An HP Focus on Utility Computing

HP Labs isn't the only R&D facility in the Silicon Valley. In fact, it isn't even the biggest one. But it counts a string of innovative breakthroughs to its name.

And despite recent management changes, and the distraction of numerous acquisitions, the prototypical Silicon Valley firm, which started in a garage, has kept its investment in R&D high with some $3.5 billion slated for this year, of which about 5 percent is used by its labs.

HP Labs employs 400 people and is one of six labs worldwide with a total of 700 employees.

"We're very healthy and we innovate to solve real customer problems," Rich Friedrich, director of HP's Internet systems and storage laboratory, told

"Some other labs have gone through a kind of pendulum of speculative research and then switched to a very short-term payback focus, but we've always been very focused on innovating to solve real customer problems. We're not ivory tower, we meet with customers all the time."

A project launched at the labs three years ago, Enterprise 2010, tries to forecast what the demands of tomorrow's data-center customer will be and how best to address them.

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