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HP's Flexible Computing Services

At the end of November, HP announced its Flexible Computing Services -- a set of offerings that provide, as a utility, a set of on-demand services to enterprise IT. A couple of interesting aspects of the service:

  • the Infrastructure Provisioning Service (IPS) has a "plus" service that incorporates the workload managers & schedulers from vendors such as Platform Computing, United Devices and PathScale

  • the Application Provisioning Service seems to be a "rent-by-the-hour" set of licenses that can be deployed by the customer on the IPS or IPS+ services.

This seems to be setting the bar a good deal higher than the Sun Grid service, and offers a broader range of offers than anything I've heard from IBM. One of the issues into which I'd like to dive is whether it is, as described, available only by "packing and shipping" the enterprise data (and instructions) to the service, or whether it can be spun up on-demand to work collaboratively with a running set of processes / jobs at the customer's site.

Link: Offerings provide extra computing power to users who don't wish to deploy servers just to handle temporary demand surges

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) Tuesday introduced several new utility computing services that will cater to IT managers looking for a way to handle internal fluctuations in demand for computing resources.

IT managers from PDI/Dreamworks and Schlumberger Ltd. were on hand to tout the benefits of HP's new Infrastructure Provisioning Service (IPS) and Application Provisioning Service (APS). The two offerings provide extra computing power to businesses that don't wish to deploy servers just to handle temporary surges in demand, said Brian Fowler, utility services global director for HP.

Utility computing is a much-discussed but still-emerging concept in data-center computing. The basic idea is to allow customers to tap into a pool of computing resources hosted by a provider such as HP. IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are also developing their own similar services.


HP's new services allow customers to send their data for processing in HP data centers in Paris and Houston, said Norman Lindsey, architect of utility computing services. The data can be compressed and encrypted for transport over the Internet, or larger data sets can be physically mailed to those HP centers, he said.

With the basic IPS, customers can choose the type of HP server that will process their data, Fowler said. Basic processing on 32-bit processors from Intel Corp. costs US$0.55 per processor per hour, while servers based on Intel's Itanium processor are also available for $1.50 per processor per hour. Servers based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s 64-bit chips or Intel's 64-bit x86 processors are priced in between those two endpoints, he said.

Customers can also choose to have HP manage grid computing software or compilers that will help process their data with the IPS+ offering. Companies such as Platform Computing Inc., United Devices Inc. and PathScale Inc. will provide software for this service.

The APS offering has HP managing application software, such as its APS for computer-aided engineering, for its customers, Fowler said. Customers that need to use sophisticated applications for managing fluid dynamics, for example, can use this service to process their data and produce the complicated models they need, he said."

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