April 30, 2010 6:51 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
If you haven’t heard by now, you are officially behind the curve…! The group which holds a dear place in my heart at HP released the latest generation of mission-critical infrastructure this week. Why does this group hold such a dear place in my heart and what in the heck does “mission-critical” mean? Well, I personally know some of the engineers who built this generation as well as the marketing, finance, and operations folks who made sure the new solutions do exactly what our customers want them to. Shoot, I even put a little of my of my own sweat helping make this happen.
I’ll make some comments on the significance of this new set of IT infrastructure solutions since I believe the context may be useful.
We’ll start from the top and work our way down.
HP is the world’s largest technology company. We make a pretty wide range of ‘technologically significant’ products, services, solutions, whatever you prefer to call them. For enterprise customers, our products supply the compute infrastructure which runs in 100% of Telecommunications, 100% of the Healthcare companies and 82% of the Global 100 companies in aggregate. HP is the 4th largest software company in the U.S., and ships more PC’s (Personal Computers) than any other organization in the world.
Cool, now we’re all on the same page; HP takes care of the compute infrastructure for the majority of the world. So what we’re talking about with this week’s launch is not a set of new servers, it isn’t an incremental innovation in compute infrastructure or a piece of hardware with a faster processor, it’s years in the making of an effort to reduce the complexity associated with managing the world’s most important data stored and retrieved in electronic form. The people who manage the data which the world simply cannot lose or fail to have access to have a pretty difficult job—HP set the goal a few years ago to be the organization best suited to make that job easier, and we’re pleased to announce what is aptly referred to now as a Converged Infrastructure, designed to make it just that much more likely that you, whoever and wherever you are, always have access to the electronic information you need.
Whether you’re checking the weather on your phone, crunching numbers in Excel that you just extracted from SAP at work, booking a hotel room or plane ticket online, swiping your plastic to purchase Jelly Beans, or are simply reading this article, odds are you are consuming data made available by HP, and I’m proud to say I’m part of that.
If you want to know more, go here.
April 12, 2010 7:18 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
HP closed a deal today to purchase 3Com for $2.7 billion, representing a significant change in the competitive landscape for networking solutions and further changing the game for IT infrastructure altogether. The addition of 3Com to the HP portfolio brings the HP Ethernet market share to 10%, second to the networking giant Cisco, which now holds 67%. Interesting to note is that 3Com holds 32% of the networking business in China and the purchase of 3Com is close to a perfectly complementary addition to the already-existing HP ProCurve product line. In other words, HP just purchased the last piece to the puzzle we call data center infrastructure.
Fun times are indeed ahead in the competitive market for networking share as well as data center infrastructure altogether, because HP is the only company who can actually claim they have the entire hardware stack which has been for so many years in need of integration. Sound anything like the value prop for the IBM Mainframe? Good, because it should sound similar. Fortunately, listening to customers’ desires led HP to build what we call a Converged Infrastructure without proprietary systems. Put another way, this infrastructure is based on industry-standard components and systems, so customers don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in. We’ve been doing a significant amount of listening to customers in the last few years, and the delivery of these kinds of capabilities is the answer to the questions we were asked. I like to think the solutions we’re offering today are capable of directly solving our customers biggest problems. I think the days of Converged Infrastructure honestly offering the best of both worlds, are just beginning.
April 8, 2010 3:58 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
, Search Engine
If you haven’t discovered it yet, here is a fun new activity to try when performing searches on popular engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Ask.com:
Start your search with a phrase or question you have in mind, and see if others are also searching it.
Example: when I bring up Google.com, and type “How to” I see the first three “How to” questions people are searching are apparently “how to tie a tie,” “how to kiss,” and “how to get pregnant.” I’ll refrain from commenting…but you get the idea.
Try this for example: When I type “AIX vs” the next most popular following word is “HP-UX”, so the whole search would be “AIX vs HP-UX.” Now, when I search “HP-UX vs” the most popular following word is “Linux” so the whole search is “HP-UX vs Linux.” When I type “HP vs”, the most popular following word is “Dell” so the entire search would be “HP vs Dell.” When I type in “Animal Crackers” the most popular next words are “in my soup lyrics.” When “BMW vs” is typed, “Mercedes” is the next most likely word to be searched.
So before you go believing I have too much time on my hands, consider the implications of the things you type and their related ‘most searched’ follow-on words. Is it useful for me to know that the most searched word after the phrase “AIX vs” is “HP-UX”?—Absolutely. Learning what millions of people are searching in relation to my product or company is extremely valuable in terms of customer or brand perception. In my business, I compete directly with the value proposition for IBM’s AIX, and seeing that people are searching this topic solidifies the fact that both IBM and HP are top of mind when folks are researching—this is exactly what I would expect. Another useful example: What if I were to type in “HP-UX vs” and the first most likely next word was “Windows” or “OS X”? If this happened, I know I’d have some work to do with customer perceptions, or I may be in the wrong business altogether, because HP-UX doesn’t compete with Windows or OS X for most intents and purposes. What if when “BMW vs” was typed in, “Mazda” or “Toyota” was the next most likely search instead of “Mercedes”?
Go ahead, type in “your product or company name vs” and see what you get, you might just find something interesting.
March 29, 2010 6:04 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
Since I promised to share as often as possible on the topic of operating systems and especially those related to organizational IT, I will take a moment to outline what were announced today as enhancements for the March, 2010 release of HP-UX 11i.
Virtualization: Integrity Virtual Machines 4.2 is now available, with a few nice capabilities like automatic memory reallocation, a new storage reporting tool, and the ability to temporarily start and stop the virtual machine
Green and environmental care: In order to reduce the amount of DVDs floating around or being used as Frisbees, HP has now extended e-Delivery beyond the Americas to now support the entire world. This should reduce paper and plastic consumption by over 150 tons
Reduce Total Cost of Ownership: The Secure Resource Partitions for HP-UX 11i have integrated new architecture for SAP
Decrease human error: The HP-UX 11i Logical Volume Manager now supports the ability to take snapshots of entire system configurations at the volume level
Security: HP-UX 11i is now validated by EAL4 Common Criteria certification. Maintain stringent security in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The above is a short list of the few new capabilities that I think are most notable. The main update page has an exhaustive list and far more details, should you need them. And may I take a moment to say thank you to all the hard working engineers and product planners who make HP-UX 11i the great OS it is!
March 12, 2010 7:06 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
, IT cost accounting method
, IT Manager
I’m currently reading a book by Tony J. Read, Ph.D. called The IT Value Network. The chapter I’m on deals primarily with cost-accounting methods applied towards IT investments. One particular point which perks my interest is that of generally accepted accounting principles which relate to standards on IT costs. What is most interesting to note is that there are not accounting rules to provide standards for reporting IT costs and investments. This presents a seriously difficult situation for how cash within the organization is allocated to IT. If IT accounting practice is not consistently applied from one company to another, how do my customers know how much they ‘should’ be spending on IT?
According to Read, budgeting ends up being the primary means for managing IT investments, where operational and capital budgets are the two considered. He asserts that the “problem with budgeting is that the planning process is typically based on the previous year’s run rate.” When this is the case, the IT run rate is based on “some percentage of sales or cost of sales and/or administration.” Put simply, investment based on last year’s needs is short-sighted and with this method, “IT management is prone to misallocate and over consume IT resources.”
The more I learn about the struggles an IT decision-maker faces on a daily basis, the better I can help them solve recurring problems. So how do I as an IT solution-provider address this customer problem? On goes my thinking cap.
February 8, 2010 6:54 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
, Converged Infrastructure
, Power 7
When I bought my first car, a 1983 BMW 320iS, it came with a license plate cover that read “always late, but worth the wait.” I kept it on for about six months but finally removed it when I realized that it didn’t really fit me. Anyway, I thought of that because Intel announced the next generation of Itanium processors today and yes, they were a bit behind schedule.
Fortunately, the chips are expected to more than double performance while doubling core count per processor. Interconnect bandwidth is up 8x, and memory bandwidth is up as much as 5x all with 2 billion transistors. Intel also announced the next two versions in the Itanium roadmap, with the Poulson and Kittson code-named versions which will release in two and four years, respectively. Poulson will double core count once again, improve hyper-threading and “offer greater reliability features” (ComputerWorld). Some of the more important features which are new to Itanium are the QuickPath Interconnect, the Scalable Memory Interconnect, the Intel7500 Scalable Memory Buffer and I/O hub, according to eWeek.com. Additionally, the new Itanium 9300 processors will take advantage of Intel’s 2nd generation virtualization technology, and will be able to assign networking devices to virtual machines, according to ComputerWorld.
Intel’s announcement comes on the same day as IBM’s revealing of the equally long-anticipated Power 7 processor, which also has made some advancements, says ComputerWorld.
HP, Bull, Hitachi, Inspur, NEC, and Supermicro all plan to introduce systems based on the Itanium 9300. Today, HP accounts for the vast majority of Itanium sales with its highly mission-critical HP-UX 11i UNIX operating system. Expect the Itanium 9300 to compliment some of HP’s future technologies which provide customers with optimized computing, storage, networking and applications, in what is dubbed a ‘Converged Infrastructure.’ Since HP has all the data center components in its portfolio, it’s the IT provider who can best bring the components together before deployment—which is something that will ultimately benefit customers.
February 1, 2010 7:24 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
Personally, I’m glad the EU approved Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems. This presents a great opportunity to see some healthy competition in the high-end computing software/hardware/services space.
Finally, I can add another organization to my list of ‘competitors’. IBM does a great job competing with HP in the mostly-UNIX high-end computing space generally referred to as ‘mission-critical computing.’ HP and IBM are constantly attempting to out-do each other in this market, which ends up providing both HP and IBM customers with some seriously brilliant solutions. Unfortunately, Sun had run in to some issues in the last few years and was failing to provide customers with the solutions they required.
Oracle, I wish you the best of luck in your new venture. I suggest you pay attention to these things when going against juggernauts such as HP and IBM:
· Quality and testing between the applications, OS, and hardware
· Ensure your filesystem and volume management capabilities continue to improve in robustness (these are not easy pieces of middleware to develop)
· Look at HP and IBM’s support models for hardware and learn
· Prepare for your new competitors’ responses (insert smily face)
January 28, 2010 4:12 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
, Operating System
UNIX vs. Linux for Enterprise workloads
I originally set-out for this blog to regularly discuss OS-related topics. Finally, here is one on topic:
Myself and a couple others in my group have been actively asking our customers their plans to utilize Linux for mission-critical workloads. Our goal has been to determine whether or not Linux has been considered for such workloads, and if so, would our customers do it on IA-64, or x86-64? Here are some the enduring themes from these discussions:
· If it’s mission-critical, there is still no beating HP-UX 11i. For relatively conservative customers who know and appreciate the up-time they associate with HP-UX 11i that they cannot confidently associate with Linux, Linux is not an alternative operating system.
· For bleeding edge IT departments who have a goal of saving money on hardware by utilizing x86 boxes, Linux may be an appropriate option.
· The ease with which System Administrators are able to maintain HP-UX 11i instances running with consistency simply cannot be matched by a Linux deployment.
· For now, IT operating systems decisions will look like this: Looking for seven-nines? Use NonStop. Looking for five-nines? Use HP-UX 11i. Looking for some amount of nines less than five? Use Linux, Windows or whatever is your fancy.
January 18, 2010 5:20 PM
Posted by: Jamen Koos
Dr. Martin Luther King
I want to appreciate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today in a way which I expect he is rarely appreciated.
The man lived and died in an attempt to share his strong belief that prejudice is a weakness. He believed—as is the truth—that prejudice stems from ignorance, or insufficient knowledge. For those unfamiliar, most denotations of the word ‘prejudice’ describe it as “an unfavorable opinion formed beforehand, without knowledge, thought, or reason” Dictionary.com In the majority of MLK Jr.’s speeches, he referred to prejudice in the context of race. I sincerely appreciate the profound way in which MLK Jr. influenced a large portion of the American public to stop making uninformed decisions, to stop passing judgment before the time was appropriate to do so, to attempt to reason and bring understanding in to our dealings with fellow humans. However, I favor and agree with MLK Jr.’s assertions on the topic of prejudice in many more ways than in the context of human race or ethnicity.
What I appreciate the most about the majority of my customers at HP is their strong ability to reason. It is because of their tendency to make very informed decisions, to gather sufficient knowledge before making purchase decisions that HP has competition. And the competition has HP. What do I mean? Well, imagine I’m talking to a potential HP customer who has been utilizing IBM servers and software for 20 years. If they acted with prejudice, if they ‘passed judgment’ on HP before gaining sufficient knowledge, I’d likely have very little chance of showing them how my solutions for their business are superior to what they are using today (if, indeed, they are superior). If the potential customer had already made their decision in an uninformed manner, I would be wasting my time and breath to provide them with additional knowledge. I appreciate my customers because they seek to understand, to be informed; their goal is to never make a decision rooted in prejudice. MLK Jr. would have liked my customers.
What’s the moral of the story?
MLK Jr. brought the world closer to existing without ignorant, stupid, short-sighted, and prejudice individuals who pass judgment well before it is appropriate to do so. Many parts of our world today see improved quality of life thanks to MLK Jr’s leadership. The trend of individuals seeking to understand before making a decision or passing judgment is ever increasing in popularity. Let us keep the momentum!