Hewlett-Packard says its customers don't care what resources are inside a piece of its BladeSystem server arrays. At the recent HP Technology Forum, the vendor showed off a management console connected to an array of blades on the expo floor. HP Marketing Communications Manager Jason Newton said in an HP blog posting that the customers are more impressed at how much manipulation the vendor offered in the Matrix Orchestration Environment for a blade array like the c7000 above.
A "private cloud" might remind HP 3000 customers of a virtual private network. But it seems a stretch to imagine 3000 community members who have always shouldered server responsibility thinking that a system doesn't matter. Accepting the promise of cloud computing might demand such refocusing of responsibility, though. Teaching a 20-year IT vet that hardware doesn't matter is a tough lesson.
HP believes it's time to move beyond that level of technology management, applying resource redundancy (multiple blades, abundant storage, extra CPUs) where reliability and resource efficiencies once served. If your hardware is cheap enough, racking up lots of extra processing can get the job done, Newton said.
The blog entry did spark one response that diverged from the private cloud promises. It came from a HP customer using OpenVMS, an environment left out of the happy picture of "the best of HP." Ian Miller, an administrator of the openvms.org aggregation site, said "cost will always matter."
HP has two kinds of customers working in enterprise IT shops -- those who have built up a career's worth of knowledge about system management, and those who haven't invested that much up to now in this kind of technology savvy. When evaluating the next step away from the HP 3000 model toward something midrange like the c3000 at left, migrating sites need to consider how much value their kind of career knowledge will bring to a new environment. The Matrix Orchestration looks aimed at CIOs who want to push buttons, a very different profile from the 3000 customer who's been responsible for server uptime.
Nothing is free in IT management. It's easy to see how these Matrix solutions can improve computing. But everything is a tradeoff. Some HP customers might not care what's inside a rack. But someone needs to care, right? It's not as simple as sunlight inside those racks.