Showing posts with label Converged infrastructure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Converged infrastructure. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

How Localytics Uses Big Data to Improve Mobile App Development and Marketing

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect discussion on how big data helps an analytics company improve data-driven marketing on a variety of platforms.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app for iOS or Android. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Podcast Series. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on IT innovation and how it’s making an impact on people’s lives.

Our next big data case study interview highlights how Localytics uses data and associated analytics to help providers of mobile applications improve their applications -- and also allow them to better understand the uses for their apps and dynamic customer demands.
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To learn more about how big data helps mobile application developers better their products and services, please join me in welcoming our guest, Andrew Rollins, Founder and Chief Software Architect at Localytics, based in Boston. Welcome, Andrew.

Andrew Rollins: Thank you for having me.

Gardner: Tell us about your organization. You founded it to do what?

Rollins: We founded in 2008, two other guys and I. We set out initially to make mobile apps. If you remember back in 2008, this is when the iPhone App Store launched. So there was a lot of excitement around mobile apps at that time.

We initially started looking at different concepts for apps, but then, over a period of a couple months, discovered that there really weren't a whole lot of services out there for mobile apps. It was basically a very bare ecosystem, kind of like the Wild, Wild West. [Register for the upcoming HP Big Data Conference in Boston on Aug. 10-13.]

We ended up focusing on whether there was a services play in this industry and we settled on analytics, which we then called Localytics. The analogy we like to use is, at the time it was a little bit of a gold rush, and we want to sell the pickaxes. So that’s what we did.

Gardner: That makes a great deal of sense, and it has certainly turned into a gold rush. For those folks who do the mining, creating applications, what is it that they need to know?

Analytics and marketing

Rollins: That’s a good question. Here's a little back story on what we do. We do analytics, but we also do marketing. We're a full-service solution, where you can measure how your application is performing out in the wild. You can see what your users are doing. You can do anything from funnel analysis to engagement analysis, things like that.

From there, we also transition into the marketing side of things, where you can manage your push notifications, your in/out messaging.

For people who are making mobile apps, often they want to look at key metrics and then how to drive those metrics. That means a lot of A/B testing, funnel analysis, and engagement analysis.

It means not only analyzing these things, but making meaningful interactions, reaching out to customers via push notifications, getting them back in the app when they are not using the app, identifying points of drop-off, and messaging them at the right time to get them back in.

An example would be an e-commerce app. You've abandoned the shopping cart. Let’s get you back in the application via some sort of messaging. Doing all of that, measuring the return on investment (ROI) on that, measuring your acquisition channels, measuring what your users are doing, and creating that feedback loop is what we advocate mobile app developers do.

Gardner: You're able to do data-driven marketing in a way that may not have been very accessible before, because everything that’s done with the app is digital and measurable. There are logs, servers -- and so somewhere there's going to be a trail. It’s not so much marketing as it is science. We've always thought of marketing as perhaps an art and less of a science. How do you see this changing the very nature of marketing?

Everything ultimately that you are doing really does need to be data-driven. It's very hard to work off just intuition alone.
Rollins: Everything ultimately that you are doing really does need to be data-driven. It's very hard to work off of just intuition alone. So that's the art and science. You come out with your initial hypothesis, and that’s a little bit more on the craft or art side, where you're using your intuition to guide you on where to start.

From there, you have to use the data to iterate. I'm going to try this, this, and this, and then see which works out. That would be like a typical multivariate kind of testing.

Determine what works out of all these concepts that you're trying, and then you iterate on that. That's where measuring anything you do, any kind of interaction you have with your user, and then using that as feedback to then inform the next interaction is what you have to be doing.

Gardner: And this is also a bit revolutionary when it comes to software development. It wasn't that long ago that the waterfall approach to development might leave years between iterations. Now, we're thinking about constantly updating, iterating, getting a feedback loop, and condensing the latency of that feedback loop so that we really can react as close to real-time as possible.

What is it about mobile apps that's allowed for a whole different approach to this notion of connectedness and feedback loops to an app audience?

Mobile apps are different

Rollins: This brings up a good point. A lot of people ask why we have a mobile app analytics company. Why did we do that? Why is typical web analytics not good enough? It kind of speaks to something that you're talking about. Mobile apps are a little bit different than the regular web, in the sense that you do have a cycle that you can push apps out on.

You release to, let’s say, the iPhone App Store. It might take a couple of weeks before your app goes out there. So you have to be really careful about what you're publishing, because your turnaround time is not that of the web. [Register for the upcoming HP Big Data Conference in Boston on Aug. 10-13.]

However, there are certain interactions you can have, like on the messaging side, where you have an ability to instantly go back and forth. Mobile apps are a different kind of market. It requires a little different understanding than the traditional approach.

... We consume the data in a real-time pipeline. We're not doing background batch processing that you might see in something like Hadoop. We're doing a lot of real-time pipeline stuff, such that you can see results within a minute or two of it being uploaded from a device. That's largely where HP Vertica comes in, and why we ended up using Vertica, because of its real-time nature. It’s about the scale.
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Gardner: If I understand correctly, you have access to the data from all these devices, you are crunching that, and you're offering reports and services back to your customers. Do they look to you as also a platform provider or just a data-service provider? How do the actual hosting and support services for these marketing capabilities come about?

Rollins: We tend to cater more toward the high end. A lot of our customers are large app publishers that have an ongoing application, let’s say a shopping application or news application.

In that sense, when we bring people on board, oftentimes they tend to be larger companies that aren’t necessarily technically savvy yet about mobile, because it's still new for some people. We do offer a lot of onboarding services to make sure they integrate their application correctly, measure it correctly, and are looking at the right metrics for their industry, as compared to other apps in that industry.

Then, we keep that relationship open as they go along and as they see data. We iterate on that with them. Because of the newness of the industry it does require education.

Gardner: And where is HP Vertica running for you? Do you run it on your own data center? Are you using cloud? Is there a hybrid? Do you have some other model?

Running in the cloud

Rollins: We run it in the cloud. We are running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). We've thought a lot about whether we should run it in a separate data center, so that we can dictate the hardware, but presently we are running it in AWS.

Gardner: Let’s talk about what you can do when you do this correctly. Because you have a capacity to handle scale, you've developed speed, and you understand the requirements in the market, what are your customers getting from the ability to do all this?

Rollins: It really depends on the customer. Something like an e-commerce app is going to look heavily at things like where users are dropping off and what's preventing them from making that purchase.

Another application, like news, which I mentioned, will look at something different, usually something more along the lines of engagement. How long are they reading an article for? That matters to them, so that they can give those numbers to advertisers.

So the answer to that largely depends on who you are and what your app is. Something like an e-commerce app is going to look heavily at things like where users are dropping off and what's preventing them from making that purchase.
Something like an e-commerce app is going to look heavily at things like where users are dropping off and what's preventing them from making that purchase.

Gardner: I suppose another benefit of developing these insights, as specific and germane as they might be to each client, is the ability to draw different types of data in. Clearly, there's the data from the App Store and from the app itself, but if we could join that data with some other external datasets, we might be able to determine something more about why they drop-off or why they are spending more, or time doing certain things.

So is there an opportunity, and do you have any examples of where you've been able to go after more datasets and then be able to scale to that?

Rollins: This is something that's come up a lot recently. In the past year, we have our own products that we're launching in this space, but the idea of integrating different data types is really big right now.

You have all these different silos -- mobile, web, and even your internal server infrastructure. If you're a retail company that has a mobile app, you might even have physical stores. So you're trying to get all this data in some collective view of your customer.

You want to know that Sally came to your store and purchased a particular kind of item. Then, you want to be able to know that in your mobile app. Maybe you have a loyalty card that you can tie across the media and then use that to engage with her meaningfully about stuff that might interest her in the mobile app as well.

"We noticed that you bought this a month ago. Maybe you need another one. Here is a coupon for it."

Other datasets

That's a big thing, and we're looking at a lot of different ways of doing that by bringing in other datasets that might not be from just a mobile app itself.

We're not even focused on mobile apps any more. We're really just an app analytics company, and that means the web and desktop. We ship in Windows, for example. We deal with a lot of Microsoft applications. Tying together all of that stuff is kind of the future. [Register for the upcoming HP Big Data Conference in Boston on Aug. 10-13.]

Gardner: For those organizations that are embarking on more of a data-driven business model, that are looking for analytics and platforms and requirements, is there anything that you could offer in hindsight having traveled this path and worked with HP Vertica. What should they keep in mind when they're looking to move into a capability, maybe it's on-prem, maybe it's cloud. What advice could you offer them?

At scale, you have to know what each technology is good at, and how you bring together multiple technologies to accomplish what you want.
Rollins: The journey that we went through was with various platforms. At the end of day, be aware of what the vendor of the big-data platform is pitching, versus the reality of it.

A lot of times, prototyping is very easy, but actually going to large scale is fairly difficult. At scale, you have to know what each technology is good at, and how you bring together multiple technologies to accomplish what you want.

That means a lot of prototyping, a lot of stress testing and benchmarking. You really don’t know until you try it with a lot of these things. There are a lot of promises, but the reality might be different.

Gardner: Any thoughts about Vertica’s track record, given your length of experience?

Rollins: They're really good. I'm both impressed with the speed of it as compared to other things we have looked at, as well as the features that they release. Vertica 7 has a bunch of great stuff in it. Vertica 6, when it came out, had a bunch of great stuff in it. I'm pretty happy with it.
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Gardner: I'm afraid we will have to leave it there. We've been learning about how Localytics uses big data to improve data-driven marketing for a variety of mobile application creators and distributors.

I'd like to thank our guest, Andrew Rollins, Founder and Chief Software Architect at Localytics, based in Boston. Thank you, Andrew.

Rollins: Thank you very much for having me.

Gardner: And thanks to you, our audience, for joining as well. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of HP-sponsored discussions. Thanks again for joining, and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app for iOS or Android. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect discussion on how big data helps an analytics company improve data-driven marketing on a variety of platforms. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2015. All rights reserved.

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Fast-Changing Demands on Data Centers Drive Need for Automated Data Center Infrastructure Management

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect discussion on how organizations need to better manage the impact that IT and big data now have on data centers and how Data Center Infrastructure Management helps.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on improving the management and automation of data centers. As data centers have matured and advanced to support unpredictable workloads like hybrid cloud, big data, and mobile applications, the ability to manage and operate that infrastructure efficiently has grown increasingly difficult.

At the same time, as enterprises seek to rationalize their applications and data, centralization and consolidation of data centers has made their management even more critical -- at ever larger scale and density.

So how do enterprise IT operators and planners keep their data centers from spinning out of control despite these new requirements? How can they leverage the best of converged systems and gain increased automation, as well as rapid analysis for improving efficiency?

We’re here to pose such questions to two experts from HP Technology Services, and thereby explore how new integrated management capabilities are providing the means for better and automated data center infrastructure management (DCIM).

Here now to explain how disparate data center resources can be integrated into broader enterprise management capabilities and processes, we’re here with Aaron Carman, HP Worldwide Critical Facilities Strategy Leader. Welcome to BriefingsDirect, Aaron. [Learn more about DCIM.]

Aaron Carman: It's pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Gardner: We’re also here with Steve Wibrew, HP Worldwide IT Management Consulting Strategy and Portfolio Lead. Welcome, Steve.

Steve Wibrew: Hello, and glad to be here. Thank you.

Gardner: Aaron, let me start with you. From a high level, what’s forcing these changes in data center management and planning and operations? What are these big new requirements? Why is it becoming so difficult?

Carman: It's a very interesting question that people are actually trying to deal with. What it comes down to is that in the past, folks were dealing with traditional types of services that were on a traditional type of IT infrastructure.

Standard, monolithic-type data centers were designed one-off. In the past few years, with the emergence of cloud and hybrid service delivery, as well as some of the different solutions around convergence like converged infrastructures, the environment has become much more dynamic and complex.

Hybrid services

So, many organizations are trying to grapple with, and deal with, not only the traditional silos that are in place between facilities, IT, and the business, but also deal with how they are going to host and manage hybrid service delivery and what impact that’s going to have on their environment.

It’s not only about what the impact is going to be on rolling out new infrastructure solutions like converged infrastructures from multiple vendors, but how to increasingly provide more flexibility and services to their end users as digital services.

It's become much more complex and it's a little bit harder to manage, because there are many, separate types of tools that they use to manage these environments, and it has continued to increase.

Gardner: Steve, do you have anything more to offer in terms of how the function of IT is changing? I suppose that with ITIL v3 and more focus on a service-delivery model, even the goal of IT has changed.

Wibrew: That's very true. We’re seeing a trend in the change and role of IT to the business. Previously IT was a cost center, an overhead to the business, to deliver the required services. Nowadays, IT is very much the business of an organization, and without IT, most organizations simply cease to function. So IT, its availability and performance, is a critical aspect of the success of the business.

Gardner: What about this additional factor of big data and analysis as applied to IT and IT infrastructure. We’re getting reams and reams of data that needs to be used and managed. Is that part of what you’re dealing with as well, the idea that you can be analyzing in real-time what all of your systems are doing and then leverage that?

Wibrew: That’s certainly a very important part of the converged-management solution. There’s been a tremendous explosion in the amount of data, the amount of management information, that's available. If you narrow that down to the management information associated with operating management and supporting data centers from the facility to the applications, to the platforms right up to the services to the business, clearly that's a huge amount of information that’s collected or maintained on a 24×7 basis.

Making good and intelligent decisions on that is quite a challenge for many organizations. Quite often, we would be saying that people still remain in isolated silo teams without good interaction between the different teams. It's a challenge trying to draw that information together so businesses can make intelligent choices based on analytics of that end-to-end information.

Gardner: Aaron, I’ve heard that word "silo" now a few times, siloed teams, siloed infrastructure, and also siloed management of infrastructure. Are we now talking about perhaps a management of management capabilities? Is that part of your story here now?

Added burden

Carman: It is. For the most part, most organizations when faced with trying to manage these different areas, facilities IT and service delivery, have come up with their own set of run books, processes, tools, and methodologies for operating their data center.

When you put that onto an organization, it's just an added burden for them to try to get vendors to work with one another and integrate software tools and solutions. What the folks that provide these solutions have started to realize is that there needs to be an interoperability between these tools. There has never really been a single tool that could do that, except for what has just emerged in the past few years, which is DCIM.

HP really believes that DCIM is a foundational, operational tool that will, when properly integrated into an environment, become the backbone for operational data to traverse from many of the different tools that are used to operate the data center, from IT service management (ITSM), to IT infrastructure management, and the critical facilities management tools.

Gardner: I suppose yet another trend that we’re all grappling with these days is the notion of things moving to as-a-service, on-demand, or even as a cloud technology. Is that the case, too, with DCIM, that people are looking to do this as a service? Are we starting to do this across the hybrid model as well?
Today, clients have a huge amount of choice in terms of how they provision and obtain their IT.

Carman: Yes. These solution providers are looking toward how they can penetrate the market and provide services to all different sizes of organizations. Many of them are looking to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to provide DCIM. There has to be a very careful analysis of what type of a licensing model you're going to actually use within your environment to ensure that the type of functionality you're trying to achieve is interoperable with existing management tools.

Gardner: Steve, do you have anything more to offer in terms of where this is going, perhaps over time on that services delivery question? [Learn more about DCIM.]

Wibrew: Today, clients have a huge amount of choice in terms of how they provision and obtain their IT. Obviously, there are the traditional legacy environments and the converged systems and clients operate in their own cloud solutions.

Or maybe they’re even going out to external cloud providers and some interesting dynamics that really do increase the complexity of where they get services from. This needs to be baked into that converged solution around the interoperability and interfacing between multiple systems. So IT is truly a business supporting the organization and providing end-to-end services.

Gardner: Well I can certainly see why IDC recently named 2014 is the year of DCIM. It seems that the timing now is critical. If you let your systems languish in legacy status for too long, you won’t be able to keep up with the new demand. If you don’t create management-of-management capabilities, you won’t be able to cross these boundaries of service delivery and hybrid models and you certainly won’t be able to exploit the analysis change from all the data.

So it seems to me that this is really the time to get on this before you lose ground and/or can’t keep up with the modern requirements. What’s happening right now in terms of HP and how it’s trying to help organizations obtain do some sooner rather than later? Let me start with you, Aaron.

Organizations struggling

Carman: Most organizations are really struggling to introduce DCIM into their environment, since at this point, it’s really viewed as more as a facilities-type tool. The approach from different DCIM providers varies greatly on the functions and features they provide in their tool. Many organizations are struggling just to understand which DCIM product is best for them and how to incorporate into a long term strategy for operations management.

So the services that we brought to market address that specifically, not only from which DCIM tool will be best for their environment, but how it fits strategically into the direction they want to take from hosting their digital services in the future.

Gardner: Steve, I think we should also be careful not to limit the purview of DCIM. This is not just IT. This does include facilities, hybrid and service delivery model, management capabilities. Maybe you could help us put the proper box around DCIM. How far and why does it go or should we narrow it so that it doesn’t become deluded or confused?

Wibrew: Yeah, that’s a very good question, an important one to address. What we’ve seen is what the analysts have predicted. Now is the time, and we’re going to see huge growth in DCIM solutions over the next few years.
DCIM alone is not the end-to-end solution.

DCIM has really been the domain of the facilities team, and there’s traditionally been quite a lack of understanding of what DCIM is all about within the IT infrastructure management team. If you talk to lot of IT specialists, the awareness of DCIM is still quite limited at the moment. So they certainly need to find out more about it and understand the value that DCIM can bring to IT infrastructure management.

I understand that features and functions do vary, and the extent of what DCIM delivers will vary from one product to another. It’s very good certainly around the facilities space in terms of power, cooling, and knowing what’s out on the data center floor. It’s very good at knowing what’s in the rack and how much power and space has been used within the rack.

It’s very good at cable management, the networks, and for storage and the power cabling. The trend is that DCIM will evolve and grow more into the IT management space as well. So it’s becoming very aware of things like server infrastructure and even down to the virtual infrastructure, as well, getting into those domains.

DCIM will typically have work protectabilities for change in activity management. But DCIM alone is not the end-to-end solution, and we realized the importance of the need to integrate it with the full ITSM solutions and platform management solutions. A major focus, over the past few months, is to make sure that the DCIM solutions do integrate very well with the wider IT service-management solutions to provide that integrated end-to-end holistic management solution across the entire data-center ecosystem.

Gardner: Aaron, when I hear Steve talking about this more general inclusion description of DCIM, it occurs to me that this isn’t something you buy in a box. This is not just a technology or a product that we’re talking about. We’re talking about methodology. We’re talking about consulting, expertise, and tribal knowledge that’s shared. Maybe you could help us better understand not only HP’s approach to this, but how one attains DCIM. What is the process by which one becomes an expert in this? [Learn more about DCIM.]

Great variation

Carman: With DCIM being a newer solution within the industry, I want to be very careful about calling folks DCIM specialists. We feel that we have a very great knowledge of the solutions out there. They vary so greatly.

It takes a collaborative team of folks within HP, as well as with the client, to truly understand what they’re trying to achieve. You could even pull it down to what types of use cases they’re trying to achieve for the organization, which tool works best and in interoperability and coordination with the other tools and processes they have.

We have a methodology framework called the Converged Management Framework that focuses on four distinct areas for a optimized solution and strategy for starting with business goals and understanding what the true key performance indicators are and what dashboards are required.

It looks at what the metrics are going to be for measuring success and couples that with understanding organizationally who is responsible for what types of services we provide as an ultimate service to our end user. Most of the time, we’re focusing on the facilities in IT organization.

Also, those need to be aligned to the process and workflows for provisioning services to the end users, supported directly by a system’s reference architecture, which is primarily made up of operational management tools and software. All those need to be supported by one another and purposefully designed, so that you can meet and achieve the goals of the business.
IT infrastructure, right up to services of a business, end to end, is very large and very, very complex.

When you don’t do that, the time it takes for you to deliver services to your end user lengthens and costs money. When you have separate tools that are not referencing single points of data, then you’re spending a lot of time rationalizing and understanding if you have the accurate data in front of you. All this boils down to not only cost but having a resilient operations, knowing that when you’re looking at a particular device or setup devices, you truly understand what it’s providing end to end to your users.

Gardner: Steve, it seems to me that this is a little bit of a chameleon. People who have a certain type of requirement can look at DCIM, some of the methodologies and framework, and get something unique or tailored.

If someone has real serious energy issues, they’re worried about not being able to supply sufficient energy. So they could approach DCIM from that energy vantage point. If someone is building a new data center, they could bring facilities planning together with other requirements and have that larger holistic view.

Am I reading this right? Is this sort of a chameleon or an adaptive type of affair, and how does that sort of manifest itself in terms of how you deliver the service?

Wibrew: If you think about the possibilities in the management of facilities, the IT infrastructure, right up to services of a business, end-to-end, is very large and very, very complex. We have to break it down into small or more manageable chunks and focus on the key priorities.

Most-important priorities

So we look at the trans-organization, work with them to identify to them what their most important priorities are in terms of their converged-management solution and their journey.

It’s heavily structured around ITSM and ITIL processes, and we’ve identified some great candidates within ITIL for integration between facilities in IT. It’s really a case of working out the prioritized journey for that particular client. Probably one of the most important integrations would be to have a single view of the truth of operational data. So it would be unified asset information.

CMDBs within a configuration management system might be the very first and important integration between the two, because that’s the foundation for other follow-on services until you know what you’ve got, it’s very difficult to plan, what you need in the future in terms of infrastructure.

Another important integration that is now possible with these converged solutions is the integration of power management in terms of energy consumption between the facilities and the IT infrastructure.
These integrated solutions can be more granular, far more dynamic around energy consumption.

If you think about managing the power consumption of things like efficiency of the data center with PoE, generally speaking, in the past, that would be the domain of the facilities team. The IT infrastructure would simply be hosted in the facility.

The IT teams didn’t really care about how much power was used. But these integrated solutions can be more granular, far more dynamic around energy consumption with much more information being collected, not just at a facility level but within the racks and in the power-distribution units (PDUs), and in the blade chassis, right down to individual service.

We can now know what the energy consumption is. We can now incentivize the IT teams to take responsibility for energy management and energy consumption. This is a great way of actually reducing a client’s carbon foot print and energy consumption within the data center through these integrated solutions.

Gardner: Aaron, I suppose another important point to be clear on is that, like many services within HP Technology Services, this is not just designed for HP products. This is an ecumenical approach to whatever is installed in terms of product facility management capability. I wonder if you could explain a bit more HP’s philosophy when it comes to supporting the entire portfolio. [Learn more about DCIM.]

Carman: HP’s professional services we’re offering in this space are really agnostic to the final solution. We understand that a customer has been running their environment for years and has made investments into a lot of different operational tools over the years.

That’s a part of our analysis and methodology, to come in and understand the environment and what the client is trying to achieve. Then we put together a strategy, a roadmap of different products, that will help them achieve their goals that are interoperable.

Next level

We continue to transform them to the next level of abilities or capabilities that they are looking to achieve, especially around how they provision services and help them become, at the end, most likely a cloud-service provider to their end users, where heavy levels of automation are built in, so that they can get digital services to their end users in a much shorter period of time.

Gardner: One of the things I really like in talking about technology is to focus on the way it’s being used, to show rather than just tell. I’m hoping that either of you, Aaron or Steve, have some use cases or examples where this has been put to good use -- DCIM processes, methodologies, the über-holistic approach, and planning right down to the chassis included.

I hope you can not only discuss a little bit about by who and how this is being done, but what they get for it. Are there any data points we can look to that tell us that, when people do this right -- and here are some folks that have done it right -- what they got back for their efforts. Why don’t we start with you, Aaron?

Carman: HP has been offering operational services for years. So this is nothing new to HP, but traditionally, we’ve been providing these services in silos. When we reorganized ourselves just recently and really started to put together the IT-plus-facilities store, it quickly became very apparent that from an operations management perspective, a lot of the services we provide really needed to have a lifecycle approach and be brought together.

So we have a lot of different examples. We’ve rolled out different forms of converged-management consulting to other clients, and there are a lot of different benefits you get from the different tools that are a part of the overall solution.
We’re providing folks with a means of optimizing how they provision services, which is going to lower their cost structures.

You can point to DCIM and a lot of the benefits you get from understanding your assets and being able to decommission those more quickly, understanding the power relationship, and then understanding many different elements of tying the IT infrastructure chain to the facilities chain.

In the end, when you look at all these together, it’s going to be different for every client. You have to come in and understand the different components that are going to make up a return on investment (ROI) for the client based upon what they’re willing to do and what they’re trying to achieve.

In the end, we’re providing folks with a means of optimizing how they provision services, which is going to lower their cost structures. Everyone is looking to lower cost, but also increase resiliency, as well as then possibly defer large capital expenditures like expanding data centers. So many of these different outcomes could apply to a customer that engages with converged management.

Gardner: I realize this is fairly new. It was just on Jan. 23 that HP announced some newservices that are converged-management consulting, and that management framework was updated with new technical requirements. You have four new services organized with the management workshop, roadmap, design implementations, and so forth. [Learn more about DCIM.]

So this is fairly new, but Steve Wibrew, is there any instance where you’ve worked with some organization and that some of the really powerful benefits of doing this properly have shown through? Do you have any anecdotes you can recall of an organization that’s done this and maybe some interesting ways that it’s benefited them, maybe unintended consequences?

Data-center transformation

Wibrew: I certainly can give some real examples. Where I've worked in the past with some major projects for transformation within the data center, we would be deploying large amounts of new infrastructure within the data center.

The starting point is to understand what’s there in the first place. I’ve been engaged with many clients where if you ask them about inventory, what’s in the data center, you get totally different answers from different groups of people within the organization. The IT team wants to put more stuff into the data center. The facilities team says, “No more space. We’re full. We can’t do that.”

I found that when you pull this data together from multiple sources and get a consistent feel of the truth, you can start to plan far more accurately and efficiently. Perhaps the lack of space in the data center is because there may be infrastructure that’s sitting there, powered on, and not being utilized by anybody.

It’s a fact that we’re redundant. I’ve had many situations where, in pulling together a consistent inventory, we can get rid of a lot of redundant equipment, allowing space for major initiatives and expansion projects. So there are some examples of the benefits of consolidated inventory and information.
DCIM is the only tool poised to become that backbone between the facilities and IT infrastructures.

Gardner: We’re almost out of time, but I just wanted to look towards the future about the requirements and the dynamic nature of workloads and the scale and density of consolidated data centers. I have to imagine that these are only going to become more urgent and more pressing.

So what about that, Aaron, as we look a few years out at big-data requirements, hybrid cloud requirements, infrastructure KPIs for service delivery, energy, and carbon pressures? What’s the outlook in terms of doing this, and should we expect that there will be an ongoing demand, but also ongoing and improving return on investments you make, vis-à-vis these consulting services and DCIM?

Carman: Based upon a lot of the challenges that we outlined earlier in the program, we feel that in order to operate efficiently, this type of a future state operational-tools architecture is going to have to be in place, and DCIM is the only tool poised to become that backbone between the facilities and IT infrastructures.

So more-and-more, with a lot of the challenges of my compute footprint shrinking and having a different requirements that I had in the past, we’re now dealing with a storage or data explosion, where my data center is all filled up with storage files.

As these new demands from the business come down and force organizations onto new types of technology infrastructure platforms they haven’t dealt within the past, it requires them to be much more flexible when they have, in most cases, very inflexible facilities. That’s the strength of DCIM and what it can provide just in that one instance.

But more-and-more, the business is expecting digital services to almost be instant. They want to capitalize on the market at that time. They don't want to wait weeks or months for enterprise IT to provide them with a service to take advantage of a new service offering. So it's forcing folks into operating differently, and that's where converged management is poised to help these customers.

Looking to the future

Gardner: Last word to you, Steve. When you look into your crystal ball and think about how things will be in three to five years, what is it about DCIM rather and some of these services that you think will be most impacting?

Wibrew: I think the trend we're going to see is a far greater adoption of DCIM. It's only deployed in a small number of data centers at the moment. That's going to increase quite dramatically, and this could be a much tighter alignment between how the facilities are run and how the IT infrastructure is operated and supported. It could be far more integrated than it is today.

The roles of IT are going to change, and a lot of the work now is still around design, planning, scripting, and orchestrating. In the future, we're going to see people, almost like a conductor in an orchestra, overseeing the operations within the data center through leading highly automated and optimized processes, which are actually delivered by automated solutions.
The trend we're going to see is a far greater adoption of DCIM. It's only deployed in a small number of data centers at the moment.

Gardner: Very good. I should also point out that I benefited greatly in learning more about DCIM on the HP website. There were videos, white-papers, and blog-posts. So, there’s quite a bit of information for those interested in learning more about DCIM. HP Technology Services website was a great resource for me. [Learn more about DCIM.]

We'll have to leave it there, gentlemen. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect discussion on improving the management and automation of data centers and facilities. We’ve seen how IT operators and planners can keep their data centers from spinning out of control via exploiting new data-center infrastructure management capabilities.

I want to thank our guests, Aaron Carman, the HP Worldwide Critical Facilities Strategy Leader. Thanks so much, Aaron.

Carman: It's my pleasure. Thank you.

Gardner: And also Steve Wibrew, HP Worldwide IT Management Consulting Strategy and Portfolio Lead. Thanks so much, Steve.

Wibrew: Thank you for listening.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks to our audience and come back next time for the next BriefingsDirect podcast discussion.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect discussion on how organizations need to better manage the impact that IT and big data now have on data centers and how Data Center Infrastructure Management helps. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2014. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Converged Cloud News From HP Discover: What It Means

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on HP's cloud initiatives and strategy announced at HP Discover 2013 in Las Vegas.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Performance Podcast Series. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your moderator for this ongoing discussion of IT innovation and how it’s making an impact on people’s lives.

Once again, we're focusing on how IT leaders are improving their services' performance to deliver better experiences and payoffs for businesses and end users alike, and this time we're coming to you directly from the HP Discover 2013 Conference in Las Vegas. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We are here the week of June 10 and we are now joined by our co-host, Chief Evangelist at HP Software, Paul Muller. Welcome, Paul.

Paul Muller: Dana, it's good to be speaking to you again.

Gardner: Well, there's no hotter topic and nothing more top of mind these days than cloud computing. Not surprisingly, HP has made that a major focus here at Discover. There's an awful lot of news going on, and we are going to try to put some context around that.

In doing so, we're joined now by two additional HP executives to explore the implications and business value from the Converged Cloud news and the strategy around cloud here at Discover.

Please join me now in welcoming Christian Verstraete, Chief Technologist for Cloud Solutions at HP. Welcome, Christian.

Christian Verstraete: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We're also here with Tom Norton, Vice President for Big Data Technology Services at HP. Welcome, Tom.

Tom Norton: Hello, Dana.

Gardner: Christian, let's start with you. I guess we're a little bit surprised by how fast cloud has changed the landscape in IT. It's a very disruptive force. Companies and governments clearly see benefits, but we seem to be rushing, in some ways, into something that isn’t fully understood. It seems that HP is trying to bring some clarity to this. It's focusing on openness and hybrid as two very important pillars.

Tell us a little bit about the state of the market before we get into HP’s response to it.

Two extremes

Verstraete: What's happening in the market today, is that on one end, you have startups that are rushing to the cloud very quickly, that use cloud and don't use anything else, because they don't want to spend a penny on building up an IT department.

On the other extreme, you have very large corporations that look at all the things that are unknown around cloud and are sticking their toe in the water.

And you have everything possible and every possible scenario in the middle. That's where things are getting interesting. You have forward-looking CIOs who are embracing clouds, and understand how cloud can help them add value to the business and, as such, are an important part of the business.

You have other CIOs who are very reluctant and that prefer to stay managing the traditional boat, if I can put it that way, in keeping and providing that support to our customers. It's a interesting market right now.

Gardner: Paul Muller, it seems a difficult task, when you're trying to bring to a very disparate market, with lots of variables, as Christian just described, services that fit. We can't have one size fits all here. What's the state of the response to such a market?

Muller: You've hit the nail on the head, Dana. The challenge that both vendors and consumers have is it isn’t one size fits all. When you find yourself in that situation, you only have two responses available to you.

If you're a one-trick pony, if you have only got one technology, one approach, then it's one size fits all. Henry Ford, one of your fellow countrymen, once said that you can have the car in any color you want, so long as it’s black.

It's a great idea in terms of simplifying what your choices are, but it doesn't help you if you're an enterprise that's struggling to deal with complexity and heterogeneity.

We believe that there are three absolutely critical priorities that anyone looking into cloud should have. The first is confidence. Confidence, because you are moving typically mission-critical services in it. Even if it's develop and test, you're counting on this to work.

The second is consistency. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by having a cheap cloud service, on one hand, and then having to retrain people in order to use that, because it's completely different from your internal systems. It's just moving costs around. So consistency is absolutely critical.

Giving users choice

The third piece we talk about all the time, choice. You should have your choice of operating system, database, and application development environment, whether it's Java or .NET, you shouldn’t have to compromise when you're looking at cloud technology. So it's those three things -- confidence, consistency, and choice.

Gardner: Tom Norton, seeing that this field is very diverse in terms of the needs and requirements, it seems like a perfect fit for lots of consulting, professional, and support services, but we don't often hear about them in conjunction with cloud. Tell us a little bit about why the market is ripe for much more emphasis on the services portion here?

Norton: As Paul just mentioned, when you think about any service that you want to deliver to the business or you want to deliver to your customers, that concept of consistency is important. As you start to take advantage of the varying services that are available through the cloud, or that you want to present to the cloud, the varying presentation formats, the varying architectures are an issue for whether you're a startup or in the enterprise.

From a consulting perspective, you need to have a strategy and understand the challenges and complexities of that hybrid type of delivery or that hybrid consumption, and establish some type of design for how that's going to be used and presented. So consulting becomes very important the more you start to consume or present cloud-based type services.

When you start thinking of that design and that whole approach from balancing across the network, to balancing the infrastructure component pieces, you need to have some kind of consistent support structure. One of the most expensive parts of this is going to be how you support those different environments, so that if you have an issue, you're not doing component-based support anymore. You need a holistic-based cloud support.

Ranging from the strategy piece and design, all the way through the support structures, it's important to get ahead of that and make it part of your planning process and part of your overall IT business plan, if you're going to take the best benefit you can get from the cloud, both from a consumption and a presentation perspective.
Having advice from seasoned experts can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of cloud adoption.

Muller: Dana, to emphasize what Tom just talked about, I was in South Africa a couple of weeks ago and we had a CIO roundtable, where we were discussing the future of IT service delivery.

This is a country that represents every spectrum, from the very poorest in the world to some of the very richest. What was fascinating was that there was a mature telecom provider there who had no interest in looking at the cloud whatsoever. We had a mid-tier bank that was actively using both types of services. And we had the leading manufacturer of packaging goods in South Africa who has moved everything to the cloud.

What all of the CIOs had in common was that they said that it's not just a technology decision that you need guidance on. It's structuring contracts and understanding how to deal with termination of service -- what happens to the intellectual property (IP) you have in the cloud. That's where having advice from seasoned experts can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of cloud adoption.

Service delivery

Verstraete: Paul, if you'll allow me to jump in here for one minute, there is one additional thing that is absolutely critical. How do I, as a CIO, organize and transform my organization, so that it becomes a service-delivery organization?

Most IT departments are still in that mood and mentality of delivering infrastructure. That's no longer what they're expected to do. They're expected to deliver services, which is very different. They need to organize themselves differently for doing that. Most CIOs don't know where to take that. Being able to work with them, make them understand what this means. How they could go after that is also critical and complements everything that you just said.

Gardner: Christian, here at Discover, we're hearing an awful lot of detail about a variety of announcements. I encourage our listeners and readers to find out more about those details by searching on HP Converged Cloud or HP Discover 2013. But let's look at a couple of these major aspects of the announcements and then delve into how they come together, perhaps forming a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

The first part, Christian, is this real emphasis on OpenStack and the Cloud OS. So give us a quick overview of where HP is going with OpenStack and Cloud OS and how that relates to some of the requirements that we've just discussed?

Verstraete: Paul spoke a minute ago about these three Cs -- confidence, consistency, and choice. In consistency, what we want to do across the different clouds that we offer -- private cloud, the managed cloud, and the public cloud -- is a capability to be able to port workloads very quickly to build some consistency around them.
It will also provide our customers with the capability to test and play with Cloud OS through a sandbox. So there's a lot of emphasis on that.

Cloud OS is all about that. It’s about building a consistent infrastructure environment or infrastructure management environment to do that. And that's where we are using OpenStack.

So what is cloud OS? Cloud OS is nothing more than HP’s internal OpenStack distribution, with a set of additional functionalities on top of it, to provide a second-to-none infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) delivery that can then be used for our private cloud, our managed cloud, and is already used for our public cloud.

That’s the first thing that we announced. We are building on top of that. It’s an evolution of what we started about a year-and-a-half ago with Converged Cloud. So we just keep moving and working around with that.

We also announced that we not only support Cloud OS in our traditional blade environment and our x86 servers, but also on the newly announced HP Moonshot servers. That combination may become interesting when we start talking about the "internet of things" and a number of other things in that particular area. It will also provide our customers with the capability to test and play with Cloud OS through a sandbox. So there's a lot of emphasis on that.

Gardner: It also seems that you are expanding your support of different virtual machines (VMs), so heterogeneity is supported. As Paul Muller pointed out, it's supporting all the various frameworks. Is there something fundamentally different about the way HP is going about this cloud support with that emphasis on openness vis-à-vis some of the other approaches?

One-trick pony

Verstraete: Many of the other players, many of our competitors, have what Paul mentioned earlier, a one-trick pony. They're either in the public space or the private space, but with one hypervisor. Where we're starting from, and that’s the essence of Converged Cloud, is to say that a company going to cloud is not one size fits all. They're going to need a combination of different types of clouds to provide, on one hand, the agility that they need and, on the other hand, the price point that they're looking for.

They'll put some stuff in their private cloud and they'll put some other stuff in the public cloud. They'll probably consume software-as-a-service (SaaS) services from others. They'll probably put some things into a managed cloud. It’s going to be a combination of those, and they're going to have to handle and live with that combination.

The question is how to make that easy and how to allow them to access all of that through one pane of glass, because you don’t want to give that complexity to the end users. That’s exactly where Cloud OS is starting to play. Cloud OS is the foundation for us to do that.

Gardner: Paul Muller, so much of the discussion nowadays about cloud seems to be about what kind of cloud you might build with perhaps not as much emphasis on what you do with it and how you would manage it after you have set it up.

So we have some announcements here, the Cloud Services for Enterprise application and the HP Mobile Enterprise’s Cloud solution. Maybe you can add some more understanding of why thinking about what you will do with your cloud is just as important as what you're going to do in terms of platform support and infrastructure types.
When I think about the cloud, I like to say, "It’s the app, stupid."

Muller: You have me on my favorite topic here. I think it was Bill Clinton who said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Is that right, Dana?

Gardner: I believe that’s what he said, yes.

Muller: In my case, when I think about the cloud, I like to say, "It’s the app, stupid." We've spent too much time thinking about cloud as an infrastructural component. It’s been an infrastructure-for-infrastructure’s-sake discussion that we've been having for the last three to five years. We were able to do that is because it was the developers who were utilizing that underlying infrastructure, instead of API.

Now, five years down the track, the emphasis has to shift away from raw IaaS to what you do with that infrastructure, and there it’s about making sure that you can deliver an application.

We have focused on ensuring that the cloud infrastructure, the workloads, the automation, the compliance tools, everything around that, are focused on optimizing the application experience. And we started a while back with our Cloud Maps originally. These were automated best practices for deployment and monitoring.

We've added capabilities now in our public and private clouds for things like SAP, Oracle, and other application workloads to make sure that -- especially if you're an enterprise -- you're not spending a bunch of time learning or relearning the mistakes and best practices of others. You can come to HP and get a cloud that is optimized for the application you're looking for.

Application transformation

Gardner: Tom Norton, while we're on the topic of applications, application transformation is the bedrock of what we're talking about. In order to take advantage of these cloud models -- in order to do it in a safe, secure, and non-disruptive way -- we need to be thinking about the big picture around application transformation.

So there is Converged Cloud Professional Services Suite and an emphasis on Application Transformation Services. Tell us a bit more about how that fits into this bigger picture of an open and inclusive cloud approach.

Norton: As Paul just mentioned, when you think of a value that businesses are trying to drive, or the service that they are trying to get, it could be based on current applications that are not functional in that type of presentation format.

For organizations truly to transform themselves as an IT organization and be able to present their service, which in many cases is an application, that app may be something presented internally to business units because the business units are getting some value, or even externally to a customer or to a customer’s application.

Those apps are designed, in many cases, in either a more mainframe-based environment or also in the distributed environment. When you start thinking of presenting it as a service, there are other considerations that need to take effect.
When you think of modernizing applications to a cloud-based presentation, there are multiple layers that have to be considered to even address the applications.

You start looking at how that application performs in terms of more virtualized and automated environments. You also think about how you can manage that application from a service perspective. How do you monitor the application? How is it metered in terms of the presentation? How is that application presented within a service portfolio or a service catalog? How do you then manage and monitor the application for service operations? The user demands an end user experience for meeting a certain service level.

When you think of modernizing applications to a cloud-based presentation, there are multiple layers that have to be considered to even address the applications. When you think about the application piece and the work that needs to be done, you also have to think about the management component pieces of it.

That’s why you'll hear of services around, say, cloud design services that will enable us to take a look at that service portfolio, look at the service catalog, and understand the application presentations and how you can ensure quality delivery and ensure that you're meeting those service levels, so that business can continue to take advantage of what that application provides to them.

So from an application perspective, you have both the cloud design piece that’s referred to that, but, at the same time, you have to address the complexities of the application.

Verstraete: Tom, allow me to add one point. You talked about the application, but the next point associated with that is, on what device am I going to consume that application? Increasingly, we're seeing bring your own device (BYOD), and it’s not just PCs, but also tablets, phones, and all of the other things.

Managing devices

We have to have the capability to manage those devices and make sure that we have the appropriate security levels and that they're compliant, so that I can run my enterprise applications on those devices without any trouble. That complements all of this.

Dana, to go back to a question that you had earlier, this is where all of these things are starting to come together. We talked about Cloud OS and the infrastructure and the environment, so that I could build on my applications. We talked about the Application Transformation Services, which allow us to put those applications on top of that. And we're talking about the other extreme, which is consuming those applications and the devices on which we are starting to consume those applications.

Regardless of whether this is in a private cloud, a managed cloud, or a public cloud, that’s where you start seeing the different parts and the different pieces coming together.

Gardner: As I listen to the announcements on the main stage, and read through some of the materials, it strikes me that HP is emphasizing the hybrid model as
the core. I've listened to Tom on how you could manage your application modernization, build in security, and go about the people, process, and technology aspects of this in someone else’s public cloud. It strikes me that a lot of this should take place in a private-cloud setting, with the opportunity to move parts, if not all, to a public cloud environment.

Christian, we'll start with you. Why is the hybrid model so important with HP strategy. nd I think they're betting that this is the way it’s going to go, that you can’t just move, after a certain point, very much to a public cloud. All these other implications need to be dealt with. It’s the private cloud continuum to a public cloud that seems to be the real issue.
The CIO had better understand the potential issues related to the security and compliance of what is happening, and start acting on it.

Verstraete: It's interesting you bring this up, Dana, because whether companies like it or not, most large enterprises today already have a hybrid model. Why? Because they have a lot of shadow IT, which is consumed outside the control of IT. It's consumed from external services, being in most of the cases public clouds. So that’s already a fact of life.

Why is that used? Because there's a feeling from the business user that the CIO can’t respond fast enough. So the CIO had better understand the potential issues related to the security and compliance of what is happening, and start acting on it.

He can't speed up his delivery of what the business is looking for by developing everything himself and taking the old fashioned approach. I choose an application. I test the application for six months. I install the application. I configure the application, and two years down the road, I deliver the application to the business users.

What becomes clear quickly to a lot of CIOs is that if they take a hard and cold look at their workloads, not all workloads are the same. Some of them are very specific to the core of what the enterprise is doing. Those should stay within their private cloud.

There are a bunch of other things that they need to deliver. Frankly, they are no different from what their competitors are doing. Do those need to be in a private cloud or could they be in another type of environment, a managed cloud or public cloud? That automatically brings you to that hybrid environment that we're talking about.

New core competency

Gardner: Paul Muller, how is hybrid perhaps the new core competency for IT, managing hybrid processes and hybrid systems and managing the continuum?

Muller: Again, Dana, you get to the core of the issue here, which is that it’s about a shift. This is a generational shift in how we think about building, buying, and integrating IT services in the service of the business or the enterprise, depending on where you work.

It’s about a couple of key shifts. It’s about the balance of power shifting from IT to the business. We have probably said this countless times over the last three decades, but the simplicity, the focus on user experience, the ease with which competitive services can be procured from outside by laypeople from an IT standpoint has created a symmetry in the relationship between business and IT that no one can afford to ignore.

The second generational shift is the speed with which people expect response to their ideas. Techniques like agile and dev-ops are changing the way we think about building and delivering services.

Finally, to your point, it used to be that you either build or you buy, you either outsourced everything or you did it all yourself. Now we live in a world where you can consistently do both. I don’t believe that the majority of IT professionals are ready for that new reality in terms of processes and people, not to mention the software stack, the infrastructure stack, on which they're building services.
This is a generational shift in how we think about building, buying, and integrating IT services in the service of the business or the enterprise.

There's a lot of work to be done. It sounds daunting. The good news is that if you take a smart approach, some of the work that Tom and our Professional Services and Technologies Services team have been working on, it helps ease that transition and avoid people repeating the mistakes of some of the early adopters that we have seen.

Verstraete: Just to illustrate and complement what you said, Paul, in Forbes Magazine in January, Joe McKendrick said that 7 out of 10 cloud applications aren't sanctioned by the IT department. Then he asked whether it's a good or a bad thing. I'm going to leave that to a different debate, but it was interesting to realize. This was the result of a study. Seven out of 10 cloud applications are not sanctioned by IT. Interesting to realize, isn’t it?

Gardner: Tom Norton, as we factor what Paul said about transitioning the organization from supporting technology to supporting the continuum of a hybrid approach, how big a change is that for an organization?

Norton: It's a significant change, when you think of how traditional support structures have been. When you look at more complex systems, and you can think of a hybrid cloud environment as being a complex cloud system itself, traditionally support structures have been component-based and they've been infrastructure-based, or application-based. So you look at a storage support solution, or you may look at a network support solution or a compute solution itself.

When you start thinking of a complex system, like a cloud model, and especially a hybrid cloud model, where you have varying delivery mechanisms and varying supporting structures, supporting that can be a very complicated issue. It's one that many organizations are unprepared to do, especially if they're going to try to approach it strategically, as opposed to being a opportunistic-type cloud environment.

Access to expertise

What IT is trying to do today and the question they keep asking is how they can view this as being that kind of ecosystem that has a singular support structure to it, where they can get access to expertise.

That's what HP is stepping up to do. With our own experience, across the spectrum, building on-premise and private, working in the managed infrastructure places, we have public cloud experience and we also have the experience of the integration across all of those.

We can supply support expertise and single points of contact for our customers, where we can help them navigate and help them with the integration support component pieces to quickly target where the breakdown may be, or where they are experiencing failures. We work with them to assist them on that type of rationalization or reconciliation for how we're going to solve that problem.

That’s where the support structures are going to. Think about converged. Traditionally, we've talked about Converged Infrastructure, but now with the Converged Cloud approach, we're implementing Converged Cloud support systems, but we can look at professional services across the spectrum. Once we get into it, we can drill into enhanced data center care around flexibility. We can target and look for what we can do with our cloud system products themselves, since those are integrated cloud solutions coming from HP.

The benefit from a services perspective for our customers is that we can help break down those isolated barriers in singular cloud services that a customer is consuming and give them a support structure that bridges all of those and truly approaches a converged support structure for managing that hybrid environment. That's what we're working towards and that's where our announcements have been all about.
We can help break down those isolated barriers in singular cloud services that a customer is consuming and give them a support structure that bridges all of those.

Gardner: As I read the marketplace as an observer and a commentator, one thing comes through. We've seen a lot of mergers. We're seeing some very high multiples paid for companies to raise the cloud. We've seen Amazon Web Services become very attractive to lots of companies, very fast-paced growth for the market, and for the movement within the market. So the issue here is speed. How do people get to go faster to the cloud?

Christian, I want to just throw one question to you quickly, OpenStack has been, in some people’s minds, a bit slow to mature. How quickly has OpenStack and Cloud OS closed the gap for being ready for more and more enterprise activities? Second, how do the announcements at Discover help companies get to the cloud advantages that they want faster?

Verstraete: I know what you say about OpenStack, but OpenStack started less than three years ago, and we have a pretty robust IaaS stack that is available today. If you start looking at the contributed and the associated programs, there are another 10 or 12 additional modules that are in the pipeline to be delivered over the next 12-18 months. OpenStack is going very fast.

Paul was mentioning software development. If you ever have an opportunity to look at how the OpenStack software is developed and how it is continuously maintained, it’s mind-boggling and is worth looking at.

Putting that aside, what we're trying to do is take OpenStack and make sure it's complete, enterprise-ready, and hardened. That is one of the contributions that we deliver to the OpenStack community -- hardening and enterprise-readying the OpenStack environment.

Set of nuggets

But we also realize that the OpenStack doesn’t deliver everything that our customers want, and that's why we complement OpenStack with a set of nuggets that we have in our organization, waiting for the next modules to come in from OpenStack.

It will happen in the future, but in the meantime, we can give our customers a complete environment through which they can operate. It's an environment that allows them to deliver their private cloud and hook their private cloud with the managed cloud, and the public cloud services that they want to start consuming.

We're trying to make their life easy to start integrating the hybrid environment with what they are doing. That's at the core of our effort, to help our customers moving to the cloud as fast as possible.

Gardner: How do the CloudSystem Starter Suite, aspects of CSA version 3.2, and the Cloud OS Sandbox also come to bear on this need for speed?

Verstraete: The Cloud OS Sandbox is helping people understand. People don't want to understand what OpenStack is all about and how they could use it within their own environment. Cloud OS is a very simple way for them to start feeling how it looks like. That's the objective of that.

The other that you were talking about is the Starter Kit. There is a number of our customers that started by using CloudSystem Matrix within the IT department to be able to provision servers faster. They've done that, they have learned about that, and they know what they can gain with that, but they also know that they would like to go further. They would like to be able to deliver cloud services directly to their end users.
I'm going to be controversial and say that nobody sane is moving to cloud rapidly for the sake of moving to cloud.

They would also like to be able to start automatically provisioning applications, configuring, and doing all of the life cycle management of those applications. You can do that with CloudSystem Matrix with some hooks and loops. But our Cloud Service Automation Tool has all the bells and whistles to do that.

We've said, "Mr. Customer, if you already have this and you want to move to the next step in your cloud journey, why don't you take one of those Starter Kits and put it on top of what you already have, so your existing investment remains absolutely valid, go to the next step, and start delivering those services to the end users?"

Gardner: We can move to Paul Muller on this issue of speed. As you talk to clients around the world and as you talk to enterprises and government agencies, are they sharing the same need for moving to cloud rapidly, or are we focusing more on the vendor supports, and that's where this haste is more apparent?

Muller: I'm going to be controversial and say that nobody sane is moving to cloud rapidly for the sake of moving to cloud. There are a tremendous number of business and public sector executives who see opportunity or a need to be filled, whether it's helping people find hospital beds, ensuring that fraud is detected early and acted upon, protecting nation states, or simply helping to generate efficient global commerce.

Impatient with speed

Every executive I meet is impatient with the speed at which they can move. They see the ability to move or to act on third-party services like cloud as a mechanism to help eliminate some of those roadblocks, both internal and external. The challenge they have is doing it without compromising their core mission or providing reliable, predictable services at a predictable cost, and cloud is a part of that solution set.

But, Dana, this is also the reason why it is a continuum. It’s not the only solution, and in certain contexts, compliance or data sovereignty is non-negotiable. In Singapore financial services, as an example, it's not even going to be a starter. So it's a question of responding to that need rapidly, and cloud is one part of that solution.

I mentioned techniques like agile and dev-ops, which also help you move more rapidly in terms of the development lifecycle, the ideation process. Christian talked about the importance of security as well. There's no point in moving fast, if all you do is wind up exposing yourself faster.

Gardner: Tom Norton, how do you weigh in on this need for speed? Is this something that we're artificially appreciating, because the IT vendor community and the traditional approach to IT is trying to change itself and therefore move. Is the market keeping pace? What's your position, particularly vis-à-vis the services component?
I think it's moving fast because it needs to move fast.

Norton: I think it's moving fast because it needs to move fast. An example was brought up earlier. Think about startups. You can go to a country like Myanmar, which is just progressing into a more capitalistic environment, and they have no infrastructure. They're working very hard to set up a telecom industry, for example, but the infrastructure isn't ready. The cost implications of implementing a carrier structure like this are enormous and they would prohibit it from moving quickly into the market.

A cloud-based environment like this provides for them the ability to get into the market in an accelerated way. In order to do that, especially in something as sensitive as a carrier environment, you have to have everything that was just talked about.

You have to have the implications of security. You have to understand that a single-vendor approach isn't going to be able to satisfy the needs they have in an emerging market like that. They have to have choice, but in order to meet governmental and user expectations, they also have to have seamless integration.

From a services perspective, what we bring to the market, and what we think people are looking for from a consulting and support organization, is to help them rapidly get there. But as Paul mentioned, you don’t want to get there fast and expose yourself to additional risk.

So it's having experience or working with an experienced vendor that has not only gone through startup organizations, new implementations, or done in place transformation, but have also helped organizations design the strategy and plan towards capturing the value from a hybrid approach to this.

People are going to provide different services that require for a rapid introduction into the market. That’s just from barebones to production, but you can think of anything. You could be in healthcare, for example, and there is so much data related to health.

Best information

Organizations now are competing on who can produce the best information based on health trends and patterns in the industry, or how can a healthcare organization provide the best service. You're going to provide better services, based on refined information from past trends and current activities.

So the faster organizations can get access to refined pieces of, and refined access to, systems and applications, the faster they're going to be able to compete in that market and position themselves better. So speed is incredibly important in this industry today, and what's happening is IT is struggling to keep up.

Services can enable IT to be relevant that way, because IT can then respond aggressively to the organizational demands of the business units, but at the same time respect their responsibilities to protect the organization from risk, to protect the organization from excessive cost.

So it's a position for future competitive advantages, but at the same time, due diligence around protecting the business. That's what services does in an aggressive deployment model that we're in today around cloud.
Services can enable IT to be relevant that way, because IT can then respond aggressively to the organizational demands of the business unit.

Gardner: I'm afraid we're about out of time. I want to remind our listeners that there is a lot of news and information about the HP Converged Cloud and other news and activities here at HP Discover that you can find online by searching for HP Converged Cloud or HP Discover 2013, even looking at the cloud news in particular and finding some context for it, particularly around the ideas of openness and choice of hybrid supports, and then of speed to some markets.

I also want to remind our listeners and readers that this is part of a series of podcasts coming to you from the HP Discover Conference. We'll also be hearing from customers and users of this technology and learn more about how they have been deploying and adopting technology for business benefits.

So with that, a quick round of last words. To you first, Christian, what in your mind is the most important change that HP has brought to the cloud landscape with this series of announcements?

Verstraete: Two things -- first, and you hit the nail earlier, the whole concept of hybrid cloud, looking at multiple ways and multiple clouds to address the needs of the business. And second, within that frame of hybrid cloud, making sure that there is consistency across the different clouds, and that's where we're using OpenStack.

Gardner: Paul Muller, what's different in your mind about what HP has been doing this week?

Muller: It is all about accelerating the introduction of applications and improving the user experience. It is not about technology for technology’s sake. The single biggest difference.


Gardner: And lastly, Tom, what jumps out at you as a differentiator in terms of the market in general and what HP is doing?

Norton: I think the market is looking for someone that can help with the integration component pieces of it. As the hybrid and heterogeneous deployments continue to grow and more and more services are offered that way, organizations need help consolidating that into a more integrated approach, so they have that kind of overall cloud concepts that give them the value they are looking for. So it's becoming more and more about integration.

Gardner: Well, we're going to leave it there. We've been exploring the vision and implications of the Converged Cloud news here at HP Discover and learning more about HP strategy for businesses to build, operate, and consume IT services across public, managed, and private cloud.
I think the market is looking for someone that can help with the integration component pieces of it.

So thanks to our co-host, Chief Evangelist at HP Software, Paul Muller. Thanks again, Paul.

Muller: It’s always fun catching up. Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: And thank you too to Christian Verstraete. He is the Chief Technologist for Cloud Solutions at HP. Thank you, Christian.

Verstraete: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, Tom Norton. He is the Vice President for Big Data Technology Services at HP. Thank you, Tom.

Norton: Thank you, Dana, it was a pleasure.

Gardner: And I would also extend a big thank you to our audience for joining this special HP Discover Performance Podcast coming to you from the HP Discover 2013 Conference in Las Vegas.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of HP sponsored discussion. Thanks again for joining, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on HP's cloud initiatives and strategy announced at HP Discover 2013 in Las Vegas. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2013. All rights reserved.

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