Last week, HP announced the ProLiant Gen8 server line and the overarching Project Voyager initiative (see Wikibon and SiliconAngle’s full coverage here). While HP is the #1 server vendor, with over fifty percent marketshare, it has been under attack from Cisco’s UCS and converged solutions (through partnerships with NetApp and EMC/VCE). Convergence is about driving greater efficiency and application integration. HP spent over two years and $300M of investment on Project Voyager and this delivers on a broad range of enhancements that position HP well in the battle for convergence.
While virtualization is a significant piece of next-generation architectures, and HP has strong relationships and solutions with all of the virtualization vendors (Microsoft, VMware, Citrix), HP’s Project Voyager offers solutions that build intelligence directly into the hardware, thus being OS and hypervisor agnostic. One of these is a “3-D Sea of Sensors” which provides real-time data on location, power, workload and temperature. When partnered with HP software and racks, operations managers are given more data and tools to drive even greater efficiencies out of an entire data center while further reducing planned and unplanned downtime.
ProLiant Gen8 is built on standard x86 architecture and ship date is scheduled for March, which could line up with the next generation Intel chip. Beyond a next-generation chipset, applications will get a big boost from HP moving the new architecture exclusively to solid-state. HP’s server group has a good track record of working with flash, including solutions that it has through a partnership with Fusion-io and the new solid-state deployments of ProLiant Gen8 give it a step ahead converged stack architectures from Cisco which have not yet have flash (although it is expected soon).
In the video below, HP’s Jim Ganthier discusses the three projects (Moonshot, Odyssey and Voyager) change the converged infrastructure discussion. The architecture covers not only the full end-to-end solution, but also the entire lifecycle of a deployment.
The ultimate goal of converged infrastructure is to help IT organizations move from simply keeping up with the challenges of keeping existing environments running and move towards developing new applications and investing in innovation – Ganthier laid down the audacious goal of flipping the 70/30 operations/innovation investment on its head. HP has demonstrated significant attention to many small details that have the opportunity to simplify and automate many tasks for the server administrator. This does not eliminate the need for server administrators, but will allow for more focus on applications, virtualization and innovation. HP’s new Projects including Voyager are multi-year initiatives, so it will take time to see how these strategies translate into real-world environments. That being said, HP has a strong portfolio and is ready to fight for the next-generation of deployments in the converged infrastructure marketplace.