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HP's Instant-On to light largest datacenters

HP chose little-known executive Leo Apotheker as its seventh CEO this fall, confounding analysts who expected an in-house candidate to take the job. But while Apotheker spent his first week far away from HP headquarters, his "listening tour" might have picked up the sounds of HP's enterprise marketing roaring. The message from the new HP Instant-On Enterprise is being barked at a pitch better suited for the big dogs of the IT world: airlines, worldwide delivery services, or multinationals.

These sectors were the examples of how an integrated solution for business and government helps enterprises tun on new ways to serve customers and citizens. Citizen are being served today by HP 3000s, but Instant-On offers new ways. "The best mix of traditional, private and public cloud environments" is being called HP Hybrid Delivery. Then there's Application Transformation (think legacy modernization for 3000s), Enterprise Security, and Information Optimization.

Apotheker is listening to customers on his worldwide tour this month, a trip scheduled to keep the new CEO out the grasp of a subpoena. Oracle wants HP's new leader on the stand in a lawsuit to win billions of dollars from SAP, the last company Apotheker served as CEO. An SAP company stole Oracle programming and products, and Oracle would like to prove Apotheker was involved. He killed off that alliance now long after he took the reins at SAP, and he was deposed about it all during 2008.

Instant-On is targeted to compete with Oracle -- now hectoring Apotheker after hiring the ousted Mark Hurd to sell Sun's hardware -- as well as IBM. It's a new way of trying to tie HP hardware, software and services business into a bundle for the big customer which Oracle, HP and IBM battle for.

Unlike court testimony under oath, Instant-On is at the other end of the new CEO's communication tasks. His job, along with the thousands of HP enterprise marketers and engineers, is to push a plan that leads to HP managed services and cloud computing. But at the moment the CEO's message will only be scaled to the kinds of customers an HP leader would hear in person. That's not the City of Sparks (serving citizens) or maybe not even the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (modernizing and migrating IT that serves 100,000 students and 10,000 users of its 34 HP 3000s.)

This month's message Apotheker gets to deliver is a vision. It's probably best that he doesn't need to report details, since they seem to be out in the future -- the same place Apotheker's track record sits during his first month replacing the ousted Hurd.

The SBCTC project -- very big by 3000 standards -- isn't labeled as an Instant-On enterprise, but manager of the effort Bob Adams knows he'll be moving away to some kind of managed services solution after seven years or less of the just-installed HP-UX replacement for the three major apps. Not all of them will move out of his consolidate datacenter. But SBCTC looks like the first 3000-related candidate we've seen for Instant-On. The vision might be matched for HP's biggest clients, however.

HP's splashed out lots of marketing pizzaz over the week to launch this vision that Apotheker is assuming. None of Instant-On was concocted under his HP watch, which only started Nov. 1. But there's a few movie shorts to buck up the sales troops and eager beaver IT managers, like Demystifying the Cloud or executive VP of Enterprise Sales and Marketing Tom Hogan telling CIOs to Seize the Instant. "Today's consumer expects immediate gratification," goes the mantra. "Our world has become mobile, connected, interactive, immediate and fluid. The Enterprise and IT must work together to create value for customers and citizens. HP has a vision for this world: Instant-On. Do you have what it takes?"

Customers grounded in strategic specifics and operational designs may wonder what it takes, however, based on HP's admittedly marketing-heavy rollout. See if you can spot any details in its component parts from the press release.

  • HP Application Transformation solutions: HP transforms applications and processes designed for another era. HP helps enterprises gain control over aging applications and inflexible processes that challenge innovation and agility by governing their responsiveness and pace of change.
  • HP Converged Infrastructure solutions: HP breaks through traditional, rigid IT silos with a converged infrastructure specifically engineered to drive out costs and provide the foundation for agile service delivery. Through the integration of server, storage, networking and management resources, HP delivers the data center of the future.
  • HP Enterprise Security solutions: HP secures the entire IT infrastructure by addressing all aspects of security – people, processes, technology and content. HP’s portfolio of products and services aligns security to meet ever-changing business and government demands without losing flexibility.
  • HP Information Optimization solutions: HP helps organizations rethink how information is gathered, stored and used – harnessing the power of information and ensuring its integrity and protection while delivering it in the context of the enterprise.