Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft executives discussed a three-year agreement for a product development strategy to simplify technology deployments by their customers, in a Wednesday conference call. An ‘infrastructure-to-application’ model will result in packaged systems including servers, storage, networking and software, which sounds very similar to the EMC, Cisco and VMware vBLOCK product initiative. HP CEO Mark Hurd and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stressed that the collaboration had substantial mutual investment, far more than typical partnering agreements. Cloud-deployed applications to Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure service is a driving force. HP hardware and services will be integral to Windows Azure cloud computing platform, and packaged systems for Exchange and SQL will be coming later this year.