HP Discover: infrastructure more important than ever

“Big Data is changing almost everything we do,” Robert Youngjohns, HP (Image: HP)



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10 December 2014 | 0

“Infrastructure matters more than ever. The right compute platform can have a significant impact on business outcomes and performance,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman.

Speaking at the HP Discover event last week, Whitman said that what HP terms the ‘New Style of IT’ demands a different way of doing things.

Citing demand for new services, both from consumers and enterprise, Whitman said that the current infrastructure and service models that support the cloud and the services it delivers are not sustainable. Therefore, a new style of IT is required from the ground up that will use less energy while providing more processing power, with greater intelligence, but at the same time, being easier to manage, operate and integrate.

HP is uniquely positioned to achieve this, said Whitman, even with the prospect of its upcoming separation into Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and HP Inc.

Whitman cited the example of HP’s work with Intel, where in partnership they developed a solution to address Intel’s massive scale-out requirements for a complex electronic design automation (EDA) workload that is used by thousands of engineers. By using HP Apollo servers, Intel has increased workload and application performance by 50%, said Whitman. And Intel scaled up the solution to 35,000 servers, saving significant costs while increasing workload, employee and business performance.

As well as these infrastructural challenges, Whitman said that enterprises are facing major challenges on data, security and agility.

Whitman said expectations are that between 2010 and 2020, there will be a 50 times increase in data to be managed. This is in a landscape where the size and frequency of data breaches has increased dramatically in last year, she said.

“Cybersecurity is no longer an IT challenge but a challenge to the entire global economy,” said Whitman. “The challenge is to turn data not only from a cost centre, and even a potential liability, into an asset for your organisation.”

This was echoed by Robert Youngjohns, executive vice president, HP Software.

Changing everything
“Big Data is changing almost everything we do,” said Youngjohns. It is “becoming a fundamental aspect of everything we are doing with IT.”

Youngjohns said that there are three major types of data, human data, machine data and business data. The challenge for industry is that most of the tools were built to tackle only business data, he argued.

“We have built a platform from the ground up, Haven, to deal with all of these types, blend them together and derive intelligence,” said Youngjohns.

Extending the Haven platform, Youngjohns announced Haven OnDemand, blending Vertica OnDemand and IDOL OnDemand.

The new offering comprises more than 50 application programming interfaces (API), such as contextual search and face detection.

Youngjohns said that when talking to developers can quickly deteriorate into a “religious war”, between the ‘old SQL-types’ and the ‘web-born’ types. To satisfy both, he said that HP has provided both the web APIs and SQL interfaces in Haven, an approach that is “dedicated to winning hearts and minds in Big Data”.

The new services will support key areas of operation, with Big Data for Information Governance, Big Data for IT Operations and Big Data for Security.

Mission critical
Reinforcing the emphasis on enterprise infrastructure, Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, Technology Services, HP, introduced the next generation of mission critical computing, the HP Integrity Superdome X.

The Superdome series of servers had been available with PA-RISC and Itanium processors, but the Superdome X is based on the x86 processor platform, and delivers four times faster e-commerce transactions than current x86 platforms, with 20 times the reliability with 60% less downtime than other x86 platforms, according to HP. All of this comes with lower total cost of ownership, as much as 32% lower compared to competitive UNIX environments, claims HP.

The x86 Superdome X will not run the HP-UX operating system, this will remain on the Itanium-based servers, but will run Linux. When asked about the lifetime for Itanium support, HP said that there was currently no end forecast.

Also announced was the Integrity NonStop X. The new system is designed to “deliver dramatic mission-critical business performance with the highest application availability and transaction performance with improved efficiency,” said Ric Lewis, vice president and general manager for Enterprise Server Business, HP Servers.

The Integrity NonStop X, said Lewis, provides unprecedented performance for dynamic, continuous business transactions, with twice the compute capacity to handle high transaction volume — more than any x86 server. There is dramatic competitive advantage, he argued, with the highest application availability. The system is a fully-integrated, fault-tolerant solution with up to 100% availability, more than any x86 server, it was claimed. While offering these levels of performance and availability, Integrity NonStop X offers the lowest TCO in its class for mission-critical business applications, said Lewis.

Flexibility was highly emphasised, with Neri stating that there were infrastructure options for either the service level agreement optimised (SLA) approach, or the cost optimised approach, as appropriate.

Storage strategy
Supporting mission critical and high availability systems, Craig Nunes, vice president, Global Marketing, HP Storage, described the next development of HP’s storage strategy, which is “converging midrange and high-end, flash and spinning, primary and back-up”.

Nunes said that the new 3PAR StoreServ 7440c Converged Flash Array offers 900K IOPS, with a latency from 0.3ms. It brings the benefits of the affordability of hybrid storage, with all-Flash array with HDD support. There is the flexibility of unified storage, with Block, File, and Object access. Another significant feature is Flat Back-up, which is a claimed 17 times faster than traditional methods.

Nunes said that Flat Back-up flattens the path of data from the 3PAR system to StoreOnce. This provides a more direct path for new data in back-up execution, hence the performance benefits.

Nunes went on to describe 3PAR File Persona Software, a data management tool offering a single management experience, a shared capacity pool and a proven, Tier 1 OS design.

It lowers operational expenditure (OpEx) with consolidation of all workloads, with VMs & DBs (block), Group Shares (file), Cloud Apps (object) under unified management.

There is a greater ROI with an efficient shared capacity, said Nunes, through a single thin pool with reservation-less file snapshots and zero-detect replication. SLAs can be extended by consolidating on a proven tier-1 platform, with multi-site replication, QoS Assurance, Auto-Tiering, Flash Cache, DAR encryption.

All of these key infrastructure items, and more, can then be managed with “converged management for the New Style of IT”, offering a “radically simple and common experience from IT generalists to storage admins”.

Competitor relics
The new HP OneView speeds rollout of IT services, with simplified server, storage and network management, while a new 3PAR StoreServManagement Console gives simplified across block, file and object-access, with a dashboard view across multiple systems that is search-enabled for quick access to managed objects.

3PAR StoreServManagement Console has templates for easy automation, a map view for understanding logical relationships and alerts for active notification, said Nunes.

There is also a new no fee, standard edition of HP OneView, which is now available for download.

Commenting on the new OneView capabilities, Whitman said, “HP OneView turns our competitors’ products into relics.”

With a strong emphasis on the importance of core infrastructure, irrespective of the direction taken afterwards, HP is confident in its ability to meet the needs of a changing world where data concerns, security and the rapid pace of change result in what some call disruption, but that Whitman dubs “an abundance of opportunity”.

This bold claim is well supported by the sheer range of storage, network, converged system and compute products now on offer.

The strength of HP’s big data tools combined with the hardware platforms do indeed place it in a very strong position. As Whitman relayed a very carefully couched message of stability through the change, combined with the accelerated R&D supported by greater investment, the impression is of a company that has taken its knocks and come out strongly from a difficult position.

While there was still much talk of the new computing architecture that lies behind the HP Machine project, such as photonic interconnects and memristor technology, these seemingly far off developments are still tantalising. But as tantalising as they are, if they do not materialise soon, they may serve to undermine the message of stability and innovation through research and development.



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