HP and Microsoft expand Global Strategic Alliance

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I want to share this blog  from Audrey Rasmussen of Ptak, Noel & Associates originally posted at http://ptaknoel.com/blog/

Today, HP and Microsoft announced a major expansion of their Global Strategic Alliance, which appears to go well beyond the casual indstry partnerships that sometimes arise between IT vendors. This is both an offensive and defensive move for HP and Microsoft, as they prepare to battle for their share of the future BSM market and emerging initiatives like cloud computing. As BSM continues to evolve upwards toward the "business" with increasing focus and interest in business services, and with cloud computing looming on the horizon, vendors are positioning themselves for the major changes that are coming in the future. This expanded HP-Microsoft alliance reveals these vendors' serious intention to compete in the evolving BSM and cloud computing markets. This alliance involves joint investment, development and collaboration in several areas:

  • Citing easy deployment of infrastructure technology solutions with built-in management, HP and Microsoft announced turnkey integrated technology stack solutions that are delivered on HP hardware with pre-configured and integrated software, including Windows server software with Hyper-V, HP and Microsoft systems management software, and selected applications. Initially, HP and Microsoft announced technology stack solutions for Microsoft SQL, Microsoft Exchange applications, and Virtualization.
  • Joint development efforts to integrate HP and Microsoft System Management solutions, including HP Business Technology Optimization, HP Insight Manager, Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Hyper-V Server software.
  • Joint unified communications and collaboration solutions.        
  • Joint marketing and sales efforts to sell these HP-Microsoft solutions. The sales effort includes both HP and Microsoft direct sales, as well as HP and Microsoft channel partners. 
  • HP and Microsoft Services provide customers with additional help through their service offerings.  Leveraging HP and Microsoft's infrastructure-oriented services, up through HP's strategic consulting. 

The HP-Microsoft alliance makes sense for both companies on several fronts. The integrated technology stacks will essentially deliver pre-loaded and pre-configured hardware and software for server, storage, networking and application packages.  The alliance also enables both companies to compete with broader solutions that they wouldn't be able to deliver on their own.

  • Anticipating the changes that the emerging cloud computing paradigm will bring about, if and when IT organizations begin adopting it, HP and Microsoft are positioning their integrated stack solutions for the short term and long term. Easy to deploy solutions that users can implement now, as well as easily adding more as their needs grow, could become their customers' "standards" which bodes well for both vendors. If they are convenient, easy to deploy, and save a lot of IT time and headache, the commoditization of the technology stack may move further up the stack, and customers may not care as much about what individual components are in the stack if they work well together.

    The initial solutions announced by HP-Microsoft can easily be deployed in data centers today, as well as for private or public clouds when companies begin to implement them.       
  • Preparing for the coming battle for mind share and wallet share of the BSM and cloud computing market, each of these vendors face formidable competitors (i.e. IBM and Oracle) with war chests full of hardware, software, and services assets that could outmaneuver HP or Microsoft individually, but the combined solutions and efforts of HP and Microsoft could compete more effectively. For example, HP's server and storage hardware will enable the HP/Microsoft solution to compete with IBM and Oracle/Sun bundled hardware solutions. On the other hand, Microsoft's web server software enables HP/Microsoft to compete with bundled solutions that include IBM's WebSphere and Oracle's WebLogic .

Although there are good reasons for the HP and Microsoft alliance, there are many questions that arise from such an alliance. How they navigate these issues could spell success or failure for this alliance.  Remember, these two companies have been partners but they have also been competitors in systems management. How will they handle and rationalize the functional overlaps of the two companies' system management solutions? And how does that play out for their system management solutions that have competed with each other in the past?

HP and Microsoft also have existing partnerships with each other's competitors. How will this affect HP's partnership with VMware? And how will this affect Microsoft's relationships with other hardware vendors?

With this move, HP and Microsoft are positioning themselves as competitors for the BSM and cloud computing showdown. It's shaping up to be a battle of the titans. Although predicting who the winner will be is premature, this will definitely be an interesting space to watch. So tighten your seatbelts and prepare for an interesting ride.   

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1 Comment

Audrey, thanks for the details re: this announcement. In thinking about it, I’m wondering about the actual commitment of these two vendors to the service management objective. What was the BSM content ...or any systems management content within the announcement. Was it the same old “…let’s get this product out and we’ll worry about the system management ramifiations later” …or was it that the existing system management capabilties will easily accomodate the integrated offering with no changes required?

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Ptak published on January 13, 2010 5:14 PM.

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