One of the challenges of virtualisation is that many SME see it as being ideal for large companies but too expensive for them. HP believes that there is a case to answer here and in its latest push into the SMB space, has released its own targeted virtualisation bundles based on VMware.
While the SMB market understands the issues around making better use of assets, it often starts with a lot of servers where the data is stored on locally attached storage. Moving from this environment to virtualisation assumes an ability either inside the SMB or the dealer channel, in how to separate the applications from the data.
HP is going after the entire virtualisation space not just servers. Storage virtualisation is being provided through the LeftHand business unit where HP is claiming that SMBs can save 35% on their storage costs. LeftHand was acquired last year and had previously sold its software virtualisation solution on top of Dell hardware. Since then HP has been working hard to qualify the LeftHand software on top of its StorageWorks devices and migrate existing LeftHand customers to StorageWorks hardware.
For HP customers looking to move to virtualised storage, LeftHand means that they no longer need to buy in a Storage Area Network (SAN) or buy additional storage units. For the SME this is a key issue. As LeftHand is a software solution, it allows all their existing storage, be that NAS, SAN or Direct Attached Storage (DAS) to be virtualised.
"Customers of all sizes need the financial and utilization benefits virtualization can deliver,” said Paul Gottsegen, Vice President, Marketing, Enterprise Servers and Storage, HP. "To deploy virtualization, SMBs are typically required to purchase pricy external storage and re-architect their entire environment. Now for the first time, HP is eliminating this barrier to entry, making virtualization easier to deploy."
A significant barrier to full virtualisation for large organisations, let alone the SME is integrating hardware (servers, networks and storage) with hypervisors and management suites. Lately, HP has been on a major integration path announcing in Las Vegas that it would be integration the HP Insight Control management suite with Microsoft System Center. As part of this launch it has now done that same level of integration with VMware vSphere 4.
HP is offering a total of five virtualisation bundles but, at present, the make-up of each bundle is still unclear. What HP has said is that there are three SME bundles that will span entry-level solutions ideal for customers with small environments or branch offices, to advanced solutions that deliver the highest levels of uptime. There are also two additional bundles for larger, more complex environments, including deployments across multiple physical locations.
Each bundle will consist of five core components. These are:
VMware vSphere™ 4 Virtualization platform – provides easy, on-demand access to VMware’s industry-leading virtualization software. vSphere enables SMBs to improve utilization rates for x86 servers by an average of up to 60 percent to reduce capital and operating costs.