Moving an enterprise to the cloud is all about hybrid approaches. It has to be, because very few companies are willing to ditch their current onsite IT for a complete offload to a subscription system or systems run by someone else.
Hewlett-Packard is as aware of these "take-one-bite-at-a-time" corporate initiatives as anybody. On April 10, the company pulled together several elements from its own catalog, added some new ones and launched the HP Converged Cloud, which, when it becomes available in beta on May 10, will run on an HP-baked version of open-source OpenStack software.
The idea behind this is that enterprises now will be able to construct an open-standards cloud architecture inside their own firewalls -- with or without HP server, storage and networking hardware, by the way -- that will adjust more efficiently to that of external cloud service providers, no matter who that service provider may be or how many are needed.
Seeing the Need, Filling the Need
It will also be easier and more efficient to enable and secure access to the cloud system, whether it be for internal employees, contract partners or customers. Channeling those various interactions is difficult to do well in any IT system.
"HP Converged Cloud is the answer to needs we're seeing in the industry that are really not being met today," Shane Pearson, vice president of product marketing at HP Software, told eWEEK.
"This is going to be the industry's first solution that combines a single capability to manage traditional IT, along with public, managed and private cloud capabilities, to provide access to infrastructure applications and information services from any source."
With Converged Cloud, HP is subscribing to Easy Does It, because this is what users want. Along with its basic open-source infrastructure, the new platform features prepackaged, preconfigured elements that can be dragged and dropped into a development environment, then deployed in the same way.
For example, prepackaged cloud service design templates are included to speed up application and infrastructure deployment. Code and script writing are basically a thing of the past in this scenario.
Converged Cloud is agnostic with respect to hypervisors, hardware, operating systems and development environments, Pearson said. "Converged Cloud pulls everything together into business-critical applications that can be used at any time, from any device," Pearson said.
Converged Cloud also will have a "single converged management security layer," Pearson said, "which lets us provide a consistent capability across all the IT and any cloud platform.
"This is a hole that exists for many people today, because when they decide to build an application and deploy it to a cloud platform, or consume an external service, generally they don't have the same ability to instrument and monitor those services, unlike something they may have built for themselves," Pearson said.
HP also added some new network automation features to its hardware products in an attempt to better establish itself in a market currently led by Amazon's Web Services division.
Background on OpenStack
OpenStack is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud computing project launched by Rackspace Cloud and NASA in July 2010. It is free open-source software released under the terms of the Apache License.
NASA and Rackspace supplied the underlying code -- NASA from its Nebula platform and Rackspace from its Cloud Files platform. More than 150 companies have joined the project, including HP, Intel, AMD, Canonical, SUSE Linux, Cisco Systems and Dell.
OpenStack is still under development; its latest version, Essex, was released April 4. Nonetheless, a number of companies are running it in production servers. HP, Cisco Systems and Dell are among the Tier 1 IT companies that have developed their own OpenStack implementations; others are expected to follow.
Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz