New managed and automated paths to private clouds provide swifter adoption at lower risk
Businesses are looking to cloud-computing models to foster agility and improve time-to-market for new services. Yet attaining cloud benefits can founder without higher levels of unified server, data, network, storage, and applications management.
These typically disparate forms of management must now come together in new ways to mutually support a variety of different cloud approaches -- public, private, and hybrid. Without adoption of such Business Service Automation (BSA)
capabilities, those deploying applications on private and hybrid
clouds will almost certainly encounter increased complexity, higher
risk, and stubborn cost structures.
This latest BriefingsDirect discussion therefore focuses on finding low-risk, high-reward paths to cloud computing by using increased automation and proven reference models for cloud management—and by breaking down traditional IT management silos. In doing so, the progression toward cloud benefits will come more quickly, at lower total cost, and with an ability to rapidly scale to even more applications and data.
We're here with two executives from HP Software & Solutions to learn more about what BSA is and why it's proving essential to managed and productive cloud computing adoption: Mark Shoemaker, Executive Program Manager for Cloud Computing in the Software & Solutions Group at HP, and Venkat Devraj,
Chief Technology Officer for Application Automation, also in HP’s
Software & Solutions Group. The discussion is moderated by
BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Here are some excerpts:
Shoemaker: There is hardly a place we go that we don’t end up talking to our customers about cloud. Most of the enterprise customers we talk to are looking at private cloud,
the internal cloud solution that they own, that they then provide to
their business partners, whether that’s the development teams or other
elements in their business. Most of them are looking to build on the virtualization work that they've already done.
They want to improve their productivity, definitely get better utilization out of what they have already got.
They want IT to be your better partner in the business. What that
means is to shorten the time that the business has to wait for the
Devraj: There is also an interesting micro trend that’s occurring. A lot of the application teams, end-user business teams, are
getting increasingly sophisticated. They're learning about private
cloud implementations. Consequently, they're demanding levels of
service from IT that are difficult to provide without a private cloud.
For example, because of things like agile development
methodologies, application teams are doing a lot more application
deployments and code releases than ever before. It's not uncommon to see
dozens of application releases for different applications happening
during the same day.
IT operations are just bombarded with these requirements and requests, and they are just unable to keep up based on yesterday’s processes, which are relatively static. These application teams and business unit teams are quite influential.
even willing to fund specific initiatives to allow their teams to
work in self-service mode, and IT ops are finding themselves in
reactive mode. They have to support them, make their internal
processes more fluid and dynamic, and leveraging technology that
allows that kind of dynamism.
... The third-party
companies, the cloud providers, the pure-play server enablers, have an
unfair advantage. Because they were started relatively recently, in
the last few years, they have the advantage of standardized platforms
and delivery units.
They can say, "Okay, I'm going to deliver only Linux-based
platforms, Windows-based platforms, or certain applications." When
you look at the typical enterprise today, however, IT has a lot more
There is a lot of prevailing heterogeneity in terms of multiple software platforms and versions. There is a lack of standardization.
It's very difficult to talk about cloud and delivery within the
enterprise in the same breath, when you look at these kinds of
As a result, IT is undergoing a lot of
pressure—but they have to deliver given the kind of challenges that
they face. That’s going to require a lot of education and access to
the right kind of technology, training, and guidance.
Just to add to Venkat’s comment, we're seeing the business driving IT
and demanding that agility and that flexibility. We talk to a lot of
our customers, where their own coworkers have taken corporate credit cards and gone out into the public cloud, procured space, and have begun developing outside of them. IT really has to get in front of this. They have to manage all this.
... The one thing that’s different about cloud is that it really is a supply chain.
It’s the supply chain of IT technology that the business consumes. If
you think about what a supply chain is, it’s something that’s got to
be repeatable. It has to be governed, and it provides a baseline or
foundation and building blocks to build those services that you can
then customize on top of the business.
So, the farther up that you can go with your
standard building blocks, the less difficult it is to manage and focus
on the custom business-facing functions on the front-end.
do this, cloud has helped us out in a lot of ways. One of the
challenges IT has always had is to get the business to consume
standards. Because of a lot of hype in the market, the business
absolutely is convinced that they get it, and they want the business benefits that cloud offers.
if the business decides to go to a public cloud, they still have to
consume those elements in a standard fashion. There's no way out of
Devraj: And yet, the software
used by these enterprises tends to be disparate, heterogeneous, and
requires a lot of domain knowledge to be able to manage, resulting in
significant delays and bottlenecks associated with service delivery.
Those processes just don’t scale in the cloud.
Stratavia we had built a patented technology to manage and control
varied software stacks, such as databases, web servers, application
servers, and even well-known packaged applications, including Microsoft Exchange, Oracle E-Business Suite, and SAP.
that I talk about becomes an abstraction layer, where the customer,
the end user, the people who consume the services, see a very easy to
understand service catalog. They can click on it. They can choose some
menu options, some values from a drop-down box, and then specify
exactly what they need, and have the response come back in minutes and
in hours, rather than days and weeks, as is traditionally the case.
example, just at the database layer, within the enterprise, it's very
common to see four or five different platforms in use, such as DB2,
SQL Server, Oracle, and so on. By automating the operations
management lifecycle around these layers, Stratavia has made it
possible for the enterprise to deliver and manage these assets as a service within the context of the cloud.
more and more of HP’s and Stratavia’s joint customers started seeing
value in that capability, HP brought Stratavia into its BSA/Business Technology Optimization umbrella.
a big gap in IT today, which is IT/Ops Engineering or IT/Ops
Architecture. That’s a big missing silo within IT/Ops. And a lot of the
operators today that rely on scripts, command-line stuff, and
point-and-click tools need to evolve themselves to more of an architect
approach. They need more of taking stock of the big picture, and
taking the tribal knowledge that they have in their heads and looking
at the out-of-the-box content that HP provides and selecting the right
content that corresponds to their tribal knowledge.
go into the cloud, the underlying management, things like compliance
and governance, are not out of whack. They're able to successfully
take that knowledge, put it in there, and then, in their new role as
architects or engineering folks, they're able to watch, measure, and
make modifications as appropriate.
So, the role that people
play, that key subject matter experts play, is very crucial as part of
walking before running with automation.
Gardner: Now that you have mentioned Stratavia, and for the benefit of our listeners and readers, HP has acquired Stratavia, and there was also quite a bit of related product and service news on Sept. 15 around BSA as the acquisition was unveiled.
Obviously, the Stratavia acquisition was a huge, huge win for us, and
puts us in a great position to help our customers transform their
infrastructure. ... And several other things have happened in the last
60 days. We had VMworld, and we presented a cohesive strategy for infrastructure and even PaaS built on the BladeSystem Matrix hardware platform that we have, Converged Infrastructure. We've combined that with two other pieces and a piece of Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software.
is a consulting and a professional services-led engagement capability
where we come in and work with the customer to get that transformation
process nailed, so we can quickly get them moving into the cloud
On the back end of that, there is another piece that we announced called Cloud Maps,
which is really more knowledge, but in a different capacity, in that
it offers downloadable templates, preconfigured applications, and best
practices for sizing.
see the Stratavia acquisition fueling this fire, because in the end,
cloud is a solution, and a solution needs content, and content wins.
Content is what the customer is able to consume and use day one, when
the solution is in. So it's important. And we've done a lot there.
now have a best-in-class content provider in Stratavia that’s come on
board to help round out the capabilities and add more into what the
customer can get out of our solutions in very quick order.
that sits on a recently refreshed BSA portfolio, with significant
enhancements and new capabilities across network, automations, servers,
and storage, that really makes all this happen.
face it, a lot of the CIOs are looking at a data center that’s packed
full of applications that they probably don’t feel as if they have
got a good handle on. Now, cloud is coming into the picture, and
they've got two things to do here.
Number one, they need to
start applying those new business methodologies to IT around providing
cloud and the things that go with that, but also they have got a
transformation piece to go along. And that can be very daunting.
What we've done is looked at the experience of helping previous customers do that work and we have applied that into the CloudStart and Cloud Maps, CloudStart being the planning and the upfront work that you need to get done.
So, we're right there with you. You don’t have to read chapter one of the book.
as we put the infrastructure in with CSA for Matrix in the frame,
we're embedding some of the CSA software inside of the Blade Matrix
frame. So you have a way to build infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and manage it through the platform throughout the lifecycle.
on the back end of that, we have the preconfigured application
templates. If I need a SQL Server image to put into the system, I can
pull that from Cloud Maps, build it into a framework and offer that very
quickly. I don’t have to go and figure out how to size for this piece
or what golden template looks like for this application.
really about obtaining a running start into the cloud, and one that’s
not going to leave you wanting in a year or two. You have to be
careful. Cloud is a great enablement technology and a lot of people
are looking at IaaS, but that’s the starting point for it, and then
you have to manage everything that you put inside of that as well.
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