HP and Microsoft Target Data Center with Joint Cloud, IT Automation Offerings

HP and Microsoft Corp. announced a three-year agreement to invest $250 million in efforts and product offerings intended to simplify technology environments. The companies plan to deliver new solutions that will be built on a next-generation infrastructure-to-application model; advance cloud computing by speeding application implementation; and encouraging greater IT automation.

"Microsoft and HP both have R&D that we're investing in public and private clouds that are related to utilization and management, the applications, the business intelligence, transaction processing," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, speaking at a joint briefing that announced the partnership. "If you look for us, it's a many-million-dollar-base R&D investment. It's large at HP. And now what we need to do is really glue it together, and we are funding that as part of the incremental investment."

With this strategic partnership, HP and Microsoft will collaborate on an engineering roadmap for data management machines; converged, prepackaged application solutions; comprehensive virtualization offerings; and integrated management tools. The vendors seek to offer more converged server, storage, network and application resources in a highly automated, self-managed environment.

Another goal of the joint effort is to improve the performance of applications and platforms such as Microsoft SQL Server, achieved through turnkey, pre-integrated server, storage, networking and application packages.

The two companies will also collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, Microsoft's cloud-based offering. HP will be delivering services through more than 11,000 Microsoft-certified HP professionals worldwide, HP Services, in partnership with Microsoft Services.

While Microsoft and HP have been collaborating for years, this agreement marks the "deepest level of collaboration and integration and technical work we've done that I'm aware of," said Mark Hurd, CEO and chairman of HP. "I mean, we're talking about the aligning big parts of our go-to market capability with this. This is very deep levels of integration. We're talking about how optimizing machine capability around SQL Server. We're talking about packaging that up from an availability perspective, from a performance perspective, being able to align logistics capability around it, being able to align our implementation capability, our service ability capability, talking about bringing 11,000 people and optimizing that to benefit for the customer."

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

More information about the HP and Microsoft agreement is available here.