going to see coming towards us through smartphones, pads, or whatever it may be.

We can't look back over our shoulder and say, "What we did five years ago we'll just do that again, and it will be wonderful." I don’t think there is any precedent here. There is an opportunity for people to do some really innovative things.

Third, it’s the whole nature of the changing workforce. The expectations of people that are joining with the community every day on the net is very different from the people at the other end of the spectrum and their experience.

When we look at young people joining the net and when we look at young people coming into the workforce, their expectation is very high in terms of what they want, what they need, and what they would like to achieve. This is in terms of the tools they utilize, whether it’s social networking, whether it’s just the fact that their view is that they are sort of always on the network, whether it’s through their mobile or whether it’s through their notebook or whatever device they use.

When we look at young people joining the net and when we look at young people coming into the workforce, their expectation is very high.

They're always on, and therefore the expectations of those people who are going to be with us now for the next 60-70 years is starting from a position of, we have always known the web, we have always liked the web, we have always had the web. So their view is, we just want to see more of it and better. We want to see things as services rather than processes. The expectation of those people is also having a lot of effect. Those three mega trends affect the way that organizations have to respond.

Gardner: Applications, of course, have been very important for quite some time, whether the computing model was mainframe or client-server, or distributed web. What strikes me as different now, Paul, is that these applications are coming from different places, and we're using bits and pieces of applications to support processes and we need to have them accessible at any given time, hence your instant-on. We're looking at not only a shift in technology, but even the definition of an application is up for grabs. Would you agree with that?

Evans: Oh yeah, and this area is so close to my heart. There were days when you got most of your apps from the IT function, because they were central. So you got a window onto them. You got a device that allowed you to access them.

We went through the PC revolution and we all wandered off to the store on weekends and bought that shrink-wrapped software, which, of course, drove the IT function crazy, because then every desktop was different and we got support issues.

Then, you wanted a bigger PC because you were running more software, even though the IT function didn’t actually support the software. So, you had sort of anarchy breaking out. Then you had the response to the anarchy which was, "No, there will be a desktop. It will be this. It will have this suite of software. And, God forbid you put anything extra on it.

So, people did the obvious thing. Well, they said, okay, fine, we'll do it at home then. They built an environment at home that reflected their lifestyle, their wants, their preferences, their platforms, and apps.

Mobile platform

Then, the walls started to come down, because once we got into this whole notion of the mobile platform, people realized that they can sit at home and download apps, a lot of them for non-business purposes, games, or whatever, but a lot of them for data access, data manipulation, and data presentation.

So, there were a lot of guys sitting at home in the evening -- and when I say guys, I mean in the generic sense, male and female -- saying, "I can do this better. I can make this look nicer. I can do this processing on a device that I can just sit on my couch while watching the TV and do something with."

The whole expectation around the application is changing and I think it’s irreversible. We're not going to go backwards. We're going to keep on driving forward, because people like HP and others see the real value here. We're going to start to have a different approach to apps. It’s going to be more component driven and it’s not going to be monolithic.

We have to go away from the monolithic app anyway, because it’s not a flexible device. It's not something that easily delivers innovation and agility. People have already understood that the cost of maintaining those monolithic, legacy applications is not acceptable.

On the front side of that, there are people who say that the future holds great things. The future holds the ability for us to not only download apps, but maybe download components of apps. Whereas mashups today are in the realm of the more technically oriented, mashups are going to find their way into our everyday life.

The future holds the ability for us to not only download apps, but maybe download components of apps.

People do it today. They send an email to their friend and say, "By the way, if you want to come to my house, here is the link to the map with the driving direction." It’s a very simple mashup, but it's something that is very effective.

We're going to get far more sophisticated in how we do those things, and they'll be tailored to this whole notion of context awareness. So, they'll understand where they are and what they're doing. Things will change by virtue of the context of the person, where they're based or what device they are using.

I really get excited by the fact we're just starting down that road, and there is a lot of good stuff more to come.

Gardner: So, people are going to have the ability with their business processes, just as they do in their personal lives, to intercept and react to events, to data, and to changes. They're going to do this 24x7, based on what works for them or what’s important for those business processes.

It sounds like we’re into an instant-on enterprise always and forever. That's the vision. It seems inevitable. Many organizations are well into this, but it seems that CIOs are caught in the middle, if the expectations are high, but their capabilities are rooted in the past.

What's going on with these higher-level business executives who see and appreciate the vision and understand how this will benefit their business, but aren’t quite sure how to get there?

Blurring lines

Evans: You're right. You put it in a nutshell. In a way it's sad when we say our personal lives and our business lives are blurred into one. If I'm talking to a lot of customers at the same time, maybe I’ve got a regional audience, I'll ask how many people do email on their holiday? I never actually want to know the answer, because I know what the answer is going to be. About 95 percent of the hands go up.

So, do we ever switch off? The answer is probably no. Maybe we just switch off a little bit of the time, but this whole notion these days of always on, instant-on, or whatever is something that unfortunately is here to stay. We just have to be somewhat disciplined, sometimes saying that we don’t need to be on today. We could afford a day off.

If I'm a CIO or in senior leadership of any organization, I look one way and I see that the apps are actually running my business today or they’re making my profit, measuring my profit, measuring my revenue. Those apps have a real value, because they have embedded intellectual property that means something.

It's not a productivity app. Productivity apps are relatively straightforward, because you could get that from somewhere else. I could potentially get it at a different price, and we really do talk to our customers very hard about that.

We tell them to understand what's core to the business and understand what is productivity. Because if it's productivity, which is not going to give you any fundamental differentiation, then you really should be purchasing at the lowest possible price.

If you're looking at core applications, something that is fundamental to your business, they're not so easy to just move around.

You can look at an on-premise supply, you can look at off-premise, you can look at outsourcing or out-tasking, or you can look to the cloud. There are a lot more choices available to people who maybe could lower the cost, and that has a direct impact on the bottom line.

But, if you're looking at core applications, something that is fundamental to your business, they're not so easy to just move around. The CIO looks at those and say, "I’ve got this massive investment. What do I do?" Then, he swings around and sees the world of cloud and mobile heading towards them and says, "Now I'm challenged, because the CFO or CEO is telling me I need performance improvement, if I need to get into these new markets whatever it maybe."

At the same time, they needs to cut cost, be really innovative, and explore all these new technologies. He wants to understand what he's going to do with the old ones, which may take money and funding to achieve. At the same time, he wants to exploit and be innovative with the new. That’s a very difficult position to sit in the middle of and not feel the stretches and strains.

We sit with the CEOs on their side of the table and try and understand the balance of what business is looking to achieve, whether that would be improvement in product delivery or marketing and customer satisfaction. The things that people look to a technology group for and say, "Our website experience is losing its market share. Do something about it," that’s in the CIO’s regime. He looks around the other way and says, "But, I have got all these line of business guys that also want me to keep on making product or making whatever and I need to understand what I do with legacy."

So, we sit on their side of the table and say let's make a list, let's prioritize, let's understand some of the fundamentals of good business and your technology and come up with a list of actionable items. You got to have a plan that is not 12 months, because this is not a 12-month thing.

Gardner: You and I spoke recently about the pace here. We’ve seen the transitions over the past 15 or 20 years, but I don’t think either one of us has seen anything happen quite as rapidly as this mobile, cloud, data, and behavioral shift. They all reinforce one another. Now, you wanted to plumb into that and find out a bit more. So, you’ve done some research. Here in the spring of 2011, people understand that the stopwatch has been clicked, the time is ticking. What were some of your findings?

Fundamental audience

Evans: We actually went to the C-suite -- the CEO, CIO, and CFO -- and just tried to understand from them how they see things, because they are clearly a fundamental audience that we need to work with and understand their opinions and how their opinions have changed.

Two or three years ago, during the heavy economic times, cost was all it was all about. Take cost out. Take cost out. Don’t worry about the functionality; I need to take cost out. Now, that’s changed. We've seen, both from the public and the private sector, the view that we've got to be innovative. Innovation is going to be the way we keep ourselves different, keep ourselves alive the way we move forward.

A business requirement is that we need to innovate. If we stand still, we're probably going backwards. I know that sounds ridiculous, but you have do more than just keep up to speed. You've got to accelerate. And, we asked the C-suite if innovation therefore is important.

Ninety five percent of the people we talked to said innovation is key to the success of the organization. As I said, that was both public and private. Of course, the private sector would, but why would the public sector, because they don't have any competition? But, they are serving citizens who have expectations and want the same level of service that we see from a private organization in the public domain.

So, one, the audience said to us that innovation is key. Two, we didn’t see any massive difference between public and private. Then, we asked them how they relate innovation and technology. Basically, they told us that technology is the innovation engine. It is the thing that makes them innovative. They're going to have new products and new services, but whether the technology is involved in the front end or the back end of that, it’s involved. It’s not an administration function anymore. It's the life blood of what they do.

They told us that technology is the innovation engine. It is the thing that makes them innovative.

So it's not HP saying this. It's our customer saying to us that technology would be the engine that they will use to be innovative going forward. We told them, "Well, technology is a big thing. Are are we talking about mobiles? Are we talking about blade servers? What do you see?

Applications and software that derive more flexible process was the number one area where they would invest first, across all the audiences. So, their view was that they know there are lots of pieces for technology, but if they want to innovate, they see that applications and software is the vehicle that gets them there.

Gardner: They really want to see the expression of the technology and not to be so consumed with the technology itself.

Evans: As I said earlier, we use this term that technology is the digital expression of the business process. It is the business process, and we do it in a digital environment, in a digital fabric, you might say.

Actually, customers will say, "Do you agree with this or disagree with this? What do you think?" And we can give them any of our opinions to start with, but unanimously CEO, CFO, CIO came back and said that applications and software are what it's all about.

Focus on applications

There were three times more votes for that than the second place choice, which was to invest in more people. What it’s saying is that we could apply more people to our process, but way ahead of anything was that we've got to focus on applications in software.

Gardner: You're not going to succeed, if you can’t do that. How is HP responding to this? Now that you understand that their priorities are becoming more in tune with where you've seen the market going for some time, what is your response? What do you take back from that?

Evans: For a long time, it felt like we are bashing our head against a brick wall. We've seen that clients are spending 70-80 percent of their IT budgets on maintenance. The smart guys in the company look around and say that doesn't feel right.

Around 2005, internally, we had a new CIO, Randy Mott come on board. He looked around and clearly felt that there was room for improvement. Our IT costs were not great -- about four percent of revenue, which for an IT organization wasn’t bad. His view was that he could get it down to two, and could make it more flexible, more adaptive, more agile, and more innovative at the same time.

It’s a well-documented case study that HP went through this rationalization, this application portfolio. We went from 7,000 apps to 2,000. Then, we turn our attention to our customers and we see our customers struggling with the same thing.

Since the downturn, there's been a reawakening. Not only are you going to save money, but you're going to do more with less in terms of financials.

For the last year or two, we felt sometimes like an endangered species and banging our heads against the wall saying that we believe it’s the portfolio. Some people, although they appreciated the advice, sometimes ignored it. Maybe before the economic downturn, their view was that is was costing a lot of money, but they could afford a lot of money.

Since the downturn, there's been a reawakening. Not only are you going to save money, but you're going to do more with less in terms of financials. More importantly, you're going to have to get some differential innovation going.

If you look like anybody else, why is anyone going to come to you? If you're going to commoditize, some companies may not want to live in a commoditized environment. So, they need to be different. They need to have something special and treat their customers, products, or services in a different way.

We've been actively on this trail of wanting to help customers get hold of those portfolios, and, you might say, do a bit of spring cleaning. With the acquisition of EDS, we got a lot of people who not so much understood HP, but actually understood other than those environments, so that we could bridge that gap. When a customer says, "I'm running a mainframe. You probably don’t understand those," yes, we do.

What to keep

When a CIO says, "What do I do now? What do I go with? The bulk of my apps are running on the mainframe, and I have a funny feeling I don’t need to do that," we can have a joined-up conversation about how they can migrate from that environment and we understand the nuances. We don't just say to take everything is off the mainframe. We're not that naïve. We try to understand what they should keep, what they should change, and what they should retire.

Gardner: Paul, we've spoken a bit about a changed set of requirements here. It’s not just a matter of sloughing off old apps and it’s not just a matter of moving from one compute style to another. We're talking about transformation in terms of what applications actually are, where they come from internal clouds, on premises, or maybe from external clouds. But, we also need to make sure that we've got security and automation, otherwise it doesn’t scale. It becomes more chaotic, and we also need to govern across these different hosting environments.

So, it’s really a very substantial undertaking. How is it that these people don’t feel overwhelmed? What do you bring to them in terms of products and services that helps set the table rather than put them into a deep depression?

Evans: Well, there's nothing I can do about depression, but I’ll try. Anyone who's been keeping their eyes on HP for a while would have seen some significant investments, especially in the software area,, and this preceded the research where customers are telling us that apps and software are pretty important.

The investments in companies like ArcSight and Fortify have been there because, as they say in ice hockey terms, we're trying to predict where the puck is going to go, and we're trying to move towards where the puck will be, as opposed to where it is now.

We've been investing in acquisitions, but also investing in internal R&D, looking at the customer’s environment to see what things are really top of mind.

We've been investing in acquisitions, but also investing in internal R&D, looking at the customer’s environment to see what things are really top of mind. Effectively, we know this change is irreversible. The technology industry, whether you like it or not, never goes backwards.

As I heard on a television program, we are compelled to travel into the future. It’s not being corny. That’s what we're doing. We're looking at this, so the new range of products and services that we're bringing out are around several of those core areas.

One, is that people need to get a real good handle on what they've got. A lot of CIOs we meet and a lot of people we talk to the IT function will openly admit that they have a no clear idea what their portfolio looks like. They don’t know how much it’s costing them. They don’t know what the components are. They don’t know how well they're aligned for the business.

They don’t know what sort of technology underpinnings they've got and what sort of security level they're implementing. That sounds like a pretty terrible picture, but unfortunately it’s pretty much reality. There are definite clients we meet who do know, but they're pretty rare.

Gardner: That's what I find as well -- people really don't know what they’ve got.

Application portfolio management

Evans: You’ve to get your head around that first, because if you don't know what you’ve got, then how the hell can you move forward? So, we've invested a lot in Application Portfolio Management, a new software product, combined that with a whole portfolio of services to exploit it, which really gives people a very rich graphical environment and the ability to understand the portfolio and make decisions.

That's an area we're paying real attention to, because we believe that unless people get that clear line of sight on their sampled portfolio, they're going to have a challenge. Basically, we get a lot of questions. One is, "I've got an applications portfolio. What should I move to the cloud, assuming it’s private? Should I move all of it?" It's probably unlikely you're going to move everything to the cloud, because moving stuff like intellectual property may not be such a good idea.

This whole notion of where we've been in the past -- service-oriented architecture (SOA) and shared services -- is a real underpinning. Some people think SOA died. SOA did not die. It's actually one of the technological underpinnings for going forward in creating these shared services which we're going to be calling a cloud environment.

We tell people we can help them understand which apps are fit to go to the cloud and should go to the cloud. This is how we get them to the cloud. By the way, we'll also tell you the ones that shouldn't.

We get that question a lot. Of course, when you talk cloud, you invariably get people talking about the biggest excuse not to go to cloud, which is that it's not secure.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who know their way around certain bolt-ons, and have a way of infiltrating.

As I said, we're into irreversible change. We know there may be challenges, which is why the acquisition of companies like ArcSight and Fortify, and what we have brought out recently with the application securities in the product have really changed the rules on security, not to view this as a bolt on.

Anybody that is familiar with the notion of a stack knows we go from hardware at the bottom to application at the top with all the intermediate layers. We could bolt on a security enhancement to a piece of the stack with the view that we’ll stop you coming in.

Unfortunately, as you are aware, there are unscrupulous people who know their way around certain bolt-ons, and have a way of infiltrating. From reports in the press, it’s very clear about what can happen when they do. We've taken is a totally different approach.

Make security something that is inherent within the whole process. So that once you are through the gatekeeper, you can't just have a lot of fun and games inside the code. Once you are in, you're not going to get very far. Also, monitor this in real-time. Don't make this a static process, make it a dynamic process, so that you can dynamically see vulnerabilities and react to those in real-time.

So, it would be the software is saying that it's going to stop this, and stop us from having a problem. There's a big investment for us in this whole notion of security.

Gardner: The security cuts across these products. You’ve talked about an application portfolio management product. What else is coming out here in April?

Hybrid delivery

Evans: Well, obviously, this whole notion of hybrid delivery with the cloud, and looking at different models to deliver things. People are coming to us and saying that they have some productivity applications that maybe they shouldn't be running in an extremely expensive environment. We see a lot of people who run an app on a mainframe. We ask why, and the user responds because they always have. Maybe it's time that it didn’t.

If you're short of cash and trying to be innovative, why would you want to spend a whole truck of cash on something that you don't need to. Go and spend it on something you should.

We need to help people understand how they can migrate their productivity up. Microsoft Exchange is a good example. Big productivity -- messaging is a productivity. Yes, it helps people do what they do every day.

If I'm running Exchange, I can move this to a private cloud environment, still within my firewall. The biggest challenge everybody faces is . how do you provision for it? How much infrastructure do I need to give people the response they are looking for?

The point is how to separate environments that can smooth those peaks and troughs. We believe exchange services for private cloud is the way to do that.

Now, everyone runs out of processing power and everyone runs out of storage. I do every day, especially storage. But, the point is how to separate environments that can smooth those peaks and troughs. We believe exchange services for private cloud is the way to do that.

The flip side is that people that are using the Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) package. Maybe they don’t want to be in the CRM business. They want to build relationships with customers, want to understand who they are and
what they are. Maybe they don’t want to be in the whole provisioning business.

So, what we're offering is what we call Enterprise Cloud Services for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which says we will put this on our service. The customer just buys a service through the net and pays per usage. If they don’t use it, they don’t pay.

We're going to see a lot more of that style of hybrid delivery where you pay per use. What I want, I use, and I pay for. What I don’t want, I put it back. I don’t have to take any responsibility for infrastructure and storage and all the stuff that goes with it. I want to give that responsibility to someone else and get on with my core business.

Gardner: Let me make sure I understand. You're talking about Microsoft Exchange, email collaboration, personal information manager (PIM). These are very important and aren’t going away, but the way in which you utilize your resources might shift. I think you are saying it's a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, but not necessarily, purely a SaaS model. It’s kind of shared services -- consume as you need and then pay as you consume.

SaaS model

Evans: It’s a SaaS model and other options. There was a model once where everyone was on premises. Then, the whole notion of outsourcing came in, and people looked at that and felt it was pretty good. So, they went to outsourcing.

We believe that this whole notion will be called "hybrid delivery." It will be a mixture of all of them -- on premises, off premised, people running services inside their firewall as private clouds. It’s actually a public provision service where it will be provisioned for them outside their firewall and then they buy what they want.

Also, one of the components of the announcement we are bringing out is what we call Cloud Service Automation, which we're extremely proud of. This is really for the people who want to get a cloud service up and running, want to do it fast, and don’t want to have to spend the next two years playing computer scientist. They want to get up, running, provisioned, and out there.

It just shows the pace of this market. We brought version one of this product out in January. In April, we're bringing out the next version with a significant level of enhancement around provisioning and manageability, and 4000 scripts embedded. So, people can just assemble things.

Back to the question you asked me earlier about the way the apps are going, this is really assembling procedures where the customer wants to do and can through a drag-and-drop environment. Some people view that as nearly impossible.

This is what we call fundamental building blocks of people that are looking to deploy a cloud environment.

Cloud Service Automation runs on the cloud system, which is enabled by BladeSystem Matrix. What that’s doing is provisioning an infrastructure, giving people the choices of network components, upgrading systems, and their virtualization environment. All of this is through drag-and-drop. It's just staring at the screen and saying they want Linux on that, HP-UX on that, Windows on that, and a VMware on that, and then drop it on.

Then, taking applications again, they want a database here, and all of this by magic happens in the background. And then the real clever bit will provision this for 10,000 transactions an hour. All of a sudden, they hit 11,000 transactions. Now, what happens? We can already program it so that, if we hit 11,000, we're going to burst out and go to another service provider, who we trust, that will take that peak loading. When the peak loading is complete, it will return back into the original environment.

So this is what we call fundamental building blocks of people that are looking to deploy a cloud environment.

Gardner: This sounds exciting, because we're giving people really what they want, which is the ability to be flexible. We are giving the architect the role of deciding how systems work, rather than the administrator, but you are also targeting some very important application sets, collaboration and communication and then CRM.

But if this works for those two application sets, it should work for others. So, I assume that this is just the beginning in terms of the applications you are going to be giving the same treatment?

Irreversible change

Evans: Well, I think we can blue sky it out and say that this is the way it’s going to be. As I said, irreversible change, compelled to travel in the future, all that. But, there is some real sort of down to earth tactical things you’ve got to think about.

Take for example, the client environment. We’ve talked a lot about the server, but the client world is changing at a high speed by virtue of people’s desire to use devices that are not chained to the desk anymore -- whether that’s more portable, notebook type machines, smartphones, pads or whatever. You’ve also got to take into account the fact that there are a lot of enterprise applications that you still use on traditional desktop PCs. You can't ignore those and should not.

A year after launching, about 13 percent of the Windows XP base moved to Windows Vista. So, the bulk of the market stayed with XP for whatever reason. Now,. they're saying they need to make that move, but some of these desktop apps are pretty sophisticated. This is not just simple productivity stuff. This is a part of the enterprise portfolio. Therefore, they also need to get worried about it big time and fairly quickly.

So what we’ve done for our customers is to look at their volume, their desktop environment, and come up with what apps they've got, what they do, are they useful, do they need all of them, could they get rid of some? The ones they want to move forward, do they need to change? Obviously, there are functional differences between XP and Windows 7.

We know all the gotchas. When you’ve used the special feature inside XP, we know how that will translate to Windows 7.

We’ve got some background in this. We’ve got some skills. We’ve actually set up a factory environment, because we think this is a volume thing. This is not ones and twos. This is volume.

By virtue of our knowledge and experience we can give you a very good return on your investment because we know all of the differences. We know all the gotchas. When you’ve used the special feature inside XP, we know how that will translate to Windows 7.

By the way, we can also tell you some things in Windows 7 that you maybe want to use, because that could make your environment more secure, more robust, more whatever. So we’re setting that up as a piece of our application transformation portfolio. As I said, it's not just the client world, but it's the server world as well.

Gardner: How about some examples? Do you have any folks that have been doing this already, that are deploying in this fashion, leveraging for innovation, transforming applications, targeting certain apps and then taking them to a hybrid model? Tell me a little bit about them and what the payoffs are? It's still perhaps a little hypothetical to say if you do this, you get blank, but what's actually happening on the street?

Evans: We’ve actually set up a new program called The Re-Inventors. These are people who have taken a position that innovation is what it's about. The status-quo is not going to get them to where they're going to be. Our first re-inventor came from DreamWorks and talks about the exploitation of fundamental technologies from HP.

Public sector

he second re-inventor we’re announcing is the Flemish Government. Although they're in the public sector, their view was that they cannot continue with paper-based processes. They're inaccurate, inefficient, and ineffective. We’re promoting that as a part of our re-inventors program who demonstrated that they took a very much a paper-based environment and put it into the digital world. They used the digital expression, and are providing a level of service to their citizens that is second to none.

As I said, there is always this view that the public sector has no competition, so why do they have to do this, but they do. If people have the right motivations, and a sense of service, deploying the digitally-based solutions, rather than manual, is absolutely the way to go. That’s what we’re talking about in terms of this new re-inventors program and specifically the Flemish Government.

Gardner: For those folks who have not yet taken the plunge, but see the writing on the wall, how does one get started? How can we learn more about the research that you’ve done and some of the findings and also some of these products that you run out during April.

Evans: People just need to get to their heads around it, because we appreciate it. There are some big questions to answer. We don’t trivialize this. This is not a game. This is serious. Serious problems need serious people to respond.

We have our traditional URL, which is relatively simple, There, you can then go off and explore things that will interest you.

This is not a game. This is serious. Serious problems need serious people to respond.

At a higher level, if people are interested in this whole Re-inventors Program, we have another URL which may be an even better starting point -- There you can learn about the Re-inventors Program, whether app trends, hybrid delivery, or whatever. It's meant to be a resource pool, where you can just sit down and say, "I'm interested in this. Can I find the persons in the same industry as me doing this. Can I go and read about that?"

In the application transformation space as, we set up a TV channel on what we call HP TV. There is a link on the website. You can listen to HP material. You can listen to customers -- the Italian Ministry of Education or the New York Stock Exchange, among others. You can hear Gartner analysts talk about the future of applications, what this whole notion of context-aware or cloud or mobility means. Massimo Pezzini from Gartner is on there talking about that.

We're saying to people that we're trying to help. If they want more, they can come and tell us, whether it's the whole program, which is this whole instant-on program, or whether it’s dropping down into any one of the solution areas like app transformation.

It tells people not only that here’s HP and this is what we do, but we also believe people need some context. It's not only HP, but I want to understand what other people think. We're trying to create that sort of pull. So, we have a link on the CIO Magazine for people who want to join a community.

We're just trying to help people see that this is really important. We have been sort of screaming and shouting for the last year or two, and we believe that people are really onto this now. HP has a role to play in pointing people in the right direction.

Gardner: Thank you Paul. We've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on the fast moving trends and some new product supporting the need for application transformation and leveraging hybrid computing models. I want to thank our guest. We've been here with Paul Evans, Worldwide Lead for Application Transformation for HP Enterprise Business. Thanks so much, Paul.

Evans: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listening and come back next time.

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

Edited transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on converging forces compelling enterprises to take a close look at their application portfolios. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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