Readers of my blogs know all too well that there's not much I enjoy doing more than driving cars on race tracks. On more than one occasion I have worked something about cars into the story line of my business blogs, as I believe visualizing something dynamic goes a long way to reinforce simple messages.
Just recently I once again had the opportunity to participate in IR's annual sales kick-off event where this year participants came from much farther afield. The European and Asia Pac sales teams joined with their sales colleagues in the Americas giving everyone ample time for networking that would otherwise not have been possible and I congratulated and indeed admired IR for taking the "expense hit".
It was touch and go whether I would make the first day because I was on the other side of the country, a guest of Dodge SRT, driving a variety of SRT vehicles on the famous and spectacular Road Atlanta circuit – something that's been very high on my bucket list. However, for the day on track, the heavens above Atlanta opened up and it rained. In every corner there was standing water, and at times, the spray from the cars in front reduced visibility to next to nothing – and yes, all the while, we were coming to terms with extremely awkward, front-heavy, American muscle cars unsuited to this circuit.
While IR doesn't externalize their kick-off themes or talk about the messages they use to encourage the sales force, readers of this blog will be familiar with messages of the past. In the post of July, 2012, A great kick-off event; game on! where, as you might remember, the message was "Game On"! Last year, in the post of July 2013, Another successful kick-off event; making the dust! the message was built on the previous one, but added how, "being in first place, we are making the dust, not eating the dust!" This year, there was no escaping the enthusiasm behind the message: shifting gears.
To a car guy like me, it was fun to pull imagery from my own experiences and include them in a presentation I gave – once again, I was asked to provide commentary about the 2014 HP Discover event just held in Las Vegas. With updates on Moonshot, Helion, and HAVEn, as well as the introduction to high-end technology under the banner of Apollo (and not related to the old Apollo workstations of the past), and not forgetting the wraps coming off The Machine, it was a challenge to trim the material back to something meaningful for the one-hour timeslot I was given.
When it comes to the enterprise marketplace and to what is being done for the Global 1000 community, HP Discover events are extremely useful for anyone in business development. Hearing messages first hand and being in a position to discuss them with the executives responsible for the programs in support of the messages, is extremely important.
This year, for instance, as HP OneView was included in almost every major presentation eventually I thought it was a splashy big fix for everything to do with monitoring, until it became evident that it was all about instrumentation. Unkind to HP? I don't think so, but I will be giving it more attention in the months ahead – HP is very good with slideware but it is the vendor community that pulls together usable solutions.
The messages HP is providing sound familiar to all who are part of the IR community – "Converged infrastructure is managed as one unit rather than as separate components, from a single console using orchestration software supplied either by the vendor or by a third party" according to CRN; "Converged infrastructure management involves managing both the underlying hardware and the operations software that runs on top of the hardware, such as a private cloud. System administrators have found it efficient to use one management platform to manage both hardware and private cloud software," stated a blogger to The Virtualization Practice.
However, possibly more recognizable was the observation from a consultant posting to datacenterknowledge.com, "A unified platform can help system administrators keep track of this change, monitor the status of all of the components, and keep track of all of the systems involved." Converged infrastructure has been core to how HP is going about implementing key themes it's been promoting for the past three years – Mobility, Security, Clouds and Big Data. And HP OneView is what is proposed to help manage the Converged Systems HP has begun delivering.
"HP OneView software provides management tools for converged infrastructure and are used by system administrators to provision, control, and manage software-defined data center components," was how HP described OneView in posts to the Cloud community, 1CloudRoad And this is all good for the IR community as it opens the doors to better monitoring solutions to come – HP is leaving open the door to tackle issues further up the stack as applications, and their key infrastructure components, exploit new hybrid Converged Systems offerings.
Lapping the Road Atlanta circuit in powerful vehicles, selecting the right gear was paramount. With wet and slippery conditions, changing down a gear helped slow the car whenever there was a need to change direction. Changing up a gear allowed momentum to build on longer straights and of course, shifting between gears at all times had to be done in a very smooth fashion so as not to destabilize the vehicle. Most importantly of all, none of this matters in the least if the engine isn't fired up with its power fully utilized.
While messages designed to reinforce management objectives aren't uncommon in public companies like IR, the thought of shifting gears applies just as much to customers as it does to IR. Whereas the concept of shifting gears is viewed within IR as a call to embrace the real momentum being experienced and to take Prognosis to another, even higher, level – addressing even more operational opportunities to better provide the business insight required – shifting gears is viewed by customers as a call to innovate. A hunkered-down, "fortress mentality" is no longer an option for customers who must embrace change to survive in today's highly competitive marketplace. As HP throws together more hybrid configurations of processors and peripherals, committing to converge the infrastructure, the need to shift gears and innovate is inescapable.
When it comes to Prognosis in a world of Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and the assortment of hybrid data center configurations we are all seeing promoted by HP and others, productivity has proved to be a whole lot better if just one monitoring solution is used but for that to happen, the chosen solution has to perform well across all components being utilized as part of the Converged System. Homogeneous solutions have long gone and for the successful data center manager, choice of solution and vendor are of paramount importance. In this environment, even as it shifts gears, my experience confirms just how well Prognosis excels.
In the post to this blog, January 2013, Data centers with hybrid systems; challenges persist for all who monitor… I quoted IR VP, Products, John Dunne, after he made the observation, "If our customers determine that there's value in having the oversight of the heterogeneous mix of systems, so typical of a modern data center, then IR will continue to ensure Prognosis features communicate with each other!" No matter how often we find ourselves shifting gears, this message from IR's Dunne rings as true today as it did some eighteen months ago and when viewed against the backdrop of HP's announcements, provides monitoring of the type the HP OpenView team fully anticipates attracting a broad following among the global 1000 enterprises HP supports.