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Improving IT cloud management with HP Helion

Improving IT management is usually an important gain when going for a cloud deployment, but organisations have to think carefully as to which cloud management platform they choose to get the best results.

This HP whitepaper considers the benefits of the HP Helion cloud offering in enabling companies to meet their cloud targets across private, public and mixed hybrid clouds.

The cloud is transforming IT service delivery, with organisations building their own private cloud infrastructures or moving their data and apps onto external public cloud networks, to enjoy a more efficient way of delivering IT services.

The rising adoption of cloud services is fundamentally changing how businesses consume IT. For a growing number of organisations, the control of IT planning and purchasing is increasingly being shifted to lines of business (LOBs) - such as HR, sales and R&D. Their rising influence represents a marked departure from the traditional IT department "top-down" approach, forcing IT departments to adapt.

Companies have to make the right choices when it comes to their cloud IT management and application delivery. This is where HP can help.

“Customer cloud challenges include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches,” says Martin Fink, chief technology officer at HP. “HP Helion provides the solutions and expertise customers need to select the right deployment model for their needs and obtain the greatest return for their investment.”

As part of the HP Helion service offering, HP CloudSystem integrates servers, storage, networking, security and management, to automate the application-to-infrastructure lifecycle for hybrid service delivery management.

The result is a complete cloud solution that lets enterprises gain agility and speed, and allows service providers to drive top-line growth.

HP CloudSystem delivers broad application support and helps businesses package, provision and manage cloud services to users regardless of where those services are sourced, whether from on-premise private or shared public clouds.

HP CloudSystem software is built on a foundation of enterprise-grade open source OpenStack technologies, providing a common architecture across private, public and hybrid clouds.

As a result, you can be confident that you are using an industry-leading, vendor-neutral, open cloud architecture to build and manage cloud infrastructures. With HP CloudSystem, HP has expanded cloud openness further by adding support for what are known as kernel-based virtual machines (KVMs).

KVMs provide virtualisation infrastructures for the Linux open-source kernel operating system, and support the many versions of Linux on the market.

This allows companies to fully use mixed server pools to support and manage their cloud data. KVM server pools can, for instance, be combined with cloud server pools running VMware virtualisation technology.

KVM support in HP CloudSystem is enabled by leveraging open source OpenStack technologies, which are incorporated directly into HP CloudSystem.

HP clients using HP CloudSystem can add KVM resource pools without disrupting the management of their existing cloud services. This provides clients with expanded choice as well as the increased flexibility to manage cloud costs, security and availability.

Central to the HP Helion proposition is HP Helion OpenStack, the open-source software cloud computing platform for building and managing private and public clouds. OpenStack controls pools of processing, storage and networking resources across a data centre, and can be managed through a web-based dashboard.

The general OpenStack technology is currently managed by the OpenStack Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in 2012 to promote OpenStack software and its rapidly growing developer community.

More than 200 companies have joined the OpenStack development project, including Arista Networks, AT&T, AMD, Avaya, Canonical, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Ericsson, Go Daddy, HP, IBM, Intel, Mellanox, NEC, NetApp, Nexenta, Oracle, Red Hat, SUSE Linux, VMware and Yahoo! HP is one of eight leading platinum members of the OpenStack Foundation.

The popularity of OpenStack is perhaps not that surprising considering its mission statement: "To produce the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable."

OpenStack is therefore a potential dream for any organisation considering a migration to the cloud or ones that are already in it and want a cost effective solution to expand their cloud deployments.

The HP Helion OpenStack Community edition is a commercial product line of OpenStack that is delivered, tested and supported by HP. The Community edition is a free version ideal for proofs of concept and pilots.

The enhanced commercial edition of HP Helion OpenStack, which addresses the needs of global enterprises and service providers, has an annual base price of around $1,400 (£925) a year per server. Fixed terms and discounts for volume purchases over multiple years are available.

Users who begin with the free HP Helion OpenStack Community edition can migrate workloads to HP Helion OpenStack. Major releases are planned for approximately every six months, with minor releases expected every three months. The upgrades will be issued while "preserving the enterprise- and service provider-class stability, performance and security quality standards HP is known for", HP says.

HP Helion OpenStack-based cloud services are being made available globally via HP’s partner network of more than 110 service providers worldwide and in HP's 80 data centres across 27 countries.

In addition, HP Helion OpenStack can be used in conjunction with the new HP Helion Development Platform, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that gives IT departments and developers an open platform to build, deploy and manage applications quickly and easily.

For more information on HP Helion visit the HP website.