Microsoft, HP selling $2M data warehouse appliance

Offerings latest fruit from partnership announced a year ago

Microsoft and HP are teaming up to deliver a $2 million data warehouse appliance and four other hardware/software products in a bid to outshine recent moves by Oracle and IBM.

The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance is available this week starting at nearly $2 million, which does not include the price of Microsoft software, HP and Microsoft said. The big appliance, advertised as 200 times faster and 10 times more scalable than traditional SQL Server deployments, will include at least two racks of servers and storage, built around the HP ProLiant DL980 systems. Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse will be licensed separately.

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A joint announcement by HP and Microsoft on Wednesday continues a $250 million partnership unveiled a year ago, and potentially gives the vendors a bigger stake in the market for integrated hardware-and-software appliances designed to run business applications. The moves could be seen as countering Oracle's Exadata database machine, a result of the Sun acquisition; and IBM's acquisition of Netezza, a maker of data warehouse appliances.

But Microsoft SQL Server general manager Doug Leland says the Microsoft/HP partnership is unique because it combines "the best software company on the planet with the best hardware company." Microsoft does not have any other partnerships "on a similar scale, in this particular arena," he says.

The appliances delivered by HP and Microsoft target a wide range of "application services such as business intelligence, data warehousing, online transaction processing and messaging," the vendors say in a press release. "The jointly engineered appliances, and related consulting and support services, enable IT to deliver critical business applications in as little as one hour, compared with potentially months needed for traditional systems."

The other systems won't be nearly as pricey as the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance.

The HP Business Decision Appliance, a business intelligence system built on top of an HP ProLiant DL380 server with eight cores, will start at nearly $28,000, not including the cost of SQL Server 2008 R2 and SharePoint 2010. The appliance, available today from HP and so-called HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners, comes with three years of hardware and software support services. The three years of services will also be applied to the Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance and a third product called the HP E5000 Messaging System.

The messaging system will be available in March and start at $36,000, not including the price of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

The new systems are rounded out with the HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance, designed for small and midsized businesses; and the HP Database Consolidation Appliance, which uses Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008 R2 to consolidate hundreds of databases into a smaller virtual environment. The Business Data Warehouse Appliance will be available in June and the Database Consolidation Appliance will be available in the second half of 2011.

HP and Microsoft said they are aiming to make the appliances modular enough to be adapted to private cloud networks and public cloud services such as Windows Azure.

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