HP to Unveil Support for Biz Apps

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- So enterprise customers can avoid the hassle of integrating gear from a range of different tech companies, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) is planning to launch pre-packaged bundles of its hardware and software early next year to support key business apps, according to Dave Donatelli, group manager of the tech giant's Enterprise Storage & Servers (ESS) division.

"You're going to see us bringing out integrated appliances early in 2011 -- it makes it much easier for businesses to run applications," he said.

The HP server and storage chief explained that customers would much rather deploy their applications on dedicated kit from a single vendor, rather than deal with integration issues.

Donatelli, who was touted as a possible successor to HP CEO Mark Hurd, wouldn't reveal what applications will be supported, but said they would likely be in areas like databases and messaging.

Popular business applications include PeopleSoft, now part of Oracle ( ORCL), Microsoft ( MSFT) Office and SAP ( SAP).

The integrated appliances will consist of HP servers, storage, networking, management software and application software, said Donatelli. Launched in November 2009, the company's converged infrastructure initiative -- which these new products are part of -- aims to combine different HP products into technology bundles that can be easily used by enterprises and service providers. The new appliances will also support both public and private clouds.

Seen as a way of offering compute power and storage via the Web, cloud services are one of the tech sector's hottest trends. Public clouds, such as Amazon's ( AMZN) S3 and EC2 offerings, are publicly available via the Internet. Private clouds, however, typically serve users within a specific company or organization. With businesses under pressure to quickly share information and mange internal systems over vast distances, private clouds are growing in popularity.

HP, however, is not the only Silicon Valley firm pushing pre-packaged technology bundles into this space. On Monday, for example, Cisco ( CSCO) joined forces with software maker BMC ( BMC) in an attempt to beef up its cloud offerings, which follows a similar deal with EMC and VMware ( VMW).

Cisco was once a close partner of HP, although the two companies went their separate ways after the networking giant entered the server market in 2009. Now the firms are fierce competitors, with HP pitting its ProCurve networking gear and products from its 3Com acquisition against Cisco's switches and routers.

"We think we're having a tremendous impact on them," said Donatelli, alluding to Cisco's recent first-quarter results and tepid guidance. "We just had a record year of product shipments."

HP's ProCurve revenue, he explained, was up 50% year-over-year in the company's recent fourth-quarter. Overall, the tech giant's ESS division grew more than 25% compared to the same period last year, added Donatelli, bringing in revenue of $5.3 billion.

Shares of HP opened down 11 cents at $42.74, while Cisco was trading up 22 cents to $19.65 shortly after market open Tuesday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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