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The HP “Sharks” are in the Water

Chris Purcell on ‎12-09-2013 02:24 PM

Written by guest blogger Tom Joyce


Seven months ago HP announced the formation of our new Converged Systems business unit.  I was excited to be asked to lead this new team because so many of our customers had told us they needed truly converged platforms for their datacenters.  Over the last five years HP had developed Converged Infrastructure technologies for storage, networking and servers that enabled better and more cost effective solutions, but it was time to take it to the next level.  We needed to bring all those technologies together in a way that collapsed the cost of IT infrastructure and made everything faster and easier.


Starting last summer, we built our team.  We hired the best of the best from within HP and from elsewhere.  We put in place an operating model and set of processes that allow us to do agile product development and deliver products to market rapidly and with high quality.  And we got really creative in our thinking.  We were also fortunate to get a lot of time with Meg and other top people throughout HP.  This was critical because to deliver a game changing set of new products, we had to break down or change a lot of established processes in development, manufacturing, support and go-to-market.  We had to break some glass, and Meg helped us do that by making this a high priority.


Based on the customer input, there were some critical things I knew we needed to do. 


  • Move fast.  The IT market is changing quickly, and I wanted to get our first set of products out by the end of the calendar year. 
  • Do more than just combine existing server, storage, networking and software components.  We needed to engineer these new products to deliver more with less infrastructure, and to handle the most important customer workloads exceptionally well. 
  • Everything had to be simple – the ordering process, the system design, management, support, easy upgrades – everything.
  • Think about the “whole offer” and experience for the customer, not just the product itself.  This meant providing a better process from end to end.
  • Deliver exceptional economics.  The new product had to be priced to market with a clear return on investment for the customer. 
  • Most importantly, we needed to make sure that our channel partners could make money selling this product, and could provide specialize services around it.

After developing our plan, we started “Project Sharks”.  We called it this because if you think about it, a shark is perfectly engineered to accomplish its mission – it is the ideal hunting machine.  When I was a kid I was fascinated by sharks.  People tend to think of sharks as primitive creatures, but they are actually extremely sophisticated.  Everything is designed with a purpose, and there is no waste.  Sharks have a unique hydroskeleton, musculature, and skin.  All these parts are connected to maximize thrust so that the animal can move fast, like a torpedo.  Sharks are noted for being able to sense blood in the water, but beyond that they have an amazingly complete set of sensors – perhaps the most sophisticated set of “sensors in the sea.” :-)


Our goal with “project sharks” was to build a perfectly designed virtual infrastructure machine.  This week at HP Discover, Barcelona, we announced the new HP ConvergedSystem for VirtualizationClick here to find out more information.  The two models are designed to be core building blocks for constructing a converged data center.  They are very fast and efficient, delivering better raw IOPS for virtualization at a great cost point.  They can handle a lot more virtual machines than a traditional configuration.  They can also deliver about a 58% lower cost per VM over a 3 year period, as compared to our closest competitor.


Perhaps more important, we redesigned our whole delivery process as part of “project sharks”.  The result is that HP or a channel partner can actually produce a configuration and quote for an HP ConvergedSystem in about 20 minutes, and the whole thing will be on one sheet of paper.  HP ConvergedSystem 300 and the 700 installed and in production in a customer data center in as few as 20 days.  We have also fully integrated the management, to make it simple, and the support.  If support is needed, only one call to HP is required; you don’t need to deal with a server vendor, a storage vendor, etc.  When it is time for firmware upgrades, the process for the whole system is integrated.  And when you need additional capacity, we can ship a module out from our factory in one day, and it will be up and running in about five days.


These new “sharks” are not just for virtualization.  We also announced that the HP ConvergedSystem 300 for Vertica as a new platform for big data analytics.  The HP ConvergedSystem 100 is based on HP Moonshot servers, and ships as a Citrix XenDesktop system.  In the future the HP ConvergedSystem products will support additional workloads and ISV applications, and will be used as building blocks for HP CloudSystem private clouds, so stay tuned for more.


Our new Converged Systems business unit team is very excited about the opportunity to unleash these new “sharks”, and put them in the water. We are looking forward to hearing from our customers and partners about what they want us to do next, because the spirit of innovation is alive and well at HP.




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Chris Purcell

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