'We are open! Like everyone else'
This move, explained Dietch, was yet another example of the openness that HP espouses in its clouds and stands in stark contrast to the integrated, monolithic clouds being sold by rivals IBM, Oracle, and Dell. The CloudSystem Matrix machines support ESX, Hyper-V, and Integrity VMs at the hypervisor layer; HP, EMC, and NetApp disk arrays for storage; and HP, Cisco, and Brocade Communications switches at the network layer. HP would be the first to admit, however, that the HP-only stack makes best use of the CloudSystem Matrix features.
HP is also making slow progress on getting the CloudSystem Matrix private clouds hooked into private clouds, and has a connector for the CSA tools that allow it to plug into the Symphony Virtual Private Data Center cloud operated by Savvis (recently acquired by CenturyLink) and allow for workloads running on CloudSystem to be burst out to that Savvis cloud. This cloudbursting capability is in tech preview now and will be ready for primetime by the end of the year. Savvis, by the way, has standardized on HP ProLiant servers and VMware ESXi for its virtualization layer, and presumably you have to start with ESX images on the CloudSystem to burst out to the Savvis cloud; HP was unable to clarify this at press time.
HP has also broken the CloudSystem product line into three bits (PDF) as it adds cloudbursting capability and chases service providers trying to encourage them to build their clouds based on CloudSystem Matrix iron. The plain vanilla CloudSystem Matrix outlined above keeps its name and is the basic internal private infrastructure cloud that HP has been shipping for more than two years. CloudSystem Enterprise provides a single pane of glass to manage private clouds, applications running on standalone, physical servers, and in hybrid mode across public and private clouds.
Manage your life
The Enterprise edition of CloudSystem also has lifecycle management tools to cope with the deployment and retirement of infrastructure and applications. The CloudSystem Service Provider edition is, as the name suggested, tailored for service providers building public or hosted private clouds on behalf of customers in IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS modes. HP is offering each CloudSystem suite in small, medium, and large configurations, but details on what is in each setup and their prices were not divulged.
The company also rolled out an upgrade service that allows companies that have deployed BladeSystem blade servers to elevate their existing installations to CloudSystem status, and is now offering high-end "solution support" that was previously only available to the top HP shops through its 35 global solution centers to anyone buying CloudSystem setups. Basically, if you are buying into HP's cloud strategy, you are now in the inner circle and entitled to the very best of handholding. Presumably not for free, of course.
The cloudbursting capability that HP announced today is called Utility Ready Computing when you burst to your own internal servers and service providers who want to offer this capability have to join something called the HP CloudAgile program and get certified. Verizon, NaviSite, OpSource, Datapipe, Axcient, SHI, and Harris are all members of the CloudAgile program, and presumably Savvis will be although it was not on the short list. Dietch says that the HP sales team has been incentivized to get paid whether a customer installs a CloudSystem setup internally, goes with a third party cloud provider, or uses a mix of the two approaches.
One other thing HP is using to sweeten the CloudSystem sales pitch is $2bn in capital it is making available through HP Financial Services to finance cloud projects. That cash is available in a number of different forms, including leases for new gear, sale and leaseback for current gear to free up cash, deferred payment plans, and low-rate financing for servers, storage, and networking. ®