HP Unveils Data Center Design Service

Cloud computing gets a lot of buzz, yet demand for in-house data center infrastructure remains strong.
Posted February 15, 2011

David Needle

Remember data centers? All the cloud computing hype may make it seem like IT expansion and growth is all headed to the cloud, but that's far from the truth as there is still plenty of demand for new data center infrastructure.

And while HP (NYSE: HPQ) is at the forefront of companies with significant cloud offerings, the venerable enterprise IT supplier is moving aggressively to also meet what it says is a growing demand for new data center infrastructure.

Today, HP rolled out a new Critical Facilities Implementation service (CFI) that the company said will simplify the process of designing and building data centers by offering design, construction and project management from a single vendor. HP said customers would be free to choose IT equipment from HP or any other vendor to take advantage of the new building services.

"Now that the economy is coming back, we expect to see the same amount of spending in 2012 that we saw in 2007 at the height," Rick Einhorn, worldwide director of Critical Facilities Services at HP, told InternetNews.com.

Einhorn said the new service makes HP a one-stop shop for companies looking to build new data centers or expand their current facilities. "Now we can offer the overall build piece from the initial conversation with C level executives to the physical design, drawing and management of construction of the facilities," Einhorn added.

In a recent survey by research firm Gartner, 46 percent of the respondents indicated that they plan to build one or more new data centers in the next two years, and 54 percent said they expect that they will need to expand an existing data center in that time frame.

HP aims to win some business by pitching a turnkey offering that promises faster implementation and a simpler, single management structure. In addition to its own building resources, Einhorn said it will work with major construction companies who will work under HP's management.

"This is a big move for HP to be the general contractor of the building process," Gabriel Consulting Group analyst Dan Olds told InternetNews.com. "In order for a bundle like this to be attractive, the sum of the parts has to be a compelling proposition. I think it's very significant that HP is taking responsibility for management of the construction because that means they have skin in the game and that means a lot to customers. "

Gartner research vice president Dave Cappuccio added that HP's integrated approach to taking on the construction side of the process is significant. "Constructing a data center is an enormous undertaking for any business, and taking an integrated approach with a single vendor will help maximize cost and efficiency, while reducing headaches," Cappuccio said in a statement.

In addition to more conventional data center infrastructure, Einhorn said his group also supports the so-called data center-in-a-box or shipping container model first popularized several years ago Sun Microsystems. HP calls their container systems PODs.

"There are a number of ways HP provides critical facilities from brick and mortar to scalable, modular data centers manufactured in a factory and assembled on the grounds," said Einhorn. "There are also the POD containerized data centers that we can install depending on what the client needs. The POD is good for a municipality or military environment that needs a real quick data center installation. We've also done hybrids where there is both a POD and brick and mortar installation. It's the customer's choice."

Einhorn joined HP three years ago as part of its acquisition of EYP Mission Critical Facilities where he was president. The company specialized in strategic technology planning, design and operations support for large-scale data centers.

"At a time when the design and construction of data centers has dropped by as much as 45 percent in total dollars spent, our business within HP has been growing," said Einhorn.

More information on HP's CFI services is available here.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: cloud computing, data center, HP, IT infrastructure, Data Center Management Software

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