The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Addressing how the Tower of Babel Reaches to the Cloud

Confusion_of_Tongues_top.pngOne of the concerns about both public and private cloud deployments is the degree of “lock-in” that is involved in management and operations within the environment. Once you do all the tuning necessary to get the environment working and integrated with the business effectively, you have little flexibility to move the work around, since the control languages can be radically different.


One thing I find interesting is most of the lock-in discussions talk about proprietary solutions, but you can also get locked in to open source solutions as well. This starts to get into that whole discussion of Technical Debt or betting on the wrong horse.


A group at HP labs has been investigating the development of a lingua franca to hide some of the common tools constraints. The article published at the 2011 IEEE 3th International Conference on Cloud Computing is titled: Elastically Ruling the Cloud: Specifying Application’s Behavior in Federated Clouds (you can only get the abstract without being an IEEEXplore member).


Further efforts in this kind of integration/interaction work will be required to allow organizations to have the freedom needed to move work around their organization’s definition of cloud. As the article states: “The Cloud is still in its infancy and more type of rules will be included as the variety of actions triggered when a condition is met is also expanded.”


The picture is the top portion of the Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865).

IT services-focused podcast

HP WW Enterprise Services Product Marketing, together with Intel, launched an executive engagement program on CIO Talk Radio. It’s format is relatively information, talk show format.


I hadn’t heard about this effort so I thought I’d pass along the info. The program began on June 22, 2011 and will continue until the end of October 2011. There have been two shows so far:

There are HP leaders featured alongside executives from enterprises such as: US Dept. of Energy, Flextronics, Revlon and Black & Veatch. Maybe if there is enough interest, it will extend beyond 2011.

Media and Entertainment Companies Gravitating to the Cloud

manage-now.jpgThe Media and Entertainment sector is changing quickly in terms of content creation, production, and management.


Digital assets are created in one location, shots are reviewed in another location and sequences are edited in yet another location. Making the situation more complicated is the fact that today's biggest productions leverage content from dozens if not hundreds of providers for preproduction, production, post-productions, and visual and sound effects.


This diversification of the production process has created new and difficult management challenges for the content producers. Media and Entertainment companies today need to provide instant access to the same information and assets regardless of geography and time zone while keeping up with exacting security and stringent version controls.


Cloud solutions address these problems.  But what is the Cloud?


In order to understand the Cloud, we at HP like to separate the Cloud into three basic types:


Public cloud—The cloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization providing cloud services.


Hybrid cloud—A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally.


Private cloud—The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premises or off premises.


Media and Entertainment companies tend to select the Hybrid cloud because it supports their unique workflows while leveraging best in class storage and infrastructure management, cluster and grid management, and service-oriented architecture in a multitenant (or multi production) cloud computing environment.

HP Enterprise Cloud Services is positioned to be the leader in this new paradigm. By leveraging its pre-existing utility infrastructure as a base, HP has created an industry specific solution that addresses the issues above.


My colleague Steve Poehlein, Director of Media and Entertainment Solutions for HP Enterprise Services has recently published a viewpoint paper, “Moving media and Entertainment to the Cloud” if you would like more information.


In my next blog post, I will discuss how DreamWorks leveraged HP cloud-like services to produce its blockbuster Shrek 2.

Unveiling new cloud offerings today

next generation enterprise.pngToday HP is announcing a few offerings building upon the Instant-On Enterprise focus from last fall. There are websites with all the details, but I thought I’d provide the highlights from my perspective.

The announcements introduce the following components:

  • HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute with the focus on a more agile way of accessing compute resources for organizations. It lets organizations scale their cloud capacity as much as they like within a range that the customer defines. So there is control as well as flexibility. Enterprises can choose between HP-managed or self-managed server packages – so it is more than just a virtual machine in the cloud (if you want it to be). One goal of this effort is to allow businesses to focus on their core goals like gaining market share, improving customer satisfaction, and growing their bottom line, without having to worry about the infrastructure operational details.
  • HP CloudSystem: this offering is a complete integrated system to build, manage and consume services across private, public and hybrid cloud environments. It is not just about what is out in the cloud but more of an enterprise integrated approach. This lack of a holistic view has always been a weakness of most cloud offerings (in my opinion). The offerings intelligent resource management capabilities automate the allocation of private and public cloud resources to enable an enterprise to meet cost, performance and compliance goals based on their pre-defined business policies.
  • HP Cloud Service Automation is a core management engine for private and public cloud environments. It enables enterprises to manage cloud services with one-touch provisioning and monitoring, include service levels. Too often organizations underestimate the effort required to deploy and manage applications in the cloud. As a result, they often experience costly delays and lose the cloud benefits that they sought in the first place. This tool is focused on addressing these concerns.
  • HP Cloud Discovery Workshop is focused on helping an enterprise develop a holistic cloud strategy. It is more of a facilitated exercise where the organization teases out their issues and requirements. By understanding critical success factors, benefits and challenges, it helps organizations make a more informed decision and helps them stay on the right path. It consists of a number of perspectives (or panels) to facilitate discovery. I actually coordinated the creation of the applications panel for this one with a team of folks from HP Enterprise Services.


The overarching theme is to enable organizations to increase their flexibility, visibility and transparent access to a wider range of computing capabilities -- enabling them to free up resources and support other business objectives.

New Report about Cloud -- But is there only one right answer?

cloud factory.pngThere was a flurry of articles that spun out of a report Microsoft released titled: The Economics of the Cloud, like this article on ZDnet. Microsoft very rightly points out the economics of computing mass production (which might actually be a better name than cloud for the phenomenon). The report discusses the pros and cons of the whole private vs. public cloud area. Many of these same points, I’ve posted about in the past. Like the one about how “Cloud services will enable IT groups to focus more on innovation while leaving non-differentiating activities to reliable and cost-effective providers.”

The report was a bit too deterministic for me though. There are many very good reasons why organizations can’t go to the public cloud. There are organizations that are large enough that they can pay the price for custom levels of reduced latency, security and control. They can even hire others to bring the operational maturity to their private environments.


Even smaller organizations will have reasons to pool skills and resources into private areas of computing, driven by regulatory compliance concerns. The article does mention these issues but seems to dismiss them in the analysis. As I’ve stated before -- not everything in IT is about cost reduction, and yet that seems to be the driving theme of the Microsoft report.


It is definitely true that there are different economic pressures placed on public vs. private clouds that will drive them to different configurations. That’s one of the reasons HP has been focused on hybrid cloud delivery. There is no one right cloud answer for everyone, so understanding how to make these environments work together will be key to making the transition as well as on-going success. At one point in the report they discuss the need to have a “Cloud Services Architect, who determines which applications and services move to the cloud and exactly when such a move takes place based on a business case and a detailed understanding of the cloud capabilities available.” I would have only extended the statement to include the "type of cloud appropriate for the business opportunity" as well.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.