HP is banking on the fact that setting up a private cloud today is far too labor intensive for most organizations to tackle in a reasonable time. Their new Cloud Start service galvanizes private cloud deployments by combining HP's consulting expertise in deploying large-scale cloud systems along with a reliance on HP's hardware and software. HP claims to deliver a private cloud service in 30 days from start to finish. That's faster than most organizations can deploy a new software application.
"As a research institution, we have numerous groups that have projects demanding peak usage that spikes computing resources. One group demands a lot of computing capacity for a short duration and then their demand falls. Next week, another group has demand for computing. It's a perfect environment for on-demand computing. Once we got people excited about low cost, on-demand computing, they wanted to do it really fast. In less than a month, we went from agreement that we needed a cloud to a running cloud," Greg Ganger, Jatras Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Parallel Data Lab at Carnegie-Mellon University said.
Cloud Start includes everything for a cloud deployment such as application and virtual machine sizing tools, deployment scripts, processes and work flows to new, on-board applications and training for HP's Cloud Service Automation software. The cloud services are targeted for HP's Matrix chassis system and EVA storage systems. At the heart of Cloud Start is the consulting-for-the-cloud service design and deployment. Without a clear understanding of the steps required to automate systems deployment and management, building a private cloud deployment is going to fail.
HP breaks down the thirty days into four weeks with specific goals. Week one focuses on service definitions, application requirements, planning the implementation and other process-oriented tasks. HP's cloud consultants need to understand what you want to achieve in order to build-out the cloud service. Week two focuses on building the Matrix and storage systems to the specifications set in week one. This is done off-site. Week three, HP descends on your data center to stack, rack, cable and test the hardware. The Cloud Service Automation software and other components are also installed and integrated at this time. Week four is the hand-off and training of your staff to run the system.
While Cloud Start focuses on HP hardware and software, the service can also incorporate non-HP equipment. The planning can encompass running parallel systems, but with a plan to migrate to HP equipment as needed. HP was vague on what was included in the package because private clouds and the consulting requirements will vary for each organization. However, HP did say the service offering starts at $250,000, but they couldn't commit to specific hardware offerings. Cloud Start is available today in in Japan and Asia-Pacific regions. It will be available globally in Q4, 2010.