HP Discover: Second day roundup

Today was the second day of the HP Discover conference and it was the beginning of the many sessions that cover any topic you could be interested in from an enterprise perspective. With nearly one thousand topics to choose from, it's impossible to cover everything in the conference so we decided to hit a wide range of topics from server technology to secure coding lifecycle planning to mobile technologies like HP's TouchPad tablet. Hopefully there's a little something for everyone here.

Keynote:

The day started with another keynote presentation, this time focusing on HP's network offerings. There was a definite anti-Cisco vibe from the presentation, similar to the anti-Oracle overtures in yesterday's presentations. They started with some interesting statistics: Every 60 seconds there are 12 million text messages sent, 323,440 mobile payments completed, 97,000 tweets posted, 20,000 mobile applications downloaded and 2,600 mobile phones purchased. The overall point was that everyone is constantly connected to the world and companies need to ensure that they agile enough to compete in this ever changing environment. They reiterated their "Converged Infrastructure" concept, and then announced three new core switches (the A10504, A10508V, and A10508) as well as an IPS (TippingPoint S6100N) to compete against network leader Cisco.

In addition to new hardware, HP also focused on the ease of management with their HP Intelligent Management Center v5. The tool promises a single pane of glass to manage your entire environment, regardless of what hardware you run in your enterprise. While it was a nice marketing slide, we've been hearing the same comments about "one tool to rule them all" since the beginning of IT and while the industry is making strides in ease of management, we're not ready to declare that other management tools are now obsolete.

There was also an interesting Cloud demonstration using HP's CloudSystem tool. Using a tool an administrator can drag and drop the infrastructure and place servers, network and storage onto the canvas. Once that's complete, you simply drag what operating system you want onto the servers, enter some other details, and click "Go." After a few minutes, the infrastructure is built. Although this has been available for awhlie, one of the new twists was the ability to "burst" into the public cloud. The demonstration showed that the infrastructure could be spun up onto a 3rd party provider like Savvis or on HP's upcoming public cloud offering. Companies can mix and match within the same environment with the example being a private cloud for healthcare applications and the public cloud for servers that don't maintain that same sensitive data.  

Mobility:

Next we attended a presentation discussing enterprise mobility issues. More and more employees want to use their own personal devices on the corporate network, but this leads to many security concerns within the organization. Even so, apparently 73% of corporations allow at least some of their employees to use their devices at work. A few other interesting statistics were presented including the fact that 90% of smartphone applications are used less than ten times total and that 10,000 mobile devices are lost in the back of London taxis every month, so imagine how many are lost world-wide.

TouchPad:

Next we were able to speak with Tim Pettitt, the Senior Product Manager of the TouchPad and WebOS. He brought along the TouchPad, a keyboard, and a stand/charger. One of the interesting features of the stand is that it can power the tablet via induction - simply set the tablet onto the stand and it starts charging. He showed off the Touchstone technology in the tablet and we have to admit that it looks pretty slick. Simply touch your phone to the tablet and if the devices aren't current tethered a simple dialog box pops up asking if you want to turn on the feature. Accept that message and the transfer completes for you. The technology does not currently support phone-to-phone transfers, but it sounds like that might be in the works.

It sounds like HP wants to concentrate on enterprise applications such as word processing and spreadsheets for the tablet with the belief that entertainment will naturally follow. The reasoning is that studies indicate most people who play games on their phones and tablets only play each game a handful of times before moving to a new offering, whereas other applications are used more frequently. It's an interesting strategy, but that doesn't mean HP isn't working with developers to optimize their games for the new tablet.

Although he was not able to give us a firm release date, he did indicate that the Wifi version will be released first with 3G and 4G tablets coming out later. This is in stark contrast to the Motorola Xoom release schedule.

Secure Software Lifecycle:

Not all presentations at the conference are related to new HP products. We attended a seminar by Glenn Leifheit on how to bring your development, QA, and information security departments together in order to improve the security of applications. While the main focus revolved around how to bring all of the parties to the same table, there was also discussion on how to manage tens of thousands of defects in source code.

Proliant DL980 G7:

Last up for the day was a presentation about the new Proliant DL980 G7 servers. The server has been created as a lower cost alternative to not only the HP Integrity line or servers, but HP also makes a case for migrating POWER (IBM) and SPARC (Sun/Oracle) workloads to the new offering. The server has eight sockets that can be populated with the latest Xeon processor for 64 cores and 128 threads of computing power (soon to be updated to 80 cores and 160 threads). In addition to the massive processing power, the server can also support up to 4TB (yes, terabytes) of memory. One of the biggest improvements comes in the form of stability: The server supports Double Device Data Correction (DDDC), meaning you can lose two DRAM chips per DIMM and still not have a server outage. Overall the system looks very impressive.

If you missed it, be sure to read our previous coverage of the HP Discover conference including the first day's roundup, the live blog of some product announcements and the live blog of the main keynote.

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