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Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series, coming to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Washington D.C. We're here the week of June 14, 2010, to explore some major enterprise software and solutions trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions and I'll be your host throughout this series of HP sponsored Software Universe Live discussions.
We're now joined by Robin Purohit, Vice President and General Manager of the Software Products Business Unit for HP Software & Solutions. Welcome back to BriefingsDirect, Robin.
Robin Purohit: Great to talk to you again, Dana.
Gardner: You know we're seeing a lot of changes in the market, and this whole notion of management to me seems to be exploding. There are just so many moving parts. People in these larger organizations are expected to manage software and services, manage them on- and off-premises, and also managing more up and down the development-to-operations life-cycle. Tell me how this complexity is being handled. How are enterprises beginning to adjust to this larger scope and definition of management?
Purohit: Our customers are dealing with some of the most significant combination of changes in IT technologies and paradigms that I had ever seen. There's a whole new way of developing applications like Agile development, the real acceleration of virtualization from your desktop and test environments to production workloads, and all the evaluations of where the cloud and software as a service (SaaS) fits and how that supports the enterprise applications.
All these things and more are colliding at once. What customers are saying is, "How do we take advantage of these new technology shifts and new ways of dealing with technology to get dramatic impact in cost, but not increase the risk? How can I do things faster and cheaper, but do things right?"
What they're looking for is a way to somehow simplify and automate the use of all these technologies and their processes using management software, so they get the most they can of these new paradigm shifts, while they keep up what the business wants them to do.
Gardner: Depending on the type of organization, within enterprises, within different units, there seems an emphasis on, "Let's try to use public clouds as best we can." Other are saying, "No, we really want to focus on building a private or on-premises cloud capability." Surely, hybrids are growing more common in many different permutations across these different organizations, and within them. From your perspective, how important is addressing the management issue about hybrid computing?
Purohit: First of all, I’d say that, compared to a year ago, the active interest of our clients in cloud computing has just exploded. Last year was a curiosity for many senior IT executives. It was something on the horizon, but this year there's really an active evaluation.
Most customers are looking initially at something a little safer, meaning a private cloud approach, where there is either new stack of infrastructure and applications are run for them by somebody else on their site or at some off-site operation. That seems to be the predominant paradigm.
Piece of a puzzle
The challenge is that that set of cloud services, that private service, is really just a piece of a puzzle to run their business operation. It's usually slice of infrastructure or certain class of application that’s part of the larger critical business service for their company.
What they have to do is to figure out how to take advantage of that, target the right workload where it's okay to take that risk, select the right partner, but then make sure that all of the instrumentation of making sure they are getting what they wanted out of it is actually integrated with the rest of their operation. Otherwise, it's just another thing to manage.
Gardner: And, while they can control many of the aspects of these applications and data-sets in an on-premises or private cloud, they lose some of that control when they move outside. Perhaps management and governance will be the common bridge that allows them to feel that the risk is manageable.
Purohit: That’s right. Now, the big risk is that the business is moving so fast. They read all the articles in BusinessWeek and The Economist and ask their IT guys, "Why can't we do this?" They actually want IT to move faster to public cloud computing.
So, the challenge for IT is how they enable that level of innovation at the right pace, but make sure that it's all very well governed -- simple things like getting what we pay for in terms of performance, capability, and the capacity.
We're sourcing some sort of elastic-like services. And, by the way, is that environment secure, so we're not putting the business at risk? Then, if I want to change to a different cloud provider or another private provider, how do I do that in a fairly nimble way, without having to re-architect everything that I have done.
That whole notion of cloud governance is one of the most critical things to get right near-term, so that the IT guys can keep up with the business guys, but all the risk is there, it's still going be on the line.
Gardner: As you mentioned earlier, Robin, the pressure on cost is still very high. Do you foresee that managing these issues about control and risk will also, at some point, help define, analyze, and ultimately control and reduce the total costs? Or are these even the same types of problems?
Purohit: It's important to look at where the costs are coming from. There are two really big cost drains in IT. One is that when they roll out your applications, the majority of the time, things don't work well when they initially roll something out. If you think of Agile and the pace at which now new application innovations are bring rolled out, it really means that you have to get things right the first time. The first thing is to tackle that problem, as you go to these hybrid models.
The second thing is that most companies still are trying to get a handle on a right way of simplifying and automating their operation in a very chaotic environment. A typical data center is dealing with 900 changes a month. They might get a million incidents over a couple months and each one of those incidents could cost up to $80 plus labor. So, you can just imagine how chaotic and expensive it is just to run day-by-day.
It's really critical for both, the hand-off of the applications to operation, as well as this running the daily operations. This is incredibly automated and simplified and all focused on the impact of all these things that the business wanted in the first place.
If we do that right and then make extensions into all of these same core processes to accommodate a SaaS model, a private cloud model, or even ultimately a public cloud model, without having to change all of that, you are going to be able to bridge from today to the future. You'll be getting all that benefit and actually keep reducing your cost, because you want to keep doing this innovation in a sustainable way.
Gardner: So, we’re into this environment of change and complexity and the pressure to gain control, reduce risk, and control cost. HP today has announced Business Service Management 9 (BSM9). Give us an overview of how that all shapes up and relates to this environment we have been discussing.
Purohit: Absolutely. This has been a great release, and we're incredibly proud of it. BSM 9 is our solution for end-to-end monitoring of services in the data center. It's been a great business for us, and we have a break-through release that we revealed to our customers this week.
It's anchored on what we call the runtime service model. A service model is basically a real-time map of everything from the business transactions of the businesses running to all of the software that makes up that composite applications for the service, and all of the infrastructure -- whether it be physical or virtual, on-premise or off-premise -- that supports all of that application.
All of that together -- knowing how it's connected, what the health of it is, what's changing in it so, you can actually make sure it's all running exactly the way the business expects -- is really critical.
If you can imagine what we've talked about with virtualization and the rate of change there, people optimizing virtual workloads, new application coming on as being fired in the data center with Agile and maybe some outsourced environments and private/public clouds, that service model better be real time and up to date all the time.
That’s the real break through. Before we had a service model that was really linked to the configuration that we thought was running. Now that they have everything up to date in real time with all of this increased velocity, it's really critical.
So, we've rolled that out, and it's now the backbone for all of our end-to-end monitoring. The other thing I'd stress is that once you have that, especially, in this very fast-paced environment, you can really increase the levels of automation.
What you've seen before
When you detect an event, making sure you know exactly what was going on at the time of the event, you can help people diagnose it and probably help solve it, because most of the times these things are based on what you've seen before.
We've taken all of our world-class automation technology, wrapped right into this end-to-end monitoring solution to automate everything possible. We think this can drive dramatic reduction in the cost of operations.
The last thing, I’d emphasize is that there are a lot of people involved in solving these problems, and running these operations. What’s important is that all of them have a very personalized UI that looks and feels like a modern application, but os all based on one version of the truth of what’s going on. We made major improvements, just overhauling the way all of this is presented in a very rich Web 2.0 way, but also in a way that’s targeted to the needs of every single user in operations.
Gardner: So, you’ve announced some software, some services, this collaboration issue, and some new partnerships developing the ecosystem as well. It sounds as if you are allowing more variability in this run-time environment, but creating more commonality in the management layer or capability and then extending that both outward to the environment then letting the automation, then come back in, in terms of self-management. Is that a fair assessment?
Purohit: Right. That’s the trick. Again, there are a lot of people involved in running these business-critical services. You want to personalize it for them but you also want to simplify what you provide to them and make sure all is accurate in real-time. We try to solve both problems at once, the simplification of the user-experience and making sure that their criticality what we are showing them is all is up-to-date and accurate.
Gardner: What has been some of the response? What are you hearing from the customers, from the folks you are talking to? Do they seem to feel that the solution set that you're providing is aligned with their problems?
Purohit: Absolutely. We had a couple of really great customers speak to the solutions this week. Boeing is a big customer, and has actually has been a longtime user of BSM from us. They've gotten some massive improvements in their service level agreements (SLAs). They basically were in a condition red. Now, they're well over 98 or 99 percent of SLAs, and they've been able to save over the previous solution more than $1 million dollars in cost and have seen reductions in repair time from 10 hours to 1 hour.
That’s even at the current solution. What they have told us as part of our Beta program is that this is going to take it to a whole other level. I can’t quantify the impact, but they're going to see an ability to take on these new technologies and all these great gains that they had with the previous release are just going to get better and better.
That was a great success, and we also had Sprint on stage with us to talk to our customers about their evaluation of the product, and they're incredibly excited. You can imagine that telcos have all sorts of pressures on both cost and agility right now in a highly competitive environment.
Customers like Sprint could have a very dynamic experience. We can run part of this for them with our SaaS offering and they can monitor internally. Or, they can have a cloud provider running part of their network or business partner, and they really don’t know how to change the way that they are going to operate. So we think that our customers’ validity is a huge step-forward.
Gardner: These are two different types of customer, an enterprise and a service provider. As HP helps the cloud providers build out their clouds, if there is a common approach methodology, understanding even culture around the management both in the enterprises and the cloud providers, doesn’t that provide really a whole greater than the sum of the parts, when it comes to managing the entire lifecycle?
Adapt and morph
Purohit: That's right. What we haven’t touched on too much on is that what we're trying to do in HP is not just worry about the data center. We're trying to help customers really adapt and morph these applications into the new world. Most customers are shifting their IT focus on innovating around the application. This means that more of their people who they have internally are creating new IT in the form of a new application for a sales person or new customer-facing portal. That’s going to drive more revenue.
What we're really trying to do is to help them bridge that world, which is very innovation centric, into this new hybrid world, which has to be very operationally tight. A couple of things that we have also announced this week have gotten great feedback. One is a new capability called Application Deployment Manager, which is basically an extension to our industry relating automation capabilities.
It really allows development, QA, and operations to coordinate hand-offs of applications in a very well prescribed way, so that they can make sure that what they designed gets handed off and rolled out into the production environment in a very crisp automated way and a way that represents the best practices and everything that’s been learned in a QA cycle. That was a big step forward.
We've also worked up-stream. We've extended our Quality Management Solution to tackle the requirements problem, linking business developers and QA together, and opened up that environment, so that it's much easier to integrate with source code management tools and development tools from folks like CollabNet.
CollabNet is one of the industry's leading development tools providers. As announced, we've integrated with that new open interface. We also support any software out there in that environment. That’s going to allow us to bridge all that upstream innovation, make sure it’s designed and tested correctly, then hand it off in an automated way into production, and run on these new optimized hybrid environment. So, we really are talking about the whole problem, which is really the thing that our customers are most excited about.
Gardner: Now, Robin, you've been involved with these issues for some time. I remember back not too long ago, when just getting visibility into a distributed computing environment that you completely controlled, was considered a very big deal.
How important is this to you personally -- this notion of being able to gain visibility, apply management, and then automate?
Purohit: For me, this release is an extremely proud moment. This has been the vision that we've had for some time, particularly around BSM 9, being able to bring all these points of monitoring information together into a simple, powerful way to solve those big business problem. What’s changed though is that the necessity to do that now in this new, rapidly changing environment. So, all this new technology becomes even more important to our customers.
For us, particularly, BSM 9 is vision being turned into reality at just the right time for our customers. That’s really the most exciting thing for me about what we did this week.
Gardner: Well, thank you so much for joining us. We've been talking about HP BSM 9.0 with Robin Purohit, Vice President and General Manager of the Software Products Business Unit for HP Software & Solutions. I know you've been very busy here at the show. I appreciate your input and good luck.
Purohit: Alright, Dana, thanks again.
Gardner: And thanks for you to our audience for joining us for this special BriefingsDirect podcast, coming to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Washington D.C.
Look for other podcasts in this HP event series on the hp.com website, as well as via the BriefingsDirect Network. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of Software Universe Live discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett-Packard.
Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast with HP's Software Products General Manager Robin Purohit on managing software and services in an increasingly chaotic environment. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2010. All rights reserved.
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