Well, it is past midnight, East Coast time, so I can finally, and I mean FINALLY, talk about a new product that Microsoft and HP have been jointly developing for many months now. Welcome to a new PowerPivot world – a world with the first PowerPivot Appliance.
So what is it? . . . I’ll give my take as one of the lead architects of the product. It is PowerPivot-in-a-box. It is PowerPivot on a quality, server-class machine with the following hardware and software:
- Hardware: HP ProLiant DL360 G7 (X5650 processor, 12 cores) with 96GB memory, 8 internal 300GB SFF SAS disks (total 2.4TB raw storage), with support services.
- Software: Windows 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, and PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010
- During installation, we’ve automated the complete Windows, SharePoint, SQL Server and PowerPivot installations – you answer a few questions and off we go. Come back in a few minutes and you have a complete, tuned, PowerPivot server all up and running. We’ve tailored SharePoint and the SQL RDBMS for the hardware. We’ve tuned the backup and restore facility for the hardware. Everything is ready to go. This makes the provisioning of the machine much more straightforward than if you had purchased the component parts individually and installed them yourself.
Just download and install the PowerPivot for Excel add-in into your Excel 2010 desktop machines, point your browser to the appliance – and off you go.
I don’t normally go for marketing speak, but the IDC white paper explains it best:
“The HP Business Decision Appliance solves many of the challenges commonly associated with implementing BI solutions. For the small-to-medium-sized business that has little to no IT infrastructure, an HP Business Decision Appliance can provide powerful BI functionality without the need to hire an army of consultants to make it ready for use. For larger organizations, an HP Business Decision Appliance can provide a complete production environment for users sooner than IT has the manpower to construct a comparable configuration in piecemeal fashion. Although users are responsible for defining data connections and producing workbooks, IT still has the ability to monitor and manage the overall environment.
For organizations having no prior experience with Microsoft technologies, the HP Business Decision Appliance allows IT to implement a working solution with confidence that the hardware and software will work together correctly from day one. Even when IT has extensive experience with Microsoft, the appliance saves time and costs associated with the design, acquisition, and implementation of a high-performing BI environment.
The HP Business Decision Appliance is beneficial for consultants as well. For many consultants, a proof-of-concept is often the beginning of a long-term relationship with an organization. Even with a proof-of-concept project, consultants often spend the first two days performing installation and configuration tasks that are necessary, but provide no value. By using the appliance, consultants can start building out SharePoint sites and connecting to data sources on the first day of engagement, thereby engaging with the client organization sooner in the process of solution development.
No matter the size of an organization or the level of experience with Microsoft technologies, the HP Business Decision Appliance has a positive impact on the business in several ways:
- IT reduces costs and risks associated with implementation, saving 1-6 months of research and testing.
- Users start integrating and analyzing business data on the first day with minimal IT involvement.
- Users work with familiar Microsoft technologies to create, share, and secure powerful insights.
- IT uses an integrated management dashboard to easily monitor usage and server health.”
Now is that cool or what? All of this for a single low price from HP. You get the best of all worlds.
Have any questions? What to know the internal details? Feel free to ask them below as comments and I’d be glad to answer them for you.
Enjoy. This is such a cool product.