HP World Recap: Adaptive Enterprise Strategy Can Save Companies Big Bucks

Fiorina touts Adaptive Enterprise, attacks Dell; company introduces new disaster recovery service at Atlanta conference

As expected, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) chairperson and CEO Carly Fiorina used her keynote address at last week’s HP World conference in Atlanta as a forum to champion her company’s Adaptive Enterprise computing strategy.

HP officially announced its Adaptive Enterprise computing strategy in May (http://info.101com.com/default.asp?id=1324). IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. have also unveiled rival computing strategies, dubbed eBusiness On Demand and N1, respectively. HP was first out of the gate, however, announcing a vision for utility computing, dubbed Utility Data Center (UDC), in November 2002. UDC is now a component of Adaptive Enterprise.

While other enterprise computing visions are unproven and to a large extent unrealized by actual products and services, Fiorina claimed that HP has already used Adaptive Enterprise technologies to successfully cut its supply chain costs and saved about $3.5 billion. Adaptive Enterprise wasn’t created on a product marketing white board, Fiorina seemed to imply. Instead, it was developed in response to the issues that HP encountered as it attempted to integrate its own systems and personnel with those of the former Compaq Computer Corp., which HP formally acquired last year.

“It's a huge reason why we pulled off the largest merger in the history of the technology industry a year ahead of schedule," she claimed.

Over the last several months, HP has fleshed out Adaptive Enterprise with tangible products and services, including a partnership with data center automation specialist Opsware to ratchet up UDC’s autonomic capabilities (http://info.101com.com/default.asp?id=1676). Earlier this year, prior to its Adaptive Enterprise unveiling, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computing and services giant joined forces with networking powerhouse Cisco Systems Inc. to jointly develop new products—or enhance existing products—to support UDC (http://info.101com.com/default.asp?id=402).

Erasing the IT/Business Separation

In her speech, Fiorina argued that “there is no separation between IT and business,” and said that organizations are increasingly demanding demonstrable return on investment (ROI) before they’re willing to spend money.

Fiorina distinguished this approach from the mindset of the roaring 90’s, when CIOs typically placed a greater emphasis on speed and flexibility, without attempting to account for ROI in terms of cost savings, business value, or other enhancements. Instead, executives and CIOs no longer subscribe blindly to the promise of IT. “You can no longer tolerate IT as a science experiment or a mystery,” she argued. “It can't any longer be something that only geeks in the back room understand.”

Since its inception, HP’s executives have stressed that Adaptive Enterprise doesn’t propose a rip-and-replace of an organization’s IT assets.

Fiorina drove home this point during her keynote on Tuesday: “It is something that can be achieved wherever you start and achieved in a step-by-step basis," she asserted.

Fiorina Attacks Dell

Earlier this year, research firm Gartner Inc. found that Dell had again displaced the combined HP/Compaq for the lead in worldwide server shipments. The two companies have leapfrogged one another for control of the PC market over the last several quarters.

During her Tuesday keynote, Fiorina blasted Dell, arguing that the Round Rock, Texas-based PC-and-midrange giant has become nothing more than a “distribution company” intent on pushing products through a proven distribution model. "With Dell's announcement that they're getting into the distribution of televisions, what they are is crystal clear," she said. "I think they intend to distribute whatever they can through a distribution model that's effective."

HP and Hitachi Extend Accord

Also at HP World, HP extended its reselling pact with Japanese storage giant Hitachi Data Systems, under the terms of which HP resells Hitachi’s Lightning arrays under its StorageWorks XP brand. The partnership, which began in 1999 and was slated to expire in 2005, has now been extended to 2008. In tandem with the extended partnership announcement, HP introduced a new disaster recovery service, dubbed the StorageWorks Multi-Site Disaster Tolerant Solution. The new service promise to help customer recover application processing “quickly and effectively”—HP promises typical recovery times of less than one hour—in the event of a local or regional disaster.

HP’s new disaster recovery solution comprises two sites—situated less than 100 KM apart—that protect one another in case of a local disaster. In addition, HP’s disaster recovery framework also requires a third site that’s located outside the region, which offers protection if the two local sites are unavailable.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.