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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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