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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.

The end result is a highly tuned data center in a box that can handle a massive variety of loads, at blazing speeds, using far less power than existing hardware for similar loading. HP's estimates on energy alone suggest an 80 percent reduction while addressing 160 petabytes of data in 250 nanoseconds. This kind of capability is well beyond what systems in use today can provide. If HP can get it to market, there is virtually nothing that could touch it.

In Tech Timing Is Everything

However, this isn't something HP can launch this year and even the special memory isn't expected to be in shape to ship until 2015. With all new technology, it will take several years to work out the bugs and current estimates, which are likely aggressive, suggest it could have these in market in 2018 or four years from now. Four years is a long time in this market and everyone is chasing the performance rabbit.

HP Covering Its Technology Bets

The thing to think about is that many of the components for the HP Machine will come out earlier and enhance other products such as servers, storage, network switches and system-management software. And, when this system does ship, it may take a while for firms like VMware and Microsoft to get virtual machines that will work on it, but, thanks to virtual machines, the long wait for applications will likely be eliminated. So while we would typically be waiting a decade or more for maturity, with virtual machines HP could dramatically shorten that window.

This is one of a number of big-bet projects HP is working on — any one of which could change that firm's fortunes dramatically. You know, if you roll the dice often enough, eventually you get the number you want.

And HP is rolling the dice like crazy at the moment.


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