HP is here to stay: Meg Whitman

By : |July 4, 2013 0

BEIJING, CHINA: Android tablets, software defined storage, big data consulting services, detachables, converged infrastructure, Chromebook, all-flash storage array, Moonshot server with OpenStack cloud OS, Autonomy+Hadoop, a few impressive printers, and then a hint that an HP smartphone is on the cards! HP’s Beijing leg of its first ever World Tour culminated with some exciting announcements around storage, cloud, big data and printing.

HP seemed to have shed its cautious approach at Beijing. It was more assertive and confident than ever in the last two years, or to be precise, in the last 20 months since Meg Whitman took the helms at HP as chief executive officer (CEO).

Whitman, and the COO of HP, Bill Veghte could be heard repeatedly stressing on one point, while addressing over 500 Chinese customers, about 225 partners and 200-odd journalists from Asia Pacific and Japan region at the event that HP is stable and transforming itself for the new world of IT with the prowess in hardware, software and service.

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HP is here to stay!
For those who had written off HP and for those few who said HP would be one of the first major companies to perish by 2015, Meg Whitman had something different to convey.

She said: “The first thing I heard is you need to have confidence in HP’s future. Done – we’ve strengthened our financial performance. Today, we are investing more in R&D than ever before. We have a healthier balance sheet, strong cash flow, and stabilized our business. Believe me, HP is here to stay,” during her keynote on the second day at the HP World Tour in Beijing.

HP had about $5 billion free cash flow in the first half of 2013. Moreover, this Q2, it had a 44 per cent improvement in cash flow compared to Q1, noted Veghte.

New style of IT
Whitman emphasized on how the IT industry is going through a major inflection point, which in turn, is changing the way technology is consumed, delivered and paid for. It is called ‘the new style of IT.’ “IT is being challenged like never before with technologies such as mobility, cloud and big data,” she noted.

The CEO vouched that HP is in a better position than any other in market to support the old world of IT and, simultaneously help its customers and partners to build the new world of IT. This new style of IT will provide businesses new opportunities to make and save money, and it will help customers and partners in gaining speed, agility and simplicity.

“Every 10 years, IT goes through a new phase. This new phase of IT starts with mobility. Mobility is enabled by the cloud, which enables new ways to collaborate through social media and networks, which in turn enables big data,” Veghte said.

According to the Meg Whitman, data explosion, especially those from phones, cameras, sensors etc., is driving this new era in the IT industry. In the next three years, large cloud service providers will have an installed base of 8-10 million servers. These many servers, when laid end-to-end, will be equivalent to the distance between the Tiananmen Square to the Summer Palace in China. In order to build data centres with such capacities, it is going to cost anywhere between $10-$20 billion.

Mission ‘Wooing China’
HP left no stone unturned in wooing China. Here are two suggestive moves. First, HP hosted the first leg of its first ever World Tour in the capital city of the world’s largest and rapidly growing market, which is China. Second, there was a full 45 minutes of ‘keynote’s keynote’ by two HP China business heads, that too in Chinese language, exclusively.

It took a good 10-15 minutes for the non-Chinese speaking journalists to realize that it was not a welcome note for the company’s CEO, Meg Whitman. Instead, it was a desperate PR attempt by HP to send across the message that China means serious business. As many wondered what happened to Meg Whitman’s keynote, others fumbled to connect to head phones and listen to the translations.

This marked Whitman’s third trip to China, ever since she took the helm at HP 20 months back. “This is my third trip to China. We’re in China for the world. China is at the centre of what we’re doing. There’s no question that China is going to be the largest PC market in the world at some point in time,” she noted.

Tape is not dead
While on the one hand HP announced an all-flash storage product, 3PAR StoreServe 7450, there was a new tape-based product, the StoreEver MSL6480 Tape Library, for tape lovers.

“Tape is here to stay. It’s a powerful blend of cost-effective, scalable, dependable and removable storage. It is also needed from a compliance and regulatory perspective. For backup and recovery, tape can help,” noted Mike Prieto, HP GM of storage for Asia-Pacific and Japan. He pointed out that tape and disk were not competing, but complimentary technologies.

“We know that disk-to-disk is absolutely accelerating and tape is not growing at the same level. However, there will always be a need for tape. There is no single disk or tape solution that can provide best-practice data protection in a mid-sized company. Disk and tape are complementary,” he said.

HP officials also noted that while they were aware that disk based technologies were growing very fast, and tape based ones were not, they were not yet ready to let go off the old technology for the sake of new ones. Instead, they will be a part of both the worlds and help customers in transforming from one to another.

“Customers are stuck with two bad choices,” he said. “The first one is an inefficient legacy array packed with solid-state drives that is never going to reach the full potential of flat flash array. The second bad choice is going with a startup, all-flash array organization that is going to, guess what, create another silo.”

Other key announcements
HP also announced new software and services for private cloud implementations, and unveiled new capabilities in its managed and public cloud solutions.

“According to a new global study commissioned by HP, by 2016, 77 per cent of enterprise IT delivery is expected to be cloud-based in Asia Pacific, with 38 per cent as private cloud, 22 per cent as managed cloud (private cloud managed by someone else) and 17 per cent as public cloud. Traditional IT will remain a key delivery model accounting for 24 per cent,” noted Whitman.

HP also expanded its converged storage portfolio with a solid-state optimized all-flash HP 3Par StoreServ system and software-defined storage with new HP StoreOnce Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA).

The company also announced new Big Data Consulting Practice with new services that enable customers to plan, implement and maintain an IT infrastructure that supports big data initiatives.

HP also proudly showcased its Monnshot servers, which now support HP.com’s 300 million visitors a day on its website.

An array of Android, Chrome and Windows based PC+tablet devices were launched during the event, including:

HP Slate 7: An Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) tablet powered by ARM A9 dual core 1.6Ghz processor. The device weighs 370g and measures 10.7 mm thin, 197mm x 116mm. It comes with a standard memory of 1GB DDR3 SDRAM, and 8 GB eMMC.

HP Slatebook10 x2: An Nvidia T40S powered device that runs on Android 4.2. It can act as a clamshell notebook 2.05cm (H) x 25.80cm (W) x 19.38cm (D) / 1.25kg and Slate tablet (0.96cm (H) x 25.80cm (W) x 18.22cm (D) / 0.59kg)

HP Split x2: A 13.3-inch Windows 8 tablet, powered with third generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processor. It can function as a clamshell notebook (2.34cm (H) x 34.00cm (W) x 23.00cm (D) / from 2.26kg) or Slate tablet (1.13cm (H) x 34.00cm (W) x 21.59cm (D) / from 1.03kg) and comes with dual storage, 64GB and 128GB SSD and dual batteries.

HP Envy Rove 20 Mobile All-in-One PC – A Windows 8 tablet powered by dual core Intel Core i3 4010U processor and measures 506 x 320.7 x 66.5mm, weighs 5.3kg and comes with 1TB hybrid drive.

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11 notebook PC: A Windows 8 device that is powered by either AMD dual-core A4-1250 or quad-core A6-1450 processors, comes in 320GB or 500GB HD variants and measures 29cm(W) x 21.6cm (D) x 2.23cm and weighs 1.53kg.

HP Slate21 All-in-One: A 21.5-inch Android OS Jelly Bean 4.2 powered tablet with Tegra 4 quad-core Nvidia processor

HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: A 14-inch tablet powered by an Intel Celeron processor, includes a 16GB solid-state drive and weighs just under 1.8kg.

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