Hewlett-Packard: Buy now to prep for recovery

Analyst: IT is being very careful about how they spend their money because being accountable is as important as being prepared for a recovery.

Hewlett-Packard has unwrapped several new products and services that aim to help enterprise IT spend prudently now so it can be better prepared to profit once the economic recovery begins.

A Gartner analyst, however, says that IT shops are largely focused on short-term projects rather than planning for a recovery.

"This is the time for CIOs to change the economics of technology, and HP can help," said Deb Nelson, a senior vice president of marketing for HP's technology solutions group. To that end, HP will detail two new enterprise virtual arrays, an enhanced virtualization platform, data protection software, and several services.

On the product side, HP will expand its virtual storage offerings, introducing the new StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array 6400 and 8400 that bring new capabilities for easier administration which can reduce costs by as much as 50 percent, Nelson claims. The new SAN Virtualization Platform 2.1, meanwhile, taps thin provisioning to triple a customer's current storage capacity, Nelson added. And improved HP Data Protector software can act as a single solution across both physical and virtual environments and can be used to back up virtual environments.

Hewlett-Packard also unveiled new consulting services on Tuesday. Consolidation and virtualization-centric ROI services can help customers assess where to get the highest return from virtualization and server consolidation, Nelson said. With a new multitiered hybrid service, customers can design a datacenter with tiers of service to reduce costs.

As part of HP unit EDS' application management services, customers can now choose from tiered levels of services, which Nelson said can reduce costs by opting for a less expensive tier for applications that are not mission-critical. Finally, an improved suite of EDS infrastructure services provides more sourcing choices for servers and storage operations, service desk, managed messaging and flexible computing.

"We're all aware of the challenges the economy is presenting," Nelson said. "[These new offerings] don't mean IT has to spend more to stay competitive. It's about spending in a smart way."

Indeed, according to  research from Afcom, the association for datacenter professionals, 86.2 percent of 133 datacenter managers surveyed expect to increase virtualization usage. "Whether they're doing it to just to ride out the storm or actually planning for the future, I don't know," said Afcom CEO Jill Eckhaus.

Today, many IT professionals are focused on short-term, tactical projects for self-preservation, according to David Williams, a research vice president at Gartner.

"HP may be 100 percent correct, but the majority of my clients are focusing on the next quarter," Williams continues. "The reality is that people are looking at how to get through 2009 and being very careful about how they spend their money, not making long-term purchases that require long-term ROI because they're responsible for it now. Being accountable is as important for people as being prepared for a recovery."

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