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HP’s Virtualization Blitz

In looking at HP’s recent press advisories about a slew of virtualization offerings, I was a bit surprised by the decidedly downbeat nature of the announcement positioning. The hook for the release -- which urged us to “rethink” virtualization --  was a survey commissioned by the company on virtualization deployment. Here’s what it said:

“Recent global research conducted on behalf of HP revealed that while 86 percent of technology decision makers have implemented virtualization projects, the vast majority of respondents expect to have virtualized just 25 percent of their technology environments by 2010. While many of those surveyed anticipate eventually reaching 75 percent virtualization of their total environments, only one-third of these technology implementers recognize virtualization as a valuable business tool. Two-thirds of implementers relegate virtualization to the role of technology enabler.”

So what’s the subtext here?  Most press releases involving a new market, if they quote surveys, will reference ones that support the technology involved. This is a well-established messaging protocol within the industry. When a powerhouse like HP doesn’t  follow suit, it’s a signal.

While the announcements appeared to be fairly sweeping in the aggregate because they spanned a number of business units (mostly management platforms and thin clients), the “wrapping” makes me wonder about the company’s deeper stance and commitment to virtualization other than doing what’s necessary and sufficient to adapt existing products as appears to be the case here. I first raised this issue in an earlier blog:

“Shane Robison, HP's chief technology and strategy officer, was recently interview by Newsweek on his thoughts about the company's overall technology direction. While there was mention of HP's efforts in datacenter automation and IT outsourcing, the subject of virtualization didn't come up -- even in the context of a discussion about green IT. Curious...”

In this context, let me also share a conversation I had a few days ago (prior to the announcement) with Gartner’s Tom Bittman. Tom told me that in his view neither HP or IBM “get it yet”. He went on to say that “ I don’t think they’re seeing the big strategic picture…It [i.e. virtualization] is falling between the cracks at the very big vendors. In my view, VMM and System Center are huge threats. The big four management vendors are not acting fast enough. They’re doing tactical things to support physical as well as virtual, but missing an opportunity.”

Do you agree? If not, let me know your thoughts. As Editor-in-Chief Doug Barney likes to point out, we like strong opinions.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 09/07/2008 at 12:49 PM


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