HP is adding a twist to its enterprise support offerings -- a package that includes both traditional "reactive" as well as a set of "proactive" support services.
Available starting today, HP (NYSE: HPQ) claims Critical Advantage is the first comprehensive service offering from a major technology vendor to deliver support for business-critical applications in virtualized x86 environments.
"We think customers will like this as it puts HP in as the lead provider of infrastructure and one throat to choke," Colin Akers, global director of Proactive Services for HP's Technology Services group, told InternetNews.com.
Critical Advantage offers 24 x 7 support starting with telephone and remote diagnosis of problems and onsite support if necessary. HP also offers an optional "6 hour-call-to-repair service," that guarantees the systems covered will be repaired in six hours or less. "You might want to assign, for example, your storage area network to the six hour repair program," said Akers. Pricing is based on customer requirements and the services are designed to scale over time to meet their needs.
Akers said the reactive side of Critical Advantage is not all that different from traditional enterprise support designed for specific systems, but now HP is giving IT more flexibility to choose the services it wants and also to package those with proactive services. "Three months ago we didn't have anything like this. We had some proactive services for standalone systems, not virtualized ones," he said. "As far as we're aware this is pretty unique in the industry."
The new mission-critical support services are available for virtualized HP ProLiant servers and related IT assets including management software, blades and Red Hat Linux.
HP said the Critical Advantage Flexible Proactive Services are based on a set of industry best practices for change management and process improvement designed to anticipate potential problems and head off unscheduled downtime. Features include performance & capacity analysis for virtual environments and capacity planning. Another aspect of the service is an availability analysis for virtual environments, designed to improve efficiency and optimize virtualized environments.
"As enterprises virtualize their industry standards-based environments to control costs and gain flexibility, they are realizing the vast complexities the technology can introduce," Matt Healey, research manager for Software and Hardware Support Services at IDC, said in a statement. "End-to-end support services such as HP Critical Advantage can improve availability and reduce downtime of business-critical applications so that clients can fully realize the potential of virtualization."
Helping CIOs set IT priorities
Separately this week, the computer giant also released the HP Business Outcome Dynamics Assessment, a complimentary online questionnaire the company said can help CIOs with the information they need to determine technology priorities.
The questionnaire's assessment results are based on an enterprise's productivity, agility and security benchmarks that HP said it measures against industry peers and profit leaders.
HP's research indicates that a growing number of organizations see that a strong alignment between the enterprise and IT facilitates helping customer satisfaction. An HP-sponsored survey of over 350 CIOs and IT decision makers worldwide showed that 90 percent of senior IT executives "actively use technology as a catalyst for business or mission change."
The assessment measures respondents along three axes, productivity, agility and security.
Mixing the options for each of the three axes yields eight specific profiles, representing various organizational IT management philosophies that HP identifies as Deliberate Navigators, Protective Pioneers and Watchful Galvanizers. Based on the results of the survey, the two most common technology profiles favored revenue generation over cost cutting.
More information is available at the HP Business Outcome Dynamics Assessment site.