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Making All Your Data One Logical Unit

HP's new Utility Data Center is designed to help unite disparate systems into a single, manageable whole.

CEO Carly Fiorina says HP's experience in combining systems and cutting costs in its merger with Compaq qualifies it to help other companies do the same. So, Hewlett-Packard Co. is packaging that expertise as the Utility Data Center, a combination of hardware, software, and services for managing different servers and storage devices as a logical whole.

"It's time for technology to yield to the disciplines of business," Fiorina declared Tuesday at a San Jose, Calif., event marking the first anniversary of the HP/Compaq buyout.

Utility Data Center is part of Fiorina's Adaptive Enterprise strategy, in which computing and network resources are managed as if they had a thermostat-type of control knob. If use is slack on a server delivering quarterly financial results, a system manager can make an adjustment at a remote console and resources are shifted to help an overworked Web server handling retail business, says Nick van der Zweep, HP's director of utility computing.

"We're landing big deals because of Utility Data Center," he says. As proof, Fiorina Tuesday unveiled a 10-year, $3 billion deal with Procter & Gamble Co. HP will absorb 2,000 Procter & Gamble IT employees in exchange for supplying P&G's technology infrastructure over the next 10 years, notes Ann Livermore, executive VP of services.

Utility Data Center is built using HP's venerable OpenView network and system-management software. It provides a consolidated view across data-center devices and networks. The computing servers and storage devices in turn have been hooked into a utility controller. Commands from the OpenView console to the controller allow data-center managers to configure and reconfigure their computing and storage resources, says van der Zweep.

HP came up with the approach after the buyout of Compaq, while linking 215,000 desktops--more than the total number of employees in the combined company, said Fiorina Tuesday. "Yes, some people had more than one," she added, sotto voce.

The merger had to cross-connect 49,000 network devices, 26,671 servers, 7,000 applications, and 1,200 networked sites, Fiorina said.

The speed with which the merger of computing and network systems was carried out means HP will save $1 billion through better integration of its supply chain this year and expects to add another $1 billion saved in the future, she said.

Asked how she thinks Fiorina is doing, Livermore, once considered for the top HP post herself, says: "Carly is one of the strongest CEOs in the world. Our reduced cost structure is going to be a beautiful thing once the market takes off. We've done everything they (critics) said couldn't be done in such a merger."

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