Hewlett-Packard’s networking division today unveiled a new scheme that will allow enterprise organisations to rent data centre network infrastructure on a pay-per-use basis.
The HP FlexNetwork Utility Advantage programme will allow telecommunications providers to rent out products in its FlexNetwork range to enterprise customers. Rather than pay for the infrastructure up front, those customers will pay a monthly rate for every network port they actually use.
Mike Banic, worldwide vice president of marketing for HP Networking, said that network infrastructure is typically underused, meaning that corporations overpay for their requirements. The Utility Advantage programme will free up capital from the IT budget, he said.
“The programme will enable enterprises to focus on applications driving new innovation and aligning IT with the business, not on running an infrastructure and carrying it on the books,” he said.
HP said it is launching the programme to win new customers and strengthen its relationships with managed service providers worldwide.
Swisscom, a telco in Switzerland, has signed up to the programme and is offering a managed local area network (LAN) service for 6 Swiss Francs (around £4) per port per month. HP said it plans to offer the programme through five CSPs in Europe, and will be announcing its UK partner in 2013.
Switchmaker Brocade launched a similar pay-per-use option last year, claiming it was the first network equipment provider to do so. In Brocade’s case, however, customers rent the equipment directly from the supplier, not through third parties.
In October this year, Oracle announced a ‘private cloud’ offering, in which Oracle hardware is intalled within a customer’s data centre, but managed remotely by the company and paid for on per-usage basis.
The emergence of pay-per-use hardware offerings can be seen as a reaction to dwindling IT budgets and the move, encouraged by cloud computing, to pay for IT using operational expenditure.