HP recently expanded the functionality of its BladeSystem portfolio by introducing two new unified communications-related Solution Blocks to help resellers and enterprises more quickly install new systems and applications. These Solution Blocks make the process of installing multiple communications applications (presence, e-mail, conferencing, telephony, messaging, etc.) in a BladeSystem environment.
Mike Kendall, manager of HP’s enterprise storage and server solutions builder program, explained that BladeSystems are versatile, slot-based server cabinets that allows enterprises, resellers and service providers to integrate a variety of server types, storage types and network connections into a consolidated environment.
BladeSystem comes in two sizes. The c7000 cabinet is 10 units high and can accommodate up to 16 blades (server or storage) in the front and up to eight switch blades in the back. The recently launched c3000 cabinet is designed for the mid-market (e.g. remote or branch offices); it is six units high and can hold up to eight storage/server blades in the front and up to four interconnect blades in the back.
“BladeSystem is primarily a customer premise equipment solution, but we also have a growing number of telecommunications companies that are interested in using BladeSystem, particularly as they develop IP-related services,” Kendall told TMCnet.
Since BladeSystem is so versatile, HP’s clients are using this environment to tie together a variety of hardware and software applications, a process that can get complicated and be time-consuming. This is especially true in the realm of unified communications. That’s why HP developed its Solution Blocks, which now include two solutions for installing groups of Ericsson and Microsoft (News - Alert) unified communications software.
Each Solution Block is a set of tools, information and software that enables a customer or reseller to quickly install a set of hardware and software applications. One of those tools is a poster that lists a series of steps for installing a particular solution set. Another is a script called RDP (for Rapid Deployment Pack) that helps the person doing the installation perform the correct steps in the most effective order.
“It’s a wizard on steroids that performs the installation in an automated fashion,” Kendall explained. “A really smart person could probably install all this stuff on their own in about two to five days. We can reduce that down to less than five hours.”
One way to think of a Solution Block is as a recipe, Kendall said. These recipes are based on HP’s expertise with a variety of different application configurations.
“We have engineers here that are really smart about both BladeSystem and the applications that run on it,” Kendall explained. “They really understand how everything needs to be set up. Solutions Blocks are like recipes, but you have expert chefs working on those recipes first. They make all the mistakes first.”
Back in September, HP launched 11 Solution Blocks with the unveiling of the c3000 BladeSystem. Now, that portfolio is expanded by two—one for a group of Ericsson (News - Alert) UC application, another for a Microsoft UC setup.
One of the two Solution Blocks announced here is designed to integrate three Ericsson software components: Ericsson Mobility Gateway (integrates mobile devices as extensions of the corporate communications network), Ericsson MX-ONE (server-based IP PBX (News - Alert), integrates seamlessly with IT resources) and Ericsson Enterprise Multimedia Server (server-based SIP IP-PBX for converged fixed/mobile communications).
The other new Solution Block also ties together three software components, this time from Microsoft: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (UC software the delivers video, VoIP, instant messaging, presence and conferencing), Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 (communications client for phone, vide and instant messaging) and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 (a platform for voicemail, e-mail, unified messaging and calendaring).
These Solution Blocks are designed not just for IT staff at enterprises, but for HP’s resellers too, Kendall said. The Blocks include information—such as flyers and presentations—resellers can use to market and sell BladeSystem-based solutions.
“To help our resellers, we thought about how to best communicate together the benefits of BladeSystem and applications running on it,” Kendall explained.
The new Solution Blocks are part of the HP’s BladeSystem Solution Builder Program—a community of more than 300 technology and service providers that are working to accelerate the deployment of solutions running on HP’s BladeSystem products.
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Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. She also blogs for TMCnet here.