Three Major Strategies Define HP’s and IT’s Future Says Donatelli

HP’s Enterprise Group is focusing all its R&D on three major strategies that it believes will define IT in the future, says HP Executive VP and General Manager of the Enterprise Group Dave Donatelli. Those are:

  1. Converged Infrastructure,
  2. Cloud in all its forms – public and private, and,
  3. The Software-Defined Data Center.

“I believe HP is driving all of them,” he told SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier and Wikibon CEO David Vellante in an interview in the Cube kicking off SiliconAngle’s exclusive worldwide coverage of HP Discover Europe 2012 from Frankfurt, Germany. You can watch live Webcasts of interviews at here.

Because it is a major vendor of all three of the traditional IT silo products – servers, storage, and networking, Donatelli said it is in an excellent position to drive these trends. It was a pioneer in Converged Infrastructure and designs its new infrastructure pieces to integrate easily into converged products.

Its new Moonshot servers based on ARM and Adam processor chips are designed to support Cloud environments. Individual boards can be customized for specific applications, varying the amount of network speed, processing, and memory as needed. And because they are “just a little thicker than paper” and designed for lower heat generation, “thousands” can be placed into a rack, providing the huge scaling required by the new environment and workloads.

In the Software Defined Data Center, LeftHand, a startup HP purchased two years ago, actually introduced the first software-defined storage product. HP so far has sold 150,000 LeftHand licenses, making it a leader in virtualized storage. It is also shipping its software-defined network product, and Moonshot is its answer to the software-defined server.

More than that, however, Donatelli says HP’s philosophy is that its hardware is the vehicle to deliver software, which is the real value in IT today. “We have thousands of engineers in the Enterprise Group. More than 80% of them are working on software.”

Solid-state storage is a fourth major driver in IT infrastructure, he says, and HP again is moving to put itself in the lead in this trend. “We have unified our solid-state supply chain from the smart phone through the desktop to the server. Because many more smartphones are being sold than servers, riding that price curve will be great for consumers.” He says that customers can save 50% out of the gate with HP today and that curve will enhance that savings over time.

The expansion of nonvolatile, solid-state memory is a huge strategic change in the infrastructure, he says. It will change the relationship in how servers are built and how storage and networks interact with those servers. “Since we have all three parts of the hardware equation, by putting flash storage in the center of developing in HP Labs we can drive that change.”

“Our customers are asking us to do three things: reduce complexity, improve agility, and reduce price. What we have to show is that by moving to the newer technologies they will save money. Yesterday we announced a guarantee that our customers would be able to store twice the data in the same space with the new generation products or we would give them storage for free, that they can run twice the VMs on our new servers, or we give them servers for free.”

That is part of HP’s new heavy investment in go-to-market strategies to communicate its leading position in the IT infrastructure market, Donatelli said. But, he added, that investment will not take away from HP’s commitment to maintain and build on its technical lead. “Some people have the hype. We prefer to have the products.”

About Bert Latamore

Bert Latamore is a journalist and freelance writer with 30 years of experience in the IT industry including four years at Gartner and five at META Group. He is presently the editor at Wikibon.org, and associate editor at Seybold Publishing. He follows the mobile computing market, including PDAs and tablet computing, and related subjects such as both a user of PDAs and tablet computers for more than 20 years and as a strategic analyst. He was the first person at Gartner to carry a pocket computer, in 1989.