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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

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

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

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

That’s not a problem in itself— the cloud deployment should enable you to keep your existing infrastructure components. you should ensure you are selecting a hardware platform that is specially tuned for optimal performance with your cloud. But. identifying the right solution can be challenging for enterprises that are researching cloud vendors. If the vendor’s solution is not optimized for specific infrastructure. you can assume it rides on the hardware. November 2012 5 . without awareness of the particular capabilities of the hardware. with fully integrated hardware and software platforms. However. In contrast. enterprises can make smart cloud choices. What is the recommended infrastructure supported by this Service Automation Platform? Many cloud platforms are sold as hardware-agnostic. 2. as you add and replace hardware. 1. QUESTIONS TO ASK CLOUD VENDORS BEFORE BUILDING A CLOUD The ideal cloud solution is purpose-built. This ‘least common denominator’ approach means that users can miss out on the value they were expecting from advanced infrastructure features. the onus is on enterprise IT to assemble the piece parts into a coherent environment. you can assume it ‘rides on’ the hardware.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration to engage the specific hardware on which they are running. rather than integrates with it. it makes sense for enterprise IT leaders to ask detailed questions about the solutions available on the market. 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. © 2012 Stratecast. If a vendor solution is not optimized for specific hardware. All Rights Reserved. Thus. 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. then you should suspect there has been no tuning for optimal performance. a service automation platform that is not engineered for the particular infrastructure on which it is running will interface only at a rudimentary level. rather than integrates with it. By posing the following questions to cloud vendors. Unless the vendors offer evidence of partnerships or certifications indicating that their products are pre-integrated with other leading vendors’ products. as well as infrastructure components that can and will grow with your cloud platform as your needs evolve.

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

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

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

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

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

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