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HP Extends Cloud Infrastructure with VirtualSystem

While chaos seems to be reigning at Hewlett-Packard Co., one area where it doesn't appear to be making any strategic shifts is in its push into cloud computing. On Wednesday, the company revealed plans for its public cloud services, making them available to select beta testers. And at last week's VMworld conference in Las Vegas, HP launched a number of products aimed at helping both enterprises and service providers build cloud-based infrastructures.

Perhaps most noteworthy was HP's new VirtualSystem platform consisting of converged servers, storage and networking, controlled by the company's Insight management software.

According to HP, VirtualSystem provides the basis of a consolidated architecture by accelerating virtual machine mobility by 40 percent, doubling throughput and reducing network downtime with the new HP FlexFabric virtualized network platform. With HP Lefthand and 3PAR storage, HP claims VirtualSystem will cut capacity requirements by 50 percent and double virtual machine density.

The VirtualSystem is available in three configurations: VS1, VS2 and VS3. The first, VS1, is targeted at small and medium businesses, consisting of rack-mounted Proliant servers, Lefthand storage and HP's VirtualConnect network platform to tie it together. The Insight management software is tightly integrated with VMware's new vSphere 5 and ESX software.

VS2 is similar but instead of Proliant rack-mounted servers, it has HP's BladeSystem blade servers also tied to the company's Lefthand storage systems. The high-end offering, VS3, allows for the ability to extend multiple racks and uses HP's 3PAR storage. It's targeted at large enterprises that are looking to do major VMware consolidation projects or service providers.

The VS3 can host up to 6,000 virtual machines, said Tom Joyce, VP of marketing strategy and operations for HP storage. "That's a massive VM consolidation platform," Joyce said, noting the offerings also come with HP's TippingPoint intrusion detection software.  

The VS3 hardware is identical to the hardware that runs HP's CloudSystem platform. HP launched CloudSystem in January, a turnkey appliance which comes with the company's Cloud Service Automation software. "If a customer says, 'Look, I'm solving my VMware problem today but I'm looking to build my private cloud in a year from now,' if they want to build their cloud on that part of that same hardware, all they have to do is bring in the software components of CloudSystem," Joyce said.

Pricing for the VirtualSystem platform starts at $167,300.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/08/2011 at 1:14 PM


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