HP's Tom Joyce on converged systems, big data, and small business

At HP Discover in Barcelona, ITProPortal spoke to Tom Joyce, senior vice president of HP Converged Systems, about HP's advancements in converged systems, and what that could mean for enterprise and small businesses.

So how are converged systems an advantage for companies?

I think that for a customer that wants to have control of everything, and is sophisticated enough to do that, they can manage the current model at tremendous scale, and we can help them to do that. But the limits start to come from the fact that it's harder to find the people to do the work. If you need to have deep expertise in networking and storage services, orchestration and big data - there's just too many topics on that list.

It's like my house. Ten years ago I moved into a house, and I installed all the stereo and networking equipment myself. This summer, I moved into a new house, and I'm no longer qualified to deal with all that technology - so I got a guy to come in and set it up. I think for our customers there's a lot of value in having it pre-integrated.

Where are those advantages having the most impact?

Mostly, customers are looking to increase total availability without increasing the cost of support. If you look at any one of these complex deployments, up to 80 per cent of support calls in the life of a system come in within the first 90 days. They're set-up issues, and tuning issues. There's a lot of value for these clients in complex environments in integrating, and taking out the early phase of support, expense and risk.

You reach a point where not just the scale, but the complexity of the scale, is more than most customers want to deal with. We think this shift in customer behaviour has happened in the last year. Two years ago, people would look at our services, and just see vendor lock-in. They'd say 'this looks better for you than for me'. Today, they're seeing these advantages, and they're saying 'great, I'll take it'.

So what about small to medium businesses (SMBs)? Has their awareness expanded to encompass the importance of big data?

I'd say no. They're not focused on big data, virtualisation, cloud at this point. I think if in the future, you packaged it in such a way that you effectively had an information appliance in the same way that today you have firewall appliances, you might see uptake there. I think most SMBs want virtualisation in a box. They want their apps to run in a predictable fashion.

For businesses that have maybe four people running the whole of IT, most of the problems that take up their time is to do with desktops. People's machines not working. But if you could make it simpler, that would help them a lot.

How can you spread this awareness to smaller businesses?

It's a function of presenting the outcomes to them: 'if you have access to this information, it will improve your business in this way'. If you present big data to them as technology, they don't have a grasp of it for the mostpart.

But if you tell them, 'look, this is a way to understand your customers better, to understand who's hitting your website and why, and how to respond to it when they call you,' that's the kind of thing that will start to change their understanding.