Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure
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CloudSystem Matrix – The Open Integrated Cloud

I love being right.


A while back I wrote a blog about how Cisco doesn’t have a Cloud offering like HP does with CloudSystem Matrix.  Some folks asked if UCS compares to Matrix and I cleared that up - No.  Then they asked if VCE compared to Matrix and again I stated that it did not compare to Matrix in that all VCE was is a bundle of servers, storage and networking from a loose coalition of vendors. It is not a Cloud.  Now we see actions verifying this to be true.....

HP's Technology Contribution to the DMTF Cloud Incubator

I attended the DMTF Cloud incubator last week, and had a opportunity to present to the assembled group about the HP Technology submission to the DMTF I had made a few days before. I'd like to use this blog as an opportunity to talk about this publically.

DMTF Use Cases

The use cases being considered by the DMTF cloud incubator are shown in Figure 1 below, on which I have overlaid the scope of the submitted API.  The focus of the technology submission and my presentation covered APIs in the use case areas of templates, instance and a brief mention about charge back. In the HP products I work on the capabilities associated with administration and user management some of which are listed in the other use cases areas in Figure 1 are typically exposed via the product administrator portal, and the underlying APIs weren’t exposed as part of the submission.

Infrastructure Needs More than just VMs

Many of the published Cloud APIs to date have been at their heart focused on offering virtual machines as a service, which some have commented as being overly restrictive. Moreover, many cloud providers are based on a single hypervisor technology. What this means is if you are using cloud for overflow capacity, then the VMs you create in house may need some transformation to run in the external cloud. Or even worse, if you have 2 cloud providers, you may need a different flavor of VM for each. The DMTF OVF standard isn’t a panacea here, given the virtual machine payload is vendor specific, so if there are n vendors in the market place, someone has to write n (n-1) translators. To date, not all hypervisor vendors even support OVF. The offering I described to the DMTF, and the APIs we provided describe infrastructure services that may contain VMs from different vendors (currently both vmWare ESX and Microsoft HyperV supported), as well as servers not running hypervisors at all.

Three different types of Cloud offering are often described:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
    This is the focus of the DMTF Cloud incubator.

  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) – think Google apps

  3. Software as a Service (SaaS) – salesforce.com or gmail

Supporting hypervisor-less configuration is important if you are going to be able provision a wide range of PaaS or SaaS offerings on top of your IaaS infrastructure. For example, perhaps in your Cloud you want to install a database service that will be used by multiple business applications, or may be an email service which has a heavy referenced database component.  In these cases being able to specify and consume one or more 8 core servers with high storage I/O bandwidth would be appropriate. The API I discussed goes beyond just virtual and bare metal servers. It lets you define a service that specifies requirements for server (physical or virtual), storage (whether for example it’s a vmdk or a dual path SAN LUN to a RAID5 volume), network or software, publish that definition in a catalog, and then perform lifecycle operations on those catalog definitions.

Enabling a self-scaling service


Another key element is the ability to define a homogeneous group of servers. If you have a service that uses (for example) 4 web servers, you can define them as a group:  defining the pattern for host naming, the design range of servers in the group (eg 1-6), the initial number to deploy (e.g. 4) and the common characteristics (e.g. 2 core, 8 GB of memory, physical or virtual).  The API includes calls that allow you to expand the number of servers in the group, also to set the number of active servers. So for example, at nights you may want to run with only 2 servers, but during heavy periods have 6 active. One deployment benefit of this server group concept is that it lets you easily optimize storage through the use of thin provisioning capabilities, or with virtual machines features like “linked clones”. Last year at an HP TSG Industry Analyst conference I demonstrated during the session “HP Adaptive Infrastructure: Delivering a Business Ready Infrastructure” the use of an HP product Site Scope to monitor the response time of a web site, and then based on that response time call the server group API to scale up or down the number of active servers providing an “autonomic response” to demand.  You could also imagine a simpler scheme that could allocate capacity to a service using a calendar based profile to drive this same API.

Normative Definitions

The API I presented isn’t REST based, although one could easily map the web service definition I described to REST if that was important. The reason I focused on web services was simple: looking around the industry, many of the cloud API offerings are accompanied by downloadable libraries for perl, python, java, ruby, C# etc etc that implement the particular REST interface. Good luck on the dependencies interacting with your application! The benefit of the standards based web service implementation is that the interface is normatively described in WSDL and there are many widely used open source and for fee libraries that will happily consume this WSDL and produce the desired language binding for you. The security is WS-Security based, which has been well analyzed and a known quantity to the security groups in many organizations.  I know I will attract comments, but I think REST needs the equivalent of WSDL (RDL?) to stop the hand coding of clients and server language bindings. We need some normative way to publish an industry standard interface that doesn’t depend on a hand coded client library written in a particular language.

Room for more work

We still have some way to go towards creating a truly interoperable interface to the cloud. I think the APIs I discussed address some important areas that I believe we need in that final standard. The interfaces described are functional but by no means perfect and I look forward to comments


Join us at the Converged Infrastructure Roadshow

Join HP at the HP Converged Infrastructure Roadshow


Topics covered:

  •  Learning how to reduce your IT operations and maintenance resource costs

  • Remove trapped budget silos that are costly and underutilized

  • Transform your Data Center to operate more efficiently

See how the HP converged infrastructure architecture is breaking down technology silos to simplify IT and accelerate business results.

Day 1 sessions will highlight the following:  

-  Bulletproofing your virtualization strategy
-  Why Converged Infrastructure matters to your Data Center
-  Control Aging Server Sprawl; New economics you can't ignore
-  Unleash Trapped Capacity with Virtual Storage Infrastructure
-  Get out of the Sparc, IBM mainframe and legacy rut with Integrity optimized infrastructure
-  Changing Networking to Unlock Business Value

Day 2 sessions will highlight the following:  

-  HP BladeSystem Matrix and Insight Software: Converged Infrastructure solution for delivering shared services
-  Flex Fabric to dynamically connect resources
-  Unified Storage for flexible, resilient scale-out storage
-  BladeSystem with G6 processors for maximum performance and power efficiency
-  Detailed technical teardown of competitive systems to see what’s really under the covers

We look forward to seeing you there! Register to attend.


US dates:

Chicago, IL
December 8-9, 2009

Atlanta, GA
December 10-11, 2009

New York City, NY
December 15-16, 2009

Boston, MA
January 14-15, 2010

Los Angeles, CA
January 19-20, 2010

Seattle, WA
January 21-22, 2010

Denver, CO
January 26-27, 2010

Phoenix, AZ
January 28-29, 2010

Dallas, TX
February 2-3, 2010 

Houston, TX
February 4-5, 2010

San Francisco, CA
March 11-12, 2010

Shared Services with HP BladeSystem Matrix - Live Webinar on November 19

Getting to Shared Services with HP BladeSystem Matrix

What is the best way to deliver infrastructure and application services more quickly and consistently? How will shared services impact their IT infrastructure?

Learn how you can get infrastructure by the pound, a ready to run infrastructure, when you need it.

Join our live webcast on November 19, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Illuminata Principal IT Advisor, Jonathan Eunice, and HP Chief Blade Strategist, Gary Thome, as they discuss the business and technology implications of shared services delivery. 

To register, visit http://hpbroadband.com/program.aspx?key=111909Matrix.


From #HPTF: The future is coming into focus

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.

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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 am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • Working with HP BladeSystem.
  • 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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