18 Mar 2015

HP Helion Cloud portfolio explained

I have a confession to make. From the very day all the hype about so-called “Cloud” began years back, I was everything but convinced. That’s mainly because for me, there was absolutely nothing new: it’s all about the same geeky stuff like servers, storage arrays, networking and virtualization we’ve had around for years or decades even. For a long time I didn’t quite buy all the marketing hype about it but I have come to realize that I’ve been thinking it all backwards, all too technical. There actually really is not anything new from the bells’n’whistles point of view.

First and foremost Cloud is a service concept — it’s all about customer service: traditional in-house services are outsourced to Cloud service providers, service ignition and termination must be instantaneous, pricing must be as granular as possible, SLA’s need to be top notch and security guaranteed. All that can still be running on traditional servers, good ol’ storage arrays and familiar hypervisors but with better service promise.

Cloud is a service concept — it’s all about customer service.

So, in order to keep that outrageous service promise, we need the technology to support that. What are the technical building blocks of the modern Cloud computing environments then? First, we have data center hardware specifically designed for the Cloud, hypervisors, container thinking and so on. All of which contribute to making the data center resources more efficient, dynamic and modular — in other words: Cloud ready. But all those traditional components are merely pieces of the puzzle, they lay the ground for Cloud. We need something that can see and understand the big picture, has everything under control and can utilize the pieces in an optimal way — A conductor that can assemble the puzzle.

For this very purpose there are nowadays plenty of alternatives but one of the most popular and sophisticated one is an open source project called OpenStack. Being an open source project many vendors have taken OpenStack as the base of their own vision of Cloud orchestration. HP is no exception and their version of OpenStack is a part of HP Helion portfolio.

Ari Saareks, HP Finland

Ari Saareks, Chief Technologist, HP Finland

I could try and explain you what HP Helion is but thankfully I don’t have to sweat about it since I have a pleasure of having a guest star with me today sharing his views on Cloud business and HP Helion. I would like to welcome and thank Ari Saareks, Chief Technologist at Hewlett-Packard Finland, for kindly accepting my request to help me out with this and letting me interview him.

Cloudy morning Ari! We know each other from way back and I know that you’ve seen a lot of different technologies throughout the years but what are you up to nowadays?

Good morning Markus! Yes it is true that during the last decade our paths have crossed many times and always more or less around different technology topics. Currently I work as a Chief Technologist at HP with main responsibilities in Cloud, Mobility and New Style of IT concepts. We currently see that world is changing faster than ever and new thinking in these areas is required.

Sounds to me like you’re just the guy to explain HP Cloud portfolio to me! First, in your own words, what is your definition of Cloud in general?

To me cloud simply means a new way to consume and deliver services without technical complexity and traditional financial commitment. Also to me cloud means principles like Self-service, pay what you consume and monitor SLA of the service in real time.

And all this leads to conclusion that cloud is just a way of thinking and delivering services in right time and with right SLA commitment.

Brilliant! That leads us conveniently to Helion. Could you briefly explain me what HP Helion is?

Helion generally is HP Brand name for HP developed cloud related technologies and services. This means that every product including the word Helion is related to our cloud story.

HP Helion is a portfolio of products and services that make it easier for your organization to build, manage, and consume workloads in a hybrid IT environment. This portfolio includes everything from public cloud, managed cloud and private cloud to on-premises infrastructure cloud solutions, as well as professional services.

Within HP Helion portfolio we utilize Software technologies developed by HP, OpenStack technology that we have verified, tested and packaged into a format where it is fully supported as a genuine HP product and of course important cloud related support products.

Now that you mentioned HP Helion OpenStack, it seems there are a couple of different versions available. How are they different to each other and what should I choose?

Generally our Cloud offering can be divided into the following sections:

HP Helion Development Platform
A free open source based platform for PaaS. Idea behind this is to enable free testing platform for companies investing OpenStack technologies.

HP Helion OpenStack Platform
The same as previous but tailored and tested more for full production environments.

HP Helion CloudSystem
Highly optimized engine for advanced production environments. This product includes advanced features for automation like workflow engine which is not available in OpenStack products.

HP Helion Eucalyptus
The most advanced AWS compatible private cloud engine that enables seamless co-operation between AWS and private cloud.

OK, so, if I go for the free HP Helion Development Platform, can I later upgrade to HP Helion OpenStack Platform or HP Helion CloudSystem?

Our approach to cloud is modular which means that any part of the technology can be utilized individually and can be part of any environment, including other vendor technologies. So the answer simply is: Yes. 🙂

Awesome! But how about the licensing? Sounds to me that all this is only meant for the big Enterprise budgets?

It’s true that the general assumption is that cloud technologies are only for large customers. But in today’s world this is absolutely not true. Cloud technologies from HP are either free (HP Helion Development Platform) or licensed either per OSI (Operating System Instance) or simply per physical server. Cloud license cost is not a showstopper at any level, but based on our expertise from existing customers the challenging part typically is missing knowledge from new thinking models and new automation tools.

Operating in today’s world requires new kind of thinking and capability to develop new skills around the business company operates. Cloud technologies are just tools that makes all this possible.

I’m sold. Now what? How do I get started with HP Helion?

I think the easiest way to start the journey toward HP Helion Imagecloud is to contact HP or HP Partner and see what possibilities Cloud technologies open. Next step typically is formal planning for technology outcomes which are needed. This leads us to point where we can select the most appropriate product, set of products or services that are guaranteed to bring desired business outcome.

Cloud is not a destination. It is part of the journey to the New Style of IT and that’s why it is important to have a partner who can help you on this journey.

Finally for the users who want to test technology I recommend visiting at HP Cloud home at hp.com/helion.

Well, that was a pretty clarifying walkthrough of HP Helion portfolio in a nutshell. Once again, thank you Ari for helping me out and sharing your thoughts. All the best for your next endeavours!

I think I have made up my mind. We will go directly for the king of the hill, HP Helion CloudSystem. Actually, the blades, Virtual Connects and 3PAR are pretty much configured and waiting for the installation. More about that exciting project with the next posts.

Thank you for reading, see you soon!

About Markus Leinonen

Co-Founder/CxO of Devilabs and a bulletproof Geek. Certified HPE data center instructor with experience from hundreds of trainings and consultation. Markus shares his own experiences, opinions and visions about everything geeky from business point of view.

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