HP Unveils Vision Of The Cloud's Future

HP is aiming to bring to the cloud the host of advantages and improvements virtualization technology has delivered to enterprises, with a new architecture that allows network managers to deploy cloud-based solutions in minutes, instead of weeks.

April 10, 2012

4 Min Read
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Most networking pros are finding that leveraging the cloud is anything but easy. They are often faced with hardware, software and integration challenges that turn something that is supposed to be quick and easy into something that is laborious and difficult. HP is looking to take much of that pain away with a new ideology of how to set up cloud solutions – an ideology that uses virtualization concepts to eliminate all the heavy lifting and its own technologies.

The world's largest IT vendor is launching HP Converged Cloud, billed as the industry’s first hybrid delivery approach and portfolio based on a common architecture spanning traditional IT, private, managed and public clouds. Engineered for the enterprise, it is intended to extend the power of the cloud across infrastructure, applications and information to provide choice, confidence and consistency, combining HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Converged Management and Security, Converged Information and hardened OpenStack technology.

This involves a new ideology behind cloud deployments, says HP. Its all about flexibility, the company says, with the underlying technology for its Virtual Application Networks-based solutions called the FlexNetwork Architecture. It believes VANs will offer new cloud functionality that speeds application deployment, simplifies management and ensures network service level agreements (SLAs) in cloud and other dynamic computing models across the HP FlexNetwork architecture.

There's more to this vision than marketing hype. In a recent white paper, industry analysts Jon Oltsik and Bob Laliberte of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) spoke about the importance of agility in today’s networking solutions, and that systems must be nimble to remain competitive.

In a phone interview Oltsik adds “HP has put forth a strong vision for enabling networks for the cloud computing era. It is leveraging the FlexNetwork architecture that incorporates technologies like IRF, EVB, VEPA, and Open Flow to deliver virtual application networks that can enable organizations to virtualize their network infrastructures and provide automation and orchestration.”

HP’s timing seems to be on the money as well. A recent ESG survey showed that 25% of large organizations reported having deployed service-oriented architectures (SOA)--or Web-based applications extensively--while another 60% have done so to some extent. Web applications rely on bursty communications across horizontally scalable servers. Therefore the network must accommodate an increase in “east-west” traffic, which it may not be designed to handle.

The truth about VANs and FlexNetworks:
The HP Converged Cloud is based upon a combination of the company's public cloud services and open-source-based foundations that are geared to eliminate the constraints of a closed operating environment and vendor lock-in. Developers are free to use a variety of cloud services management tools and languages, such as Ruby, Java, PHP and Python.The first HP public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings deliver on-demand compute instances (virtual machines), provide scalable online storage capacity, and accelerate the delivery of cached content to end users, says the company. As a result, developers are able to deploy services within minutes and only pay for the resources they use.

In a nutshell, VANs works by allowing networking pros to quickly build a network control plane across an entire network using HP’s FlexNetwork Architecture. With that control plane deployed, administrators can then deploy virtual servers, along with virtual applications across the network, creating an environment that is highly scalable and adaptive.

Most of the magic takes place using wizards and predefined scripts, which remove all of the manual input and configuration that is normally needed when launching a cloud technology. The idea is to use VANs to orchestrate network resources, while creating services that are delivered transparently to the user. In other words, technologies such as Microsoft Lync, SAP, PolyCom VoIP and Outlook2010 are delivered to desktops, regardless of the location of the desktop and seamlessly, giving the end user an almost equivalent experience with their favorite applications, regardless of location.

HP is hoping that the new technologies will help to accelerate cloud technology adoption, while providing enterprises with news ways to use infrastructures and deliver services. “The convergence of cloud computing and connectivity is changing the way infrastructures are built, applications are developed and information is delivered,” says Bill Veghte, chief strategy officer and executive vice president, software, HP. “HP Converged Cloud enables enterprises to incorporate a blend of public, private and managed cloud services with their existing IT to create a seamless hybrid environment that rapidly adapts to their changing requirements.”

HP will be making HP Converged Cloud and its related technologies available publicly in early May 2012. Pricing has not been revealed yet, but is expected to be based upon capacity, usage and contracted requirements.

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