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HP places its data center bet on 'The Machine'

Rob Enderle | June 16, 2014
Many industry leaders over the years have developed technology to drive data center innovation. However, columnist Rob Enderle writes that HP's Machine concept -- which treats the data center as an appliance -- looks to redesign the data center from the ground up.

At HP Discover this week Martin Fink showcased something pretty amazing: A ground-up redesign of the data center in a box called the HP Machine. HP isn't the first and won't be the last to do this. IBM redefined the data center, or maybe first really defined it with the mainframe, then Sun did this by driving client/server computing, Microsoft championed the data center in a container initiative and VCE most recently created V-Blocks. Each of these were massive changes to the way things were and often showcased equally massive improvements in terms of utility, cost and capability.

Well, HP is moving to do this again with a concept they are calling the HP Machine, basically the data center as an appliance.

Now this comes at an interesting time because pretty much everything we know about the data center is in flux at the moment and this may be the biggest bet any company has ever made.

Encompassing Change in Next Gen Data Center

Some of the huge changes that are currently maturing in the industry are appliance computing at scale, which Machine clearly anticipates; thin client computing, where HP is one of the dominant players; decision systems, which are being driven by IBM (Watson) and Google; robotics; security in depth, where HP is one of the largest players; and making IT more competitive with services like Amazon Web Services.

One of the interesting parts of the appliance computing at scale trend that few are watching is the integration of VoIP into the large-scale solution (VCE is leading). That will really be everything in a box.

A next-generation data center would have to take all of this into account including robotics because the robots will eventually connect back into the data center for maintenance, control and even decision support much like people do. This is a lot of change and it will require a level of computing power and capacity that we can only barely imagine now.

Inside The Machine

HP's Machine effort attempts to take the VCE V-Block one huge step further by redesigning the entire solution from the ground up from the component level using cutting-edge parts that HP is itself developing. This is truly a ground-up effort built on a deep set of new HP technologies.

Internal networking uses photonics for speed likely wrapped around a stealth effort to create a low-cost optical switch HP has been working on for some time. It has a unique processor that was specifically designed for flexible loading and has clusters of both specialized and general-purpose cores to handle a massive variety of concurrent loads, it has a brand new memory architecture based on its unique memresistor technology, which has the speed of RAM but the retention capability of flash (and even some processor functionality).


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