HPs Utility Data Center: Too much, too soon

Gerald Ratner famously paid the price for admitting the trinkets he sold were “total crap”: his business tanked, and he ended up resigning ignominiously. Hewlett-Packard’s CEO Carly Fiorina may hope that her warning that “sometimes spending money on technology is a bad thing” does not produce similar results.

But Fiorina may be onto something. It would certainly help explain why HP has decided to mothball its Utility Data Center (UDC) offering. UDC pooled together HP servers and storage devices in a single rack and used virtualisation, provisioning and other systems management software to provide different applications with the computing resources they required at any point in time.

When offered as an HP service, UDC did allowed users, such as movie makers and chip designers, access to on-demand horsepower. But the multi-million pound cost and the proprietary nature of UDC meant HP failed to find a wider audience willing to buy the product.

HP is still pursuing the utility computing dream but under the guise of its new BladeSystem initiative which will make use of some of UDC’s advanced software for provisioning blades.

As it turned out, UDC was too complicated and expensive for customers – and that, Fiorina concluded, has got to be a “bad thing”.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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