Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: How Hardware and Software Integration Provides a Competitive Advantage

An Executive Brief Sponsored by Hewlett-Packard

November 2012

the hardware and software platforms) should be designed and optimized to work together. and service automation. Unfortunately. they must be ‘integrated’. they cannot be assembled. determining which deployment models to implement. they must be integrated. the cloud can become a ‘good enough’ effort that falls short of expectations for speed. in researching their options for building a cloud. That means the components (specifically.Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR CLOUD IMPLEMENTATION: HOW HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE INTEGRATION PROVIDES A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE For cloud components to operate optimally. 2 November 2012 © 2012 Stratecast. flexibility. and network). it falls to the enterprise IT department to assemble the components into a cloud that delivers the benefits they need. They have high expectations for their cloud solutions: they are looking to reduce costs. and one that is merely adequate. and costs. they cannot be ‘assembled’. Underlying this is a complex configuration involving many components—including infrastructure hardware (servers. With inadequate integration. we consider HP integrated solutions (hardware tuned to service automation platforms) as an effective choice for building a high-performance cloud environment. INTRODUCTION Enterprise IT leaders spend a lot of time and energy on their cloud strategies. This is a critical omission that can spell the difference between a high-performing. But that can be more difficult than it appears. With inadequate integration. A cloud solution is designed to support self-service. flexibility. introduce business agility and speed to market. and create process efficiencies. Finally. optimized cloud. storage. and costs. We present a list of questions to guide the reader in evaluating the offers of different cloud providers. and which vendor’s cloud services to subscribe to. the cloud can become a ‘good enough’ effort that falls short of expectations for speed. hypervisor layer. which workloads to migrate. Most often. too often they neglect to look closely at how the solution is designed. on-demand delivery of IT services. Stratecast explores the relationship between hardware and software components in delivering a high-performing cloud environment. management and application software—that are usually developed and delivered by different vendors. All Rights Reserved. . For cloud components to operate optimally. In this white paper.

including marketplace agility. Software components may include: ▪ Virtualization software (hypervisor) – The abstraction layer that creates a virtual infrastructure (virtual machines) separate from the physical infrastructure. The business. it is important for an enterprise to consider the unique contributions of the key hardware and software components. and reduce capital and operating expenses. Management software generally includes capabilities for monitoring. IT sees an opportunity to accelerate application deployment. the management software enables users to manage their cloud environment via a portal. In addition. reporting. which increases the complexity of the configuration and the challenge of ensuring that all components work optimally together. specifically. ▪ Service automation and management software – The service automation platform is a critical component that brings standardization and automation functionality to the cloud. one platform that manages the virtualization layer and one that manages the hardware infrastructure). enterprises often employ a range of models and vendors in their cloud infrastructure. By abstracting much of the operating intelligence from the underlying hardware. and making changes to cloud configurations throughout the entire lifecycle of that service. The Importance of Hardware in Implementing a Cloud In the cloud era. defining the configuration as a ‘cloud’. among virtual machines. storage. A cloud deployment may utilize more than one service automation platform (for example.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration BUILDING A PRIVATE CLOUD Enterprises are implementing private clouds as a way to streamline IT processes and maximize data center efficiency. enterprises can potentially construct their clouds from aging legacy hardware. All Rights Reserved. thereby optimizing use of available capacity. reduce errors. In an effort to leverage existing hardware where possible. In the flexible and scalable cloud model. and support for 24x7 business operations. for provisioning infrastructure for cloud application deployments. virtualization technology may be misperceived © 2012 Stratecast. as needed. This enables users to allocate physical resources. Before making a cloud investment. Thanks to virtualization. also can realize direct and indirect benefits. improve consistency of performance. or even bare-metal commodity hardware. A cloud solution comprises multiple hardware and software components. Software layers sit between the hardware and the applications. increased employee productivity. Components comprise servers. as a whole. Hardware is the foundation of the cloud. and to understand the benefits delivered by integration. and network infrastructure. November 2012 3 . it is tempting to discount the value of hardware.

Achieving integration requires the hardware and software components to be engineered in a way that acknowledges and leverages each one’s advanced features and capabilities. it is likely that more than one automation platform may be included in the configuration. Rather than requiring labor-intensive retooling with each refresh or upgrade. hardware works as hard as in a traditional data center configuration—maybe harder—since resource capacity tends to be utilized to a much higher degree than in a traditional one-application-per-server configuration. and the enterprise may not realize the full potential of the cloud. a private cloud may utilize one platform to manage the virtualization environment. and enable scaling of applications as needed. infrastructure (server.Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan Infrastructure hardware is the foundation to a cloud implementation. cloud services will not perform optimally. the pre-engineered solution accommodates growth and changes in the cloud. and the enterprise may not realize the full potential of the cloud. For example. enables the business to be more agile in response to changing market conditions. This is a flawed mindset. In addition. because the integration points are part of the design of the hardware and software. . reduce errors and test cycles (thanks to standardized templates). The Importance of the Service Automation Platform in Implementing a Cloud The cloud is all about automation. This enables IT to respond more quickly to requests from line of business managers for new and expanded cloud deployments—which. In a cloud configuration. storage. The service automation platform standardizes and automates laborintensive tasks associated with provisioning infrastructure to deploy and manage cloud services. in an integrated solution. and the software automation platforms are tuned An integrated solution reduces the time to provision and scale cloud infrastructure. In essence. Thus. How Users Benefit from an Integrated Solution An integrated solution reduces the time required to provision and scale cloud infrastructure. 4 November 2012 © 2012 Stratecast. Without a well-tuned exoskeleton. and the service automation platform is the layer that makes it happen. and another to manage the underlying infrastructure. the service automation platform is what makes the cloud a cloud. each service automation platform and the infrastructure hardware should be tuned to perform together. Without a well-tuned exoskeleton. the cloud infrastructure is specifically engineered for the software platforms that will run on it. The components must be built for streamlined communication across multiple interface points. in turn. the maintenance burden is reduced. as a substitute for high-performing infrastructure hardware. In fact. Robust service automation platforms decrease the time it takes to deploy cloud applications. In this case. All Rights Reserved. and network) is the foundation to a cloud implementation. Given the complexity of the cloud environment. cloud services will not perform optimally.

1. as you add and replace hardware. a service automation platform that is not engineered for the particular infrastructure on which it is running will interface only at a rudimentary level. In contrast. This ‘least common denominator’ approach means that users can miss out on the value they were expecting from advanced infrastructure features. you can assume it ‘rides on’ the hardware. © 2012 Stratecast. then you should suspect there has been no tuning for optimal performance. QUESTIONS TO ASK CLOUD VENDORS BEFORE BUILDING A CLOUD The ideal cloud solution is purpose-built. enterprises can make smart cloud choices. By posing the following questions to cloud vendors. with fully integrated hardware and software platforms. But. Unless the vendors offer evidence of partnerships or certifications indicating that their products are pre-integrated with other leading vendors’ products. What is the recommended infrastructure supported by this Service Automation Platform? Many cloud platforms are sold as hardware-agnostic. rather than integrates with it. All Rights Reserved. you can assume it rides on the hardware. 2. you should ensure you are selecting a hardware platform that is specially tuned for optimal performance with your cloud. November 2012 5 . However. Thus. without awareness of the particular capabilities of the hardware. If a vendor solution is not optimized for specific hardware. If the vendor’s solution is not optimized for specific infrastructure. rather than integrates with it. How much integration is the right amount? How can they achieve the performance benefits of a ‘purpose-built’ solution without incurring hefty costs for maintenance? How can they be sure of realizing the promised efficiencies? The challenge is exacerbated because most enterprises work with multiple vendors (software and hardware) in constructing their clouds. identifying the right solution can be challenging for enterprises that are researching cloud vendors. the onus is on enterprise IT to assemble the piece parts into a coherent environment. as well as infrastructure components that can and will grow with your cloud platform as your needs evolve. What are the integration points for the hardware and service automation layer? The word “integration” often denotes nothing more than “adjacency.” If the service automation provider and the hardware provider cannot list specific points of integration between the service automation layer and the hardware platform. That’s not a problem in itself— the cloud deployment should enable you to keep your existing infrastructure components.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration to engage the specific hardware on which they are running. it makes sense for enterprise IT leaders to ask detailed questions about the solutions available on the market.

Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan 3. . You need to be confident enough in your cloud to offer SLAs to your colleagues. Do your solution’s service and support contracts allow me to offer (and meet) service level agreements (SLAs) to my internal clients? The benefits of a well-tuned cloud extend beyond the IT department. you may be looking to implement a private cloud. with applications running on Windows and Linux. integrated cloud solution that will grow with your company. you need to select a hardware solution and service automation platform (for example. and infrastructure hardware. Can I use multiple virtualization platforms. and virtualization platforms you are using today. private. including multiple hypervisors. public. and hybrid clouds). Be sure you select a flexible. How will this cloud solution support my company’s growth in the cloud? Today. Your cloud should support not only the applications. how much faster? Can the provider quantify claims for error reduction. 5. As a result. HP Converged Cloud supports a broad range of technologies (from HP and other leading providers). from multiple vendors. risk reduction. or are they simply from a test lab? Be skeptical of claims the provider is unable to substantiate. But in the future. and cost reduction? Can the provider support the claims with actual customer experience. with common automation and management tools for hybrid delivery. but those you may choose to add in the future. HP CONVERGED CLOUD SOLUTIONS In the search for a truly integrated cloud solution. your IT environment may require a combination of public. All Rights Reserved. How does the service automation platform integrate with virtualization technologies? The service automation platform orchestrates provisioning of infrastructure. and Red Hat. 6. HP CloudSystem) that is flexible enough to support multiple virtualization platforms. How will the physical provisioning be accomplished? Be sure the service automation platform is designed to provision and manage the specific virtualization technologies you use. in my cloud? Your business undoubtedly operates in a heterogeneous IT environment. and virtual machines supported by (for example) VMware. line of business managers should also see business advantages. and even hybrid environments to ensure optimal price-performance for each workload. What level of improvement can I expect for application deployment? It is easy to claim that the service automation platform delivers “faster deployment times”—but. including loading appropriate hypervisors. 7. operating systems. as well as multiple deployment models (private. operating systems. Microsoft. a good place to start is with HP and its Converged Cloud portfolio. 6 November 2012 © 2012 Stratecast. 4. HP Converged Cloud is a comprehensive portfolio built on a common and open architecture.

even as components are refreshed or upgraded). as well as reduces maintenance activities (by ensuring the solution remains ‘tuned. the integrated solution improves performance (by reducing time to provision cloud infrastructure). Thus. networking. HP Converged Cloud offers assurance that HP hardware. clients have an integrated architecture that is easy to manage and provides flexibility and portability between private. All Rights Reserved. as a deeply integrated solution that includes pre-tuned server. HP platforms and VMware platforms. moving from a virtualized data center to a private or hybrid cloud. © 2012 Stratecast. Based on HP Converged Infrastructure and HP software. For customers who have chosen to employ VMware solutions as part of their cloud strategy. And the HP service automation platforms (while able to run on any hardware) are ‘hardware-aware’. The HP infrastructure components are built specifically to work in parallel with HP CloudSystem and VMware vCloud Director. and virtualization. storage. for example. storage. Thus. HP offers HP CloudSystem optimized for VMware. shows the value. public and hybrid cloud environments. Because the components are designed to work together. regardless of deployment model. with minimal re-engineering of their infrastructure platforms. and managed clouds. HP Converged Cloud minimizes the complexity and risk associated with building a cloud. HP hardware engineers work with their software counterparts from within HP and from leading vendors. the HP Converged Cloud minimizes the complexity and risk associated with building a cloud. security and management to automate the application to infrastructure lifecycle for hybrid service delivery management. Because HP’s Converged Cloud strategy depends on the design and engineering of the solutions. the solution. HP cloud-ready hardware (while flexible enough to run any service automation platform) is purpose-built from the ground up to optimally support HP service automation platforms as well as certain partner platforms. giving customers the broadest choice of leading technology solutions for any cloud scenario. The solutions are built so that each component is aware of and able to leverage the advanced functionality of the other components. showing the integration of HP hardware. Does the integration really make a difference? An example. enterprises can evolve their environments as their needs change. As a part of HP’s Converged Cloud architecture. Furthermore. Integrated Solution Example: HP CloudSystem opti mized for VMware HP CloudSystem is an open platform that enables enterprises and service providers to build and manage services across private. management. right from the start.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration For enterprises embarking on a cloud strategy. so that they work optimally with the HP hardware. software and services are engineered to work together to deliver the optimal cloud solution. engineered For enterprises embarking on a cloud strategy. HP Converged Cloud extends to leading technology partners. Because the HP Converged Cloud portfolio covers every phase of the cloud journey. as well. networking. such as VMware. November 2012 7 . public. HP CloudSystem integrates servers.

HP integrated solutions offer impressive performance improvements. HP solutions consolidate hundreds of administrative functions. Enterprises can easily make the transition from a virtual data center to a cloud environment. By working with software engineers from HP and partner companies throughout the development process. . and presented through VMware vCenter. For cloud storage. All Rights Reserved. including significant reductions in the time required to provision cloud infrastructure. BENEFITS OF THE HP INTEGRATED CLOUD SOLUTIONS HP cloud solutions provide the deep integration between hardware and software that enterprises need to deliver optimal cloud benefits. HP’s engineering exercises show that the auto-flex capability reduces administrative time to add physical infrastructure to a vCloud Director resource pool from about four hours to just 15 minutes. which are analyzed. Because vCloud is engineered to work with the HP CloudSystem cloud management platform. Another benefit of the integrated solution comes from the HP CloudSystem auto-flex capability. HP Cloud Maps provide an extremely fast and reliable way to create a new application service. an HP integrated solution is estimated to reduce storage management time by 90 percent. For integrated cloud storage. by integrating management tools. HP CloudSystem optimized for VMware also streamlines the function of importing virtual machines. For example. reducing administrative time and staff. the entire converged infrastructure can be scaled in minutes. This capability enables users to automate the physical hardware provisioning process. For example. arrives at the customer site ready for installation of the HP CloudSystem and VMware vCloud Suite. enabling rapid scaling of the cloud solution stack. Furthermore. through its partnership with VMware. The HP CloudSystem portfolio maximizes cloud performance by doubling virtual machine density. converted into actionable information. HP storage solutions include at least ten separate integration points with VMware. administrators can use vCloud Director in conjunction with the HP CloudSystem environment to add or remove physical server capacity in the cloud. and supporting flexible workload configurations. reducing network complexity. These prepackaged templates can speed up the process to create a cloud service catalog. customers using any solution within the HP CloudSystem portfolio can accelerate application and infrastructure provisioning with HP Cloud Maps.Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan according to best practices and lab-tested. 8 November 2012 © 2012 Stratecast. vCenter Server and vSphere. HP integrated solutions collect over 1400 data points per server. HP Converged Storage solutions offer complete integration with VMware vStorage APIs. HP hardware engineers are able to build multiple integration points into their infrastructure products. because the solution enables existing virtual machines to be moved into the HP cloud without downtime or disruption. Based on HP test results and customer experience. HP engineering exercises show that the auto-flex capability reduces the time that administrators need to add physical infrastructure to a vCloud Director resource pool—from about four hours to just 15 minutes. Furthermore. The result of this deep integration is a better performing cloud. With auto-flex technology.

For most enterprises. enterprises can leverage all the building blocks they need to design. one that will work for their business today and in the future. Thus. private or hybrid cloud configurations) as their needs change. That is another reason why an HP integrated cloud solution is a wise choice. using HP engineered cloud solutions.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration As a result. resulting in lower costs and greater business agility. today’s cloud decision is just one step in a broader cloud journey. As such. by partnering with HP. implement and manage a comprehensive and effective cloud strategy. the integrated private cloud can easily grow and evolve. © 2012 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. IT is able to reduce the time to provision cloud infrastructure. As part of the HP Converged Cloud portfolio. IT can better serve the business and earn the trust of internal clients with service level guarantees. November 2012 9 . allowing the business to incorporate other solutions and deployment models (public.

cost-effective. process efficiencies. too many enterprises overlook the need for hardware and software integration as they build their clouds. As part of that research. and ensure that the hardware and software components are deeply integrated. As they continue on their cloud journey. In a competitive 10 November 2012 © 2012 Stratecast. Unfortunately. Lynda Stadtmueller Program Director – Cloud Computing Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan lstadtmueller@stratecast. and strong partnerships to ensure success. the cloud can help enterprises attain the business agility. enterprises should approach vendors with a list of hard questions—and be sure the vendor can back up its claims. such as VMware. fully integrated cloud solution. comprising hardware. Before investing in a cloud. HP is one of few providers that offer a purpose-built. software.Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan Stratecast The Last Word Cloud success depends on the complex interaction of multiple hardware and software components. HP engineering partnerships give enterprises the opportunity for an integrated cloud solution that includes platforms from other leading vendors. and cost containment they need to succeed. . and ease of maintenance. Enterprises need to be aware of what goes into the clouds they are building. they should choose a partner with the broad service portfolio. we recommend that enterprises talk to HP about its Converged Cloud solutions. All Rights Reserved. and high-performance cloud environment. now and in the future. As such. and services. depth of expertise. resulting in a cloud that does not live up to the business plan assumptions for efficiency. Furthermore. to support a range of workloads and a mix of deployment models. It takes flexible deployment of infrastructure—the rapid provisioning and scaling of hardware on demand—to create a seamless. speed of deployment. IT leaders are looking for the most flexible and highest performing cloud solutions available today.

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