The Business Value of Convergence - Interview with Duncan Campbell of HP

By Duncan Campbell (Profile)
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Friday, January 25th 2013
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VSM: As an early advocate of infrastructure convergence, can you outline the major advantages of implementing a Converged Infrastructure?

DC: There are three key advantages to Converged Infrastructure – speed, agility and cost. When the facilities and IT resources, which include server, storage, networking and management, are more integrated to work together, it increases the overall speed of the data center. It also means faster deployment of IT services through simplified automation, making it easier for IT to respond to different business needs and climates. When an organization is able to achieve these efficiencies through consolidation and virtualization of resources, they see a reduction in spending on both hardware assets and operating costs. We’ve found that this translates not just into better IT outcomes, but better business outcomes, as IT managers have more time and money to spend on innovation with a data center that is automated and efficient.

VSM: Can you expand on how those advantages translate into actual business value?

DC: One substantial result we consistently see is that customers are able to shift IT resources from operations to innovation. This is a significant improvement given that a typical organization spends about 70 percent of its IT budget just keeping the lights on. For example, before HP deployed a Converged Infrastructure for the Dallas Cowboys, they were using 10 racks of servers and spending about 80 percent of their IT budget on operations. After they deployed HP Converged Infrastructure, they consolidated the 10 racks into just one, and flipped their budget from 80 percent operations to 80 percent innovation.

Organizations that implement a Converged Infrastructure typically see simplified provisioning and management, as these solutions allow a single point of control and automated provisioning across networking, server and storage groups. Additionally, these organizations see a reduction in overall physical complexity of the infrastructure, with up to a 90 percent reduction in cable connections alone. The advantages of an HP Converged Infrastructure span from increased speed of IT service delivery to faster system uptime.

VSM: While there are significant long term savings associated with the transition to a Converged Infrastructure, there are also some upfront costs—what are the most common areas that require some initial spending in order to make the switch?

DC: Converged Infrastructure can work with an installed base as well as with new “green field” projects, and while deployment can require some initial spending, we truly do our best to make the transition as pain-free as possible. Certainly one of the more common areas is standardization, and the good news is that HP Financial Services can help. With IT asset recovery from HP Financial Services, we can assess current equipment to determine the highest resale value and ensure customers maximize ROI on aging technology and recycle only what is truly obsolete.

HP Financial Services also offers several leasing and financing options on new equipment, which can free up cash as you move from CapEx to OpEx forms of financing. Additionally, our sales force uses a tool called the Converged Infrastructure Maturity Model, which helps our sales team understand where each customer stands in terms of technology, including virtualization, automation, processes, governance and people. They can then make custom recommendations based on where that customer is setting the bar—where they are now, where they’d like to be in 18 months and where they’d like to be in several years.

Unlike some of the other vendors in this market, we don’t require the customer to “rip and replace.” It’s all about leveraging an organization’s existing environment as much as possible, never about getting locked into a new platform. Plus, in many cases, the evolution to a Converged Infrastructure can take place within our clients existing investments so they can gain value at each step of the journey, leveraging what they already have.