Beyond simplifying the billing process under a single vendor, the fact that Hewlett-Packard sold both servers and storage, from a technical perspective, didn’t mean all that much. Starting today, HP is out to change that with a version of the HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) that can be integrated with a forthcoming generation of HP Proliant Generation 9 servers via a single click.
Kate Davis, worldwide marketing manager for software-defined storage within the HP Storage group, says this capability is only going to be provided for organizations that deploy HP storage virtualization software alongside HP servers. The end goal, says Davis, is to give customers a more compelling reason to standardize on both HP servers and storage.
That goal notwithstanding, however, HP is not ignoring other x86 server environments. The company is making available a free 1TB VSA license for any x86 server platform not sold by HP. That offering, provided with support from Intel, is designed to make it easier for IT organizations to migrate legacy x86 servers into the role of being storage servers in order to help justify the acquisition of x86 servers based on the new Intel Xeon E5 v3 family of processors. That program extends a free 1TB HP VSA offer that the company made for its own servers earlier this year. Davis notes that HP VSA software enables IT organizations to create a virtual storage cluster across a mix of x86 servers from different vendors.
With the rise of the software-defined data center, HP is clearly trying to leverage its position as the only IT vendor that sells both servers and storage systems it designs. By tightly integrating those systems, HP is not only moving to reduce the total cost of ownership of the IT environment, it clearly is moving to provide levels of automation that make the management of IT infrastructure much simpler than ever before. At a time when internal IT organizations are under pressure to be more agile than ever, less time spent provisioning storage certainly provides a lot of appeal. Davis says customers should view that level of integration as the next generation of converged systems.
While converged systems initially focused on a single box, the management of servers and storage in the age of the software-defined data center is clearly becoming more integrated. In fact, when you really think about it, every server and storage system that can be defined using a common management framework such as OpenStack will by definition be converged infrastructure.