Today’s Markets Are Driven by SLAs, Not Just Hot Products or Services

In the last year HP’s Enterprise Group has gone trough a major change of approach in response to the changing market, says Scott Weller, VP and General Manager of HP Technical Services Support. It is no longer enough to bring out a hot product or Cloud service, he told Wikibon CEO David Vellante and SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier in the Cube from HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany, on December 5, 2012. Marketing, sales, and after-sales support and user experience are all part of the equation.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is: What is the user experience we are trying to deliver. Creating that integrated model the covers the continuum of sell, service, and ownership of the user experience was a big shift for us in the last 12 months.”

But, he said, the effort is paying off. HP customers and prospects want to know who they call and what the response will be when they have a problem, whether it is with a piece of hardware or an IaaS platform.

“Anybody who trusts their critical workloads to an IaaS needs to know who to call when they have a problem and what the remediation will be. It can’t just be, ‘Well, we were down.’”

This is why IaaS services like Amazon may work for development but not for mission critical systems. And he says this continuum applies to dev/ops as well. “We recognize that dev/ops is about managing all those workloads that are moving around the infrastructure in a virtualized environment, not just about a single package.”

Also, one size does not fit all in the fast evolving IT marketplace. On one end of the HP customer continuum are early adopters who are already highly virtualized, have strong internal technical expertise, and often look at HP’s Cloud System for private clouds and say, “Great product. I want to disintegrate that and roll my own”. On the other end are enterprises that have not begun virtualizing. For them it is a long step to either internal or public Cloud.

On another continuum, they range from businesses with Pbytes of internal data that they do not want to put on the public Cloud or simply have no practical way to move to a Cloud service, to those that are already heavy users of outsourcing services and are looking for the right strategy to start moving workloads to Cloud providers.

Security is another major concern for users looking at cloud services for mission-critical workloads. Consumer-level Cloud services may be less expensive, but they do not have effective answers for these questions.

HP itself is harnessing Big Data specifically to develop predictive analytics to power proactive responses to developing problems before they become critical or, ideally, before the customer is aware that a problem exists.

“In the end,” he says, “mission-critical systems and services comes down to understanding unplanned downtime and what your response as a product or service supplier is. Best effort is a fine model for consumers or software development, but it is not enough for many business applications.”