Well it is February already and I am just now fulfilling one of my New Year’s resolutions – to start blogging more often. So here I go.
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with Steve Kaplan, a vice president at INX, a Cisco reseller. Steve is also the author of the blog “By the Bell” where late last year he compared Cisco UCS to HP BladeSystem Matrix. He and I had the chance to compare our points of view on the applicability of blades. Needless to say, our point of view here at HP is quite different from Steve’s support of UCS.
Here is a summary of a couple of areas that perhaps Steve and I do not yet see eye to eye.
1. We at HP do not see UCS as comparable in functionality to BladeSystem Matrix, which we believe is in a category by itself. Why is this? Unlike other offerings that manage servers or VMs one at a time, Matrix uniquely allows customers to provision and manage the infrastructure of an entire application all at once – all the servers, VMs, storage, networks, and server images – through a service catalog based provisioning portal. Further, Matrix also has built-in capacity planning tools and disaster recovery tools that are not found in UCS.
2. We believe that data center power and cooling are substantial costs and challenges for customers and warrant significant attention. It appears to me that Cisco has largely ignored this in their UCS design. Not mentioned in Steve’s analysis is the ability for BladeSystem to throttle the power consumption of most chassis components that consume power including CPUs, memory, fans and power supplies to keep infrastructure running efficiently all the time. Also not mentioned is that UCS requires up to double the amount of data center power allocated per server compared to BladeSystem.
While Steve’s analysis is very detailed, he omits general descriptions of the very capabilities of BladeSystem and BladeSystem Matrix that have made BladeSystem the most popular blades platform on the planet – with over 1.6 million blades sold. (These can be found at www.hp.com/go/bladesystem and www.hp.com/go/matrix). Anyone interested in hearing more of what I have to say about converged infrastructure and BladeSystem can check out this Information Week article.
I appreciate Steve taking the time to write on blades, one of my favorite topics! I hope the dialogue over what customers find important for their IT infrastructure continues, as this is an important topic for our industry. Our many years in the blades business has taught us a lot, and we always look forward to the opportunity to share with customers the technologies we can bring to help them save time, reduce power and cut costs associated with managing IT infrastructure, all while becoming more efficient.
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And BladeSystem Matrix is your lens. If you want to understand how the the convergence of the racked, stacked and wired world changes the rules of the game, start with Matrix.
We've talked a lot about convergence over the last year and how it's more than just consolidating stuff. It's the fusion of infrastructure, processes, physical with virtual, facilities . . . everything . . . to create something completely new. That's why in a converged world, things start to look differently.
Take for instance this picture. What is the "face of Matrix"?
Did you say the rack on the left (and the stuff inside) or did you say the screen on the right (Matrix Orchestration Environment)?
As I spoke with Esther and Brad at the Matrix booth, I was curious what customers saw. No one wanted to see inside the server, the enclosure, the switch. It didn't matter. That's just the pool of resouces. The "WOW" came from how easy it was to design the architecture, do capacity planning, combine virtual and physical, set up disaster recovery and automate provisioning of complex infrastructure. Configuring and provisioning the network, storage, and compute "just happen" within the Matrix. Right on! One infrastructure, any workload, on the fly. That's is the future the private cloud delivers to your data center.
I was thrilled to hear that so many folks get it. Connect the dots a little further . . . in a POD, from the cloud, in the rain, on a train, in a box, with a fox - you can have your infrastructure any way you want it.
In that future, you won't care about the stuff inside; only the services delivered, what they costs and how fast you can get them. The future I see coming into focus is the converged infrastructure (melding the best of HP: NonStop, SuperDome, XP, EVA, LeftHand, ProLiant, ProCurve, and BladeSystem) all controlled and interconnected as one. Inside that "matrix cloud". You decide how to carve up the best resources for your workloads and data and Matrix does the rest.
After thinking over Paul Millers' presentation last night, here's what stuck with me.
Convergence is the mega-trend
- It's a bigger idea with bigger implications than consolidation and unification - it's transformational
- Convergence collapses the stack. That means fewer stuff, less cost, complexity in a converged infrastructure.
- HP is looking at processes, applications, facilities and more as part of convergence - not just server, network, storage
Everything as a Service is about economics
- Virtual storage delivered as service is a powerful idea for virtual infrastructures. Think a SAN at the costs of a bunch of disks over Ethernet. Big economic shift there.
- Private clouds are about time to market. The example of how one HP customer could go from 33 days to 108 minutes to design, deploy and go live with their infrastructure solution is not only a huge savings, but a huge competitive advantage.
- Extreme scale brings extreme challenges. The economics in that reality are about pennies and seconds. You really have to think differently.