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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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