From December 16-18, 2009, HP invited a few bloggers, including our own Max Majewski, to Hamburg to be able to get a chance and experience the full extent of HP.
HP Software Universe was a sprawling event for anyone interested in learning about the latest in enterprise IT administration and organizational software. It was very colourful and also extremely fun at times. On the first day, we were greeted by a jubilant man, dressed up as a Santa Claus. He was also wrapped in a plastic Christmas tree, which allowed him to spring out at people. After a short scare, he would give them a consolatory candy.
At 10 am on December 16th the press conference began, which gave a brief but insightful overview of the announcements being made at the event. After what had happened to the economy in 2009, there was a tangible sense of relief and confidence. That's also what I learned in the amusing and very informative presentation by the Swiss Professor Stephane Garelli. He played the final act of an impressive keynote, which began with a humorous cartoon depicting the adventures of any CIO. The solution of the problems satirically reproduced in the cartoon is of course the software solutions by Hewlett-Packard. Just for this keynote the trip was worth it.
As with any other company the buzz word is cloud computing. This seems to be the simplification of quotidian task in enterprise IT. To make this happen HP focuses on three areas, as they offer software updates for 2010:
- Elasticity – rapidly respond to changing business needs with seamless and automated provisioning of cloud and physical services;
- Cost control – optimize and gain predictability of costs by ensuring cloud compute resources are "right sized" to support fluctuating business demands; and
- Risk mitigation – reduce manual errors, non-compliance and business downtime through automated service provisioning.
With its new offerings, HP hopes to:
Help businesses govern and manage cloud services using HP Operations Orchestration and HP Cloud Assure for cost control; and
Enable providers to deliver cloud services with HP Communications as a Service.
"Businesses are increasingly looking to adopt cloud computing to gain from increased elasticity and agility, but lack the understanding of the true costs associated with delivering and consuming cloud services," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst, IDC. "HP Cloud Assure addresses what IDC has identified as one of the top concerns of cloud computing among businesses – the uncertainty of cost."
As indicated in the keynote by Anton Knolmar, VP WW at HP, 2009 was a tough year in view of the economic downturn and the resulting lack of confidence. At the event HP was confident that its new software offerings would help corporations and their CIOs implement new and exciting ways to reduce cost and maximize productivity yet more. HP wants to convey the message that compromising innovation is not the best solution, and that any issues can be solved without ignoring the need to innovate. Or as Professor Stephane Garelli comically summarized in a quote by French writer Paul Valery, "the trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be."
To get here to this event in Hamburg, and being able to present itself with as much confidence HP has made major investments over the last four years. In 2006-2008 HP has invested more than €4 Billion in M&A, approx. €300 Million per year in R&D to create a market-leading IT and information management portfolio. In 2010 and beyond, HP projects to expand into new channels and segments, as much as continuing to invest in its portfolio. Despite the grim outlooks proclaimed in 2009, HP has had an operating profit of $684 Million, up 37% Y/Y.
Overall, during the event, one got an understanding of the difficulties CIOs face in information management today. There is always more data to collect, analyse and archive. From the brief overviews of HP Operations Orchestration, it was easy to see the excitement. To a layman, managing an IT infrastructure of a large corporation seemed as easy as using managing Windows through its Control Panel. The obvious advantages of virtualizing crucial tasks, such as placing an order for new parts, or handling a support request, become apparent as the preview guides one through the various steps. A single person could be directing a horde of IT specialists on a corporate campus, just by logging into a cloud-based website.
On an ending note it should be said why HP invited Neowin, as well as other bloggers (Dennis Howlett of Accmanpro and Brian Kvalheim of Activewin, and a few internal HP bloggers), in an attempt of understanding social media more. It was a wholly fun and insightful experience. HP certainly didn't spare pennies; it even invited the Re-Beatles group who played live at the Thursday night party. Once again, Neowin wants to thank HP for letting us attend this event and meet great new people.