HP products targets hybrid cloud computing

Automating virtual resources key to internal cloud computing set-ups

HP Wednesday announced products it says will help enterprise IT and service providers ease the adoption of internal cloud computing setups as well as public cloud services.

HP, at its Software Universe 2009 show in Hamburg, Germany, is expected to introduce an updated version of its Operations Orchestration software, which can now extend the product's automated provisioning and de-provisioning capabilities into Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The software, sold as a license and deployed on customer premises, enables IT administrators to automate the process of provisioning virtual resources. HP executives say the added features will let companies using both internal and external clouds standardize on provisioning and de-provisioning workflows.

"We already have customers using internal private clouds and taking advantage of the automation capabilities," says Paul Muller, vice president of software products strategic marketing for HP Software & Solutions. "Now they can also seamlessly provision into the cloud."

With such a capability, Operations Orchestration could help enterprises with mixed environments allocate resources in a consistent manner, industry watchers say.

"This news is playing into the hybrid cloud, which is the most popular deployment model, according to our research. It shows more than 60 per cent of organizations planning cloud intend to adopt it using a hybrid internal and external model," says Andi Mann, vice president of research at Enterprise Management Associates. "HP brings together a lot of management capabilities and applies them to the virtual environment, and it connects many moving parts together, which is really HP's strong point. Most management vendors aren't ready for the hybrid cloud yet."

Operations Orchestration is available now, and HP says the starting price is $US125,000.

Another extension of existing products from HP this week is Cloud Assure for Cost Control. This software-as-a-software application uses SiteScope technology HP acquired with Mercury Interactive in 2006. This service is designed to take on the challenge of monitoring application performance when the application doesn't run in the customer environment. The service, typically run when an application is first deployed, upgraded or undergoing other significant changes, tests the cloud provider's infrastructure to ensure the application is configured for optimal performance.

"Cloud providers' infrastructure will vary from the customer environment and from other cloud providers," Muller explains. "HP Cloud Assure for Cost Control helps customers understand and predict how their application will behave in the cloud environment and also helps them diagnose and optimize their apps to be migrated to the cloud.

Also available immediately, the application is priced starting at $US50,000.

HP also plans to discuss technology targeted at service providers and not slated to be available until later in the first quarter of 2010. HP Communications as a Service program, or HP CaaS, will let service providers offer small and midsize businesses cloud-based services on an outsourced basis. Among the services expected to be available are self-service interactive voice response (IVR) and video surveillance from HP. Unified communications and IP contact center services will be made available from partners. HP executives say the program aims to make cloud computing services more easily digestible for smaller companies by reducing complexity and costs and providing services on demand.

"It will enable a single integration of this aggregation platform into their environment, which will make adding new services as they go forward easier and less expensive," says Tim Marsden, chief technologist of Communications and Media Solutions for HP Software & Solutions. "This will help SMBs speed their time to market and get into communications-focused services."

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