Hewlett-Packard has introduced a package of hardware, software and services designed to allow SAP users to dynamically allocate IT resources based on demand.

HP Virtualized Infrastructure Solutions (VIS) for the mySAP Business Suite taps into the growing interest in "utility computing", using clustering concepts to treat an organisation's IT infrastructure as a single resource that can be allocated centrally as needed, rather than as isolated pieces of dedicated hardware and software. HP claimed that the package is the industry's first utility computing offering to integrate hardware, software and services..

HP rivals such as Sun Microsystems and IBM also have significant utility computing projects. The VIS package was introduced at the [email protected] show in Copenhagen, Denmark, HP's main European enterpise event, along with a number of other offerings in HP's Adaptive Enterprise initiative.

The product is designed to better use the processing power, storage and network resources of companies' systems, either in new or existing systems, HP said. For example, an organisation could allocate more resources to SAP's financial software when needed to carry out processing-intensive tasks, rather than having to invest in dedicated hardware to handle these peak loads, the company said.

As a result, infrastructure can be simplified and even cut back, reducing operating costs, said HP. The company already has some companies trialling the system.

Utility computing systems are often criticised for working only with a single vendor's products, seriously reducing their usefulness. Focusing on SAP systems makes this less of an issue - half of all SAP installations run on HP, according to the company.

HP says it is working on VIS offerings for other vendors' software, including SAP rival Oracle.