I blog and talk continuously about the new levels of flexibility and business value generation that can be generated by implementing cloud capabilities and thinking about them more strategically than just cutting costs. So instead of listening to me, here is a video interview of Tony Kerrison, the CTO of ING bank about their perspective.
ING bank is in the process of transforming its business with Converged Cloud solutions. Tony states ING will make this transformation by changing both the way they work as well as what they will do. They are looking for new opportunities, allowing them to decrease their time to market for ideas as well as reduce costs. Eventually allowing them to invest more in generating value for the consumer and less on owning hardware.
Their skills will need to shift to concentrate more in areas like integration and portfolio management -- moving from a bits and bytes to a focus on value-based discussion with the business.
No organization large enough to have a private cloud will likely have just HP servers in their environment, so diverse environment management is likely to be common requirement in the private cloud. Yet there don’t appear to be many products on the market that address diverse environments (Converged Cloud) well.
HP CloudSystem Matrix is available as a popular turnkey solution bundled with HP servers, but many don't realize that it is also available as HP CloudSystem Matrix software that can be used with non-HP systems, in existing environments.
As I think about the kind of management required as the automation concept moves out of IT and into business processes as a whole, a much better understanding of the integration needs of diverse environments will be required for these flexible approaches to burst out of IT. Cloud computing is just the IT implementation of a much larger automation trend.
Normally in this blog I try not to get too HP product specific but instead focus on business and technology trends and their intersection, but people keep asking me foundational questions about HP’s ConvergedCloud offering. Asking questions like: “What’s different about HP Converged Cloud and all the other IaaS offerings that are out there?”
HP Converged Cloud is a common architectural foundation supporting traditional IT and private, managed, and public clouds. It has been defined so that enterprises can extend the power of the cloud across infrastructure, applications and information to provide:
- Choice – Finding the right solution for an organization through an open, standards-based (OpenStack) approach supporting multiple hypervisors, operating systems and development environments as well as a heterogeneous infrastructure and an extensible partner ecosystem.
- Confidence – through a management and security solutions that spans information, applications and infrastructure.
- Consistency – through a single common architecture.
So it is not quite the same as just a generic IaaS, since it enables the management of a hybrid cloud ecosystem. Not everything will be going to the cloud (anytime soon), so having a flexible mechanism to manage a diverse environment is an important part of increasing flexibility.
HP ConvergedCloud is built on principles of modularity with the various architectural layers constructed to interact by design. To do this, it includes a variety of capabilities including:
2) Management and security layer
3) Information and reporting layer
4) A common portal – to provide a unifying experience to create and consume cloud services
So it enables more than just a platform for dropping in virtualized machines. HP ConvergedCloud should allow organizations to get an environment up quickly and hit the ground running.
There are so many interesting options available when you begin to look at computing resources as something other than hardware and more as fuel for the enterprise engine.
Last week I was at Interop and I just saw that CIO magazine released a post titled 5 Key Interop 2012 Takeaways for CIOs and Other IT Pros. They were:
1) Interoperability is making a comeback – it definitely is the case that as organizations move to a hybrid cloud infrastructure that interoperability issues develop. This is one of the reasons HP is focused on Converged Cloud.
2) Security needs to be throughout the network, and that's no longer empty talk – I’ve been saying for a long time that security needs to permeate an organization’s architecture. If there is one thing we should have learned from the 1990s, it is that perimeter based security doesn’t work.
3) Cloud infrastructure is becoming a commodity, but new services will help providers protect their profits – It amazed me the amount of time and space that was dedicated to cloud at Interop. There were a large number of providers and organizations selling enabling capabilities. Naturally all of them were talking about how different they are. One person’s commodity is another another’s core business.
4) As resources move into the cloud, IT operations is forced to navigate in the dark – I don’t necessarily agree with this observation. There are numerous ways to provide greater visibility in the cloud. Granted few of them are free, but this is also an area HP has been focused on with Converged Cloud. It needs to look like one enterprise computing environment at the end of the day, regardless of where the bits are being twittled.
5) DNS vulnerabilities are becoming too risky to ignore – this last one is something I’ve heard a great deal more about recently. DNS is definitely a vulnerable point in today’s Internet protocols. OpenDNS recently unveiled a secure DNS service for consumers (it runs on both windows and iOS). It’s interesting how many people are concerned about security… but don’t realize that their DNS requests are sent in the clear and that can allow quite a bit of information leakage. Of course if you always use a VPN your risk is minimized.
I was at the HP booth at Interop today talking with people about some of their cloud issues and concerns. I normally talk with some fairly sophisticated organizations about cloud issues. This audience was different. What became clear to me after talking to “real people” is that they may not be all that concerned about “dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s”.
Some of them want “good enough” solutions and worrying about perfection is just not in their mental model. Some of them want to get their feet wet, since that is the only way they can internalize the capabilities. Others want to save money. Even though the buzz word has been around for a while, market penetration is still not all that high.
One piece of advice I gave technologists (a long time ago) that seems to be critical in the highly dynamic world of IT and its interaction with the business today is: “Once you get the buy signal, stop talking, since all you can do at that point is ‘dig a hole’.” The buyer (internal or external) probably doesn’t care how hard your job is -- they just want to know how easy it will make their job. I caught myself a few times today starting to go down in the details that the folks I was talking with were just not read for.
In talking with people today about their real issues, most of their requirements are relatively straight-forward. They don’t need all the bells and whistles an enterprise class client may require – and that’s OK. You can’t assume everyone has the most stringent requirements you’ve ever encountered. I beleive that HP actually understands this well. Everyone is different, so they need choices, but they need help as well.
In talking to folks looking at cloud its best to find out what the issues are they are trying to address, not dazzle them with your footwork. Getting started in cloud is really not that hard. After all, almost every startup in the world is doing it.
Another old adage that I’ve used when talking with technical leaders that came to mind was the first law of technical leadership – “Don’t discourage them.”