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Integrating BladeSystem Matrix into a Chargeback or Billing system

I got a call last week enquiring how the IaaS APIs of BladeSystem Matrix (Matrix) could be used to integrate with a chargeback or billing system at a customer site. its a snowy day in Boulder and being a fair weather skier I thought I would spend a few moments and put together some examples of how you could do this.


How Matrix calculates a service cost


Matrix service templates are listed in the template catalog, which shows their name, a description of the service template, and an associated service cost. This cost is calculated by adding the individual costs of each of the service elements in the template together. For example, in a service template the service designer specifies costs for each class of server, for each GB of a class of storage, and for each IP address consumed on a class of subnet. The cost of the service is calculated by combining these unit costs with the amount of each type of resource consumed to create a total. The template catalog shows the cost to deploy the template. However, once the service is deployed, the user can choose to add additional storage, or perhaps choose to temporarily release (suspend) a server. When the user adds additional storage, their service cost will increase based on the template unit cost per GB of storage. Similarly when the user chooses to temporarily suspend a server, their service costs reduces, reflecting that they have reduced their resource consumption. I'm showing an example of the cost breakout chart in the Matrix template designer tool.



Linking to a charge back or billing system


The ListServices web service call can be used by an administrative user to return summary information about the services deployed in Matrix. The Web service return includes information on the current resource consumption cost of that service. Let's assume the IaaS provider wants to chargeback to their customers based on a 15 minute usage increment. They could use a single CRON job on their billing system to fetch usage information every 15 minutes, as shown in figure 2 below.



The content of the CRON job is shown in figure 3. Matrix 6.0 includes a handy CLI wrapper which I am going use in this example. The wrapper is written in Java, so I can run it on any machine and use the underlying web services to connect the Matrix environment. In my example I copied the ioexec.jar file from the Program Files/HP/Insight Orchestration/cli directory to my linux machine. You could also use your favorite wsdl2{java,perl,python,c,.net} tool or the wsdl import feature in Operations Orchestration to create something similar.


Here is my outline of the bash script:


 # sample charge back cron job
# Cron runs script every 15 minutes
#
###################################################################
# charge_owner: used to apply incremental charge to owner's account
# Inputs: service_name owner cost cost_units
# Returns: !=0 if owner has no more credit
function charge_owner
{
echo service $1 owner "$2" cost $3 $4
# insert commands to charge customer here!
return 0
}
###################################################################
# credit_denied: called when owner has no more credit on service
# Inputs: service_name owner
function credit_denied
{
echo suspend service $1 of owner $2
# Insert commands to handle over drawn customers here
# ioexec deactive service -s "$1" -c chargeback.conf
return 0
}


####################################################################
# process_chargeback
# Inputs: processes listServices output invoking charge_owner &
#         credit_denied to perform chargeback processing
function process_chargeback
{
while read -r LINE
do
    FIELD=${LINE#*services*.}
    FIELD=${FIELD%%=*}
    ARG="${LINE#*=}"
  
    case "$FIELD"
    in
         name)  service="$ARG";;
         cost.value)    cost="$ARG";;
         cost.units)    units="$ARG";;
         ownerName)     owner="$ARG";
                        charge_owner "$service" "$owner" "$cost" "$units"
                        if
                        then
                            credit_denied "$service" "$owner"  
                        fi;;
    esac
    :
done


}


ioexec list services -o raw -c chargeback.conf | process_chargeback


The script uses the ioexec wrapper to invoke the list Services web service call. I then pipe the results to process_chargeback  to parse the results extracting the service name, current charge rate and charge units, and service owner. The information is passed to the chargeback system via two functions charge_owner and credit_denied. The sample code has a stubbed version of charge_owner, which takes the service name, charge rate, charge units and owner arguments and simply echos them. This routine could be extended to insert the usage information into a database or pass it directly to a charge back system. If the routine returns a non-zero result (indicating an error), then the credit_denied routine is called. This is another stub which, for now, just echos the name of owner and the associated service. This could be extended, as shown, to do other operations - such as invoke the deactivateService web service call to shut down the service when the user has no more credit.


More Complex Scenarios


The example I've given is very simple, but hopefully is enough to get people started on their own integrations. Matrix has additional integration points that can trigger workflows to perform additional actions. An example of one of these triggers is the "Approval" workflow that is used to gate requests for new resource allocation in Matrix. This trigger point could be used to do a credit check on a customer prior to proceeding with a resource deployment operation.


I'd love feedback about the charge back or billing tools people use today, and what kind of out-of-the-box integrations would be most useful.

About Converged Infrastructure by Jim Jackson

by Jim Jackson, About Converged Infrastructure

About This Poster



Hi, I’m Jim Jackson.  I’ve recently joined the HP Infrastructure Software and BladeSystem team as the Vice-President of Marketing and want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and briefly explain how our new strategy ‘converges’ virtualized compute, storage and networks with facilities into a single shared-services environment to accelerate standardization, reduce operational costs and accelerate business results.



About Converged Infrastructure



Last week HP unveiled its vision for the datacenter called Converged Infrastructure. I’m sure you’re aware that HP BladeSystem is one of the key infrastructure components to build and optimize your next generation data center.  Add Virtual Connect and Insight Software for networking and management and you have the foundation our customers have been relying on for years to get better business results.  Our approach works with your existing infrastructure investments and prepares you for what’s next.  That’s what we mean when we say HP fits within your existing datacenter.  What HP is delivering today is what our competitors and their bolted-on offerings only have on the drawing board.   



What the Competition Doesn’t Want You to Know



I’ll be back later this week to explain more about how BladeSystem with Virtual Connect and Insight Software puts us ahead of the competition, hands-down.   Let’s just say it’s what the newbies at the edge of the network don’t want you to know.  In the meantime, we welcome your comments about how to deliver the converged infrastructure and what it means to you.


 

Extending BladeSystem Matrix through ISV partnerships


By Karl Paetzel
HP Enterprise Solution Alliances                  


This week HP announced new investments to extend the value of BladeSystem Matrix through our ISV partnerships.  Matrix is HP’s integrated offering of platform hardware, software, and services that delivers a shared-service IT infrastructure.  It greatly simplifies the way organizations can deploy resources for business applications.



Because it’s standards-based, Matrix works out-of-the-box for many enterprise business and infrastructure software applications.  To make it even easier for customers, we’re working with industry-vertical and infrastructure software partners such as:






·         Microsoft


·         Oracle


·         SAP


·         Citrix


·         F5


·         McAfee


·         MicroStrategy


·         Novell


·         Red Hat


·         SAS


·         Siemens PLM


·         SunGard


·         Symantec


·         TIBCO


·         VMware






Through integration testing, we’re delivering best practice white papers and Matrix ISV application templates. These templates drop into Matrix’s Insight Dynamics provisioning tools and automate best practices for infrastructure on-demand. 


ISV solutions on HP BladeSystem Matrix help you to deploy infrastructure faster, manage it more efficiently, and use repeatable solutions.  The bottom line is that it saves you money, optimizes your infrastructure utilization, and lets you spend more time on innovation.



Find the latest Matrix ISV solutions at www.hp.com/solutions/matrix.  For more detailed technical information about the HP BladeSystem Matrix ISV Solutions, please read Joe’s blog


 

Swifter, higher, stronger… It’s not just the Olympics’ motto anymore

By Nick van der Zweep


Director of Product Management, HP Insight Software



I hope you’ve heard some of the recent noise we’ve made around key enhancements to our Converged Infrastructure story.  If not, I urge you to check out the news.  We’re accelerating the creation of the industry’s first ‘Infrastructure Operating Environment’ with several cool enhancements to our HP Insight Software portfolio.  Swifter, higher, stronger…! 



As you might guess, Insight Software portfolio plays a critical role and I’m pleased to share several great enhancements for both Insight Control and Insight Dynamics.  We’re now delivering even more value with our 2 core offerings:  Insight Control for essential server management and Insight Dynamics for advanced infrastructure management. Insight Control now includes unlimited server migrations to streamline consolidation.  Likewise, Insight Dynamics now includes infrastructure orchestration and recovery management.  Finally, both Insight Control and Insight Dynamics now include the System Center and vCenter integration resulting from our joint development with Microsoft and VMware ensuring our customers receive the ProLiant and BladeSystem experience they’ve come to expect regardless of their management platform.



Provisioning is another area we’ve concentrated on this round.  Just one cool thing to mention is the ability to provision more than just infrastructure. We now have the ability to provision applications on top of the infrastructure as well. We do this by integrating with HP Server Automation.


 We also want you to be able to optimize your Converged Infrastructure confidently.  Hence, some key enhancements to our capacity planning arena, the main thrust of which is making the whole process faster and even more aligned to business.  We’ve added a host of useful reports that allow you to spot the most likely consolidation candidates, give you a big picture view of how much resources all the workloads are consuming, and even figure our how much each is using to more easily slip into a charge-back process.  


Last-but-not-least is trying to help customers save on disaster recovery costs by now allowing disaster recovery to either a physical or a virtual machine.  You can imagine how this could be appealing in-so-far as you can pack way more applications into virtual machines which could be perfectly OK in a DR scenario.



All of this means that we’re make it easier to manage your Converged Infrastructure:  to make disaster recovery more affordable, expand and simplify the provisioning capabilities, and make consolidation more precise and faster.  So maybe I’m stretching the analogy but it makes me think of that great, concise Olympics motto:  Swifter, higher, Stronger!

Designing infrastructure the way IT wants to work

We've been on the Adaptive Infrastructure journey at HP for several years now.  This week we are announcing an important milestone: BladeSystem Matrix.  We've been really thinking a lot about how customers use IT and ways we can optimize IT infrastructure to make it work better for them.  We recognize that infrastructure exists for applications, which exist for the business.  So we've taken a business and application perspective on how an infrastructure ought to operate.


Deploying an application typically requires an IT architect or team of architects to carefully design the entire infrastructure - servers, storage, network, virtual machines - and then hand off the design to a team of people to deploy, which typically takes several weeks.  This length of time is mostly an artifact of the way IT infrastructure is designed.  So we decided to change this with BladeSystem Matrix.  Now an architectural design is saved out as a template - servers, storage, virtual machines, network, server software image.  Then when it is time to provision an application, it's as easy as saying "make it so" - and in a matter of minutes, the Matrix's converged virtualized infrastructure is automatically configured and the application is ready to run.  In other words, the way it ought to be.


BladeSystem Matrix is the culmination of several years work at HP - creating an Adaptive Infrastructure that is simpler to buy, deploy and keep running optimally.  Applications are easier to provision, maintain, and migrate.  We've spent years proving out this architecture, not just in our labs but in real-world environments, with BladeSystem, Virtual Connect, and Insight Software - so we could learn how IT really operates - and more importantly - how it ought to operate.


Some people tell me Matrix's virtualization sounds sort of like a mainframe.  Others say that the portal interface reminds them of cloud IT.  I guess in a way they are all correct.  But unlike those environments, Matrix will run off-the-shelf x86 applications.  So I guess I've decided that Matrix is it's own thing.

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About the Author(s)
  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • I work within EMEA HP Servers Central Team as a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA HP Server specific information. I also tweet @ServerSavvyElla
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • WW responsibility for development of ROI and TCO tools for the entire ISS portfolio. Technical expertise with a financial spin to help IT show the business value of their projects.
  • I am a member of the HP BladeSystem Portfolio Marketing team, so my posts will focus on all things blades and blade infrastructure. Enjoy!
  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • Global Marketing Manager with 15 years experience in the high-tech industry.
  • Network industry experience for more than 20 years - Data Center, Voice over IP, security, remote access, routing, switching and wireless, with companies such as HP, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Novell.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
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