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

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

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

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

What is the recommended infrastructure supported by this Service Automation Platform? Many cloud platforms are sold as hardware-agnostic. enterprises can make smart cloud choices. 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. Unless the vendors offer evidence of partnerships or certifications indicating that their products are pre-integrated with other leading vendors’ products. identifying the right solution can be challenging for enterprises that are researching cloud vendors. © 2012 Stratecast. you should ensure you are selecting a hardware platform that is specially tuned for optimal performance with your cloud. the onus is on enterprise IT to assemble the piece parts into a coherent environment. November 2012 5 . it makes sense for enterprise IT leaders to ask detailed questions about the solutions available on the market. 1. you can assume it ‘rides on’ the hardware. as well as infrastructure components that can and will grow with your cloud platform as your needs evolve. Thus. rather than integrates with it. This ‘least common denominator’ approach means that users can miss out on the value they were expecting from advanced infrastructure features. By posing the following questions to cloud vendors.Getting the Most from Your Cloud Implementation: Hardware and Software Integration to engage the specific hardware on which they are running. 2. That’s not a problem in itself— the cloud deployment should enable you to keep your existing infrastructure components. without awareness of the particular capabilities of the hardware. But. However. If a vendor solution is not optimized for specific hardware. In contrast. you can assume it rides on the hardware. 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. All Rights Reserved. rather than integrates with it. 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. with fully integrated hardware and software platforms. QUESTIONS TO ASK CLOUD VENDORS BEFORE BUILDING A CLOUD The ideal cloud solution is purpose-built. If the vendor’s solution is not optimized for specific infrastructure.

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

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

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

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

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

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