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HP pushes FlexNetwork technology in pay-per-use managed network scheme

12 Dec 2012
Stacks in a datacentre

HP is making it possible for organisations to acquire updated network infrastructure on a pay-as-you-go basis, enabling them to modernise their networks to meet the demands of trends such as cloud services and enterprise mobility, without the risk of a large up-front capital investment.

Introduced today, the HP FlexNetwork Utility Advantage programme is designed to bring the on-demand flexibility that companies can enjoy with cloud computing services into the network arena, HP said.

It will see HP partners in the communication service provider industry kitting out customers with new wired and wireless infrastructure at no purchase cost. This infrastructure is then operated for the customer as a managed service, which is delivered under a single monthly charge.

"A lot of companies are struggling with changing the relative level of investment in their network infrastructure," HP's global pre-sales and networking programme manager Stephen Brodie told V3.

"They are trying to ensure that they have the ability to support BYOD, access to cloud services, and unified comms, but they are finding that their legacy networks aren't up to the job."

The scheme will see customers provisioned with infrastructure based on HP's FlexNetwork architecture, comprising its FlexFabric, FlexCampus, and FlexBranch technologies, plus its associated FlexManagement tool to provide a single management console for the whole setup.

"What we're doing with FlexNetwork Utility Advantage is putting a wrapper around that, so we're delivering commercial benefits, allowing people to have a pay-per-use managed service from one of our partners that also gives them future-proofing," Brodie said.

Without a scheme like this, organisations have been put off making large-scale changes to their networks because of the expense and the risk, according to HP. The new initiative therefore aims to address this by allowing customers to move the cost from being a large capital expenditure to the operational expenditure budget.

HP, of course, has its own goal of promoting adoption of the FlexNetwork architecture that it introduced last year, although it insists that the FlexNetwork Utility Advantage scheme is primarily designed to meet customer requirements.

"We looked at why our products, even though they are market leading, have been slow to hit the market adoption we wanted to achieve. One of the reasons is that people are afraid of big changes, and so we're sharing the risk associated with that change with the enterprise and the service providers," Brodie explained.

One telecoms firm that has already signed up for the FlexNetwork Utility Advantage scheme is Swisscom, which is offering a managed LAN service for customer sites with up to 750 users, priced at 6 Swiss Francs (about £4) per port per month.

HP said that a pay-per-use model for IT services is likely to become increasingly common in future, with managed LANs growing in adoption and half of these expected to be pay-per-use by 2015.

"Every customer we have spoken to has given us positive feedback on this, which is why we are now bringing this to market," said Brodie.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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