Organisations Speed Business Results with New Appliances from HP and Microsoft

New solutions for business intelligence, data warehouse, messaging and database consolidation help increase employee productivity and reduce IT complexity.

January 19, 2011

HP and Microsoft Corp. today announced a portfolio of four new converged application appliances that fuse applications, infrastructure and productivity tools into a single system. These solutions help organisations optimise employee productivity and decision-making, while simplifying the delivery of applications for IT. The HP Business Decision Appliance is available now to run business intelligence services, and the HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server is planned to be available in 45 days to run messaging services. Two other appliances are expected to be available later this year.

Until now there have been two ways to deploy critical business applications: highly customised deployments that take too long, or proprietary stacks of applications and infrastructure that are inherently rigid and slow to change. The result is only 32 percent of IT projects that deliver critical business applications are rated as “successful” by the organisations implementing them.

Delivering on the companies’ extended partnership announced a year ago, the new converged application appliances from HP and Microsoft are the industry’s first systems designed for IT as well as end users. They deliver application services such as business intelligence, data warehousing, online transaction processing and messaging. The jointly engineered appliances, and related consulting and support services, enable IT to deliver critical business applications in as little as one hour, compared with potentially months needed for traditional systems. One of the solutions already offered by HP and Microsoft – the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance – delivers up to 200 times faster queries and 10 times the scalability of traditional SQL Server deployments.

“Customers are looking to significantly reduce implementation and decision times,” said David McMurdo, Industry Standard Servers Sales and Business Unit Manager, HP South Africa. “With our converged application appliances, HP and Microsoft enable customers to shorten the time required to deliver information, which helps to reduce risk and cost.”

“Microsoft and HP are helping IT professionals fight their biggest foes – time and complexity,” said Desmond Nair, Server and Tools Business Group Lead, Microsoft South Africa. “With these appliances, we’re helping to put critical business information in our customers’ hands when they need it.”

Expanding the reach of business intelligence

With the HP Business Decision Appliance, HP and Microsoft have greatly reduced the time and effort it takes for IT to configure, deploy and manage a comprehensive business intelligence solution, compared with a traditional business intelligence solution where applications, infrastructure and productivity tools are not pre-integrated. This appliance is optimised for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint and can be installed and configured by IT in less than one hour.

The solution enables end users to share data analyses built with Microsoft’s award-winning PowerPivot add-in for Microsoft Excel and collaborate with others in SharePoint 2010. It allows IT to centrally audit, monitor and manage solutions created by end users from a single dashboard.

Red Wing Shoe Company, a worldwide manufacturer and retailer of premium work shoes and boots, was an early adopter of the HP Business Decision Appliance through GNet, an HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partner.

“We were intrigued by the idea that we could implement a turnkey solution that was fully integrated into our environment with minimal effort,” said Mike Cleary, director, IT Architecture and Operations, Red Wing Shoe Company. “Previously, to install all the required software and configure the components would have taken us several days. Now, not only our business analysts but the broader user community can use a familiar tool, Microsoft Excel, to create and analyse data in new and unique ways.”

Scalable from midsized organisations to large enterprise environments, converged application appliances also offer HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners like GNet significant sales opportunities. Because the appliances are open, based on industry-standards and can be integrated into heterogeneous data centres, they are ideal offerings for channel partners.

The HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance is a data store designed for small and midsize businesses that delivers enterprise-class functionality with increased simplicity and administrator-free operation. This appliance complements the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance, which is designed for large organisations, optimised for SQL Server 2008 R2 and was introduced in November. The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance improves data access with massive scalability and faster queries than traditional SQL Server databases. Through interoperability with the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform, customers can deliver managed business intelligence solutions to everyone in an organisation.

Enterprise-class messaging in hours

The new HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is the industry’s first self-contained, pre-configured platform for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 that delivers enterprise-class messaging to businesses of all sizes. This messaging system, which can be deployed in as little as a few hours, delivers large mailboxes at a low cost, centralised archiving and 24/7 access from any device, and it can scale as business needs grow.

Customers benefit from built-in features such as the HP Quick Deployment tool, which validates configuration and active directory permissions to enable faster implementation. In addition, compatibility between management tools such as HP Systems Insight Manager and Microsoft System Centre Operations Manager, as well as support, help reduce the amount of time required to implement the solution.

To help ensure uninterrupted service, the appliance features designed-in best practices with fully redundant hardware and Database Availability Groups, a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 feature that continuously replicates data.

Delivering on the promise of private clouds

In addition to workload-specific appliances, HP and Microsoft plan to deliver the HP Database Consolidation Appliance. This appliance consolidates hundreds of databases into a single, virtual environment, providing customers with a private cloud database solution that offers self-service, on-demand scalability and dynamic elasticity with the additional control offered through an on-premises deployment.

Optimized for SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud, the appliance will be delivered as complete, pre-installed, pre-tuned hardware with rapid deployment and enhanced manageability. Similar capabilities of the appliance will be offered as a reference architecture to customers who have advanced IT skills and prefer to build their own appliance with best practice guidance from HP and Microsoft.

Accelerating business service delivery

HP and Microsoft will offer support and consulting services for the converged application appliances to help customers accelerate business service delivery. The services portfolios include assessment, design, proof of concept and implementation, as well as ongoing support. The services use HP and Microsoft’s expertise in delivering comprehensive, simplified solutions for data management, business intelligence, data warehouse and messaging.

Availability and pricing

· The HP Business Decision Appliance with three years of HP 24/7 hardware and software support services is available today from HP and HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 are licensed separately.

· The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance with services for site assessment, installation and start-up, as well as three years of HP 24/7 hardware and software support services, is available today from HP and HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is licensed separately. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse is scheduled to be released locally at a later date.

· The HP E5000 Messaging System with three years of HP 24/7 hardware and software support services is expected to be available in March from HP and HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners.

· The HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance is expected to be available in June, and the HP Database Consolidation Appliance is planned to be available in the second half of this year.