HP creates a new way to sell data centers

Enterprises can get a data center they have full control of without the upfront costs

Hewlett-Packard is selling its data center services in a new way, via a program it calls "facilities as a service," or FaaS.

Businesses today either build their own data center or lease space at a colocation facility. HP is offering a middle approach.

HP will build a data center, complete with all the power and environmental systems, to customer specs, and wherever the customer wants it. HP will maintain ownership of the data center, unless the customer eventually decides to buy it.

But even though HP maintains ownership, it insist that the facility is thoroughly the customer's data center. The customer will have operational control of the facility, and install whatever equipment they want, from any vendor.

"It's your environment," said Rick Einhorn, vice president of worldwide data center consulting at HP. The customer is "essentially owning the data center."

HP argues that its new service removes the high upfront cost of building a facility. The offering is aimed businesses that want or need to maintain control of their own facilities, and not be dependent on a co-location provider.

Sophia Vargas, an analyst at Forrester, said the majority of enterprise infrastructure is still owned and operated in enterprise facilities, not in colocation data centers or cloud environments. Businesses want to maintain control over the facility and environmental conditions, she said.

"I think there will definitely be some demand for it," said Vargas of HP's offering, which she believes is a new approach for the data center market. Vargas said HP's offers an alternative and more flexible way to pay for a data center by shifting some of the costs to an operational model.

Exactly how the cost will work out is not clear, but part of the equation will include an assessment of risk involved with building a new data center, and under this model, HP takes on the risk, she said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on Computerworld.com.

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