Microsoft and HP in new cloud-computing ‘mega alliance’

14 Jan 2010

Two of the world’s biggest technology companies, Microsoft and HP, have entered into a cloud-computing alliance that will see both players increase their cloud investment tenfold to construct a new infrastructure-to-application model.

The aim of the alliance, they say, is to advance cloud computing by speeding application implementation, eliminate complex IT management and automate manual processes to lower overall costs.

Partnership terms

Under the terms of the expanded partnership, the two companies will increase their global investment by 10 times to drive new opportunities for the 32,000 HP and Microsoft Frontline channel partners. Partners will support customers in modernising their environments through a combination of software and hardware infrastructure-to-application packages and services.

The companies say the agreement represents the industry’s most comprehensive technology stack integration to date — from infrastructure to application — and is intended to substantially improve the customer experience for developing, deploying and managing IT environments.

HP and Microsoft will collaborate on an engineering road map for data management machines; converged, pre-packaged application solutions; comprehensive virtualisation offerings; and integrated management tools.

The new infrastructure-to-application environment they claim will make some of the IT industry’s top business applications, including Microsoft Exchange Server and SQL Server, perform better and be more widely available.

This will be done by creating what Microsoft calls a deeply optimised “machine” environment through turnkey, pre-integrated server, storage, networking and application packages. These data management and e-mail machines provide “push-button” simplicity in deployment and management. The idea is to create data management and email machines that provide “push button” simplicity in deployment and management.

HP and Microsoft at work

The companies are also working together to create IT environments that use interoperable virtualisation and management tools that allow technology environments to be automatically provisioned, managed and continuously self-tuned.

This approach is designed to enable customers to integrate private or public cloud-computing models as their business requires. HP and Microsoft will collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, with HP and Microsoft offering services, and Microsoft continuing to invest in HP hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.

“Driving innovation helps businesses establish a competitive advantage,” said Mark Hurd, HP chairman and chief executive officer.

“This collaboration will allow HP and Microsoft to offer our customers transformative technology that will reduce costs, generate business growth and accelerate innovation.”

Integrated offerings

The new infrastructure-to-application model from HP and Microsoft will be delivered as integrated offerings for large, heterogeneous data-centre environments, as well as through solutions designed for small and mid-size businesses. Solutions are available immediately, with new offerings being introduced throughout the next three years.

“This agreement, which spans hardware, software and services, will enable business customers to optimise performance with push-button simplicity at the lowest possible total cost of ownership,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, Microsoft.

“Our extended partnership will transform the way large enterprises deliver services to their customers, and help smaller organisations adopt IT to grow their businesses. Microsoft and HP are betting on each other so our customers don’t have to gamble on IT.”

Through more than 11,000 Microsoft-certified HP professionals worldwide, HP Services, in partnership with Microsoft Services, will support the entire integrated hardware and software solution, from simple implementations to the most critical enterprise infrastructure.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft Corp, signs an expanded agreement with HP to simplify technology integration with new infrastructure-to-application model for businesses of all sizes

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years