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Monday
Mar172008

HP and IaaS

Somewhere behind the shock of JPMorgan Chase buying Bear Stearns for $2 a share, there's the HP launch of a well considered Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering.... a virtual data center for enterprise class computing. Larry Dignan and Dan Kusnetzky do a nice job of summarizing the announcements.


As for the competition, what caught my attention is Dignan's reference to the Forrester Research list of players. With the exception of Amazon's AWS (which has some heft but appeals to a long-tail part of the market), that list of Cloud Providers looks terribly thin... not exactly what I'd call competition for enterprise computing offers. Sorry... this is a not yet a competitive market ... not by a long shot. HP's stolen a march on everyone, with the possible exception of those parts of the ecosystem we rarely hear about ... the big services outfits like T-Systems and their Dynamic Services for SAP Applications. That's the competition.


I'm looking forward to digging into the details of HP Insight Dynamics - VSE and Operations Orchestration, the software enhancements HP is really going to deliver. The (rhetorical ?) question continues to be asked as to whether "... business will bite on data center in the cloud?" (to use ZDNet's turn of phrase). My simpleminded analysis says that, given its current reliance on in-house data centers, enterprise IT can't and won't rely on virtual data centers / outsourced data centers until they have a technical and operational means of integrating both forms in a (dare I say it?) form of infrastructure collaboration.


The idea is that, when reallocating load for a SAP application or scaling out to meet the requirements of the end-of-month analyses, the systems which manage the application should be blind as to whether the resources are in the cloud or in the enterprise data center. This ability to span or bridge the in-house and outsourced data center operation is almost impossible today unless the data center infrastructure is purpose-built for just that kind of operation. The solution relies on interoperability of the outsourced service and in-house data center: they must both operate as utilities and have the same or compatible infrastructures.


Perhaps, if HP's offer gets adopted by enterprise for the in-house, next generation data center, they will create a demand for their IaaS . That strikes me as a limited market. Rather than a single infrastructure technology on both service side and in-house side, the necessity is one of "compatible" or communicating infrastructures. In order for collaborative data center infrastructures to come about, a piece of network virtualization infrastructure needs to come into existence.

Reader Comments (2)

When you say

"enterprise IT can't and won't rely on virtual data centers / outsourced data centers until they have a technical and operational means of integrating both forms in a (dare I say it?) form of infrastructure collaboration."

I applaud. But I think this collaboration won't be as opaque to enterprise IT administrators as you seem to later assume. I don't think we are anywhere near this:

"the systems which manage the application should be blind as to whether the resources are in the cloud or in the enterprise data center."

I think the IT management systems will be aware of the alternatives (and not just between in-house and utility but also between different utility providers). What's important is that they have enough insight (data), capabilities (actions that can take place automatically) and knowledge (knowing the rules to decide when/how to use utility offerings) to efficiently manage the integrated data center. Very much the opposite of "blind" in my view. More on this in "fog computing":

http://stage.vambenepe.com/archives/165

Mar 17, 2008 at 2:48AM | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Vambenepe
William, your point is well taken. Please excuse my hyperbole.

To your point, the application / application platform should be exquisitely aware of what's available by way of alternatives, such that it can make the best choices (or ask the human operator to make them).

It would have been better and more to the point had I said: the infrastructure abstraction on which the application or operator takes action must be high in visibility provided and quite low in the complex analysis (aka friction) required to effect the decisions. Thanks.
Mar 17, 2008 at 4:40AM | Unregistered CommenterRich Miller

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