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HP Labs at Discover Las Vegas – Craig Sayers on agility and consistency for data center management


Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology writer




Craig-Sayers_April-2015.jpg“Software developers at large tech companies spend a lot of time writing code for tasks that colleagues elsewhere in the organization have already addressed. Scripts are rarely written or documented with discovery in mind, and the APIs on which they depend are frequently inconsistent, further limiting reuse,” suggests HP Labs Senior Research Manager Craig Sayers.


“That has a real impact on how well we’re able to create, manage, and improve systems that are essential to IT operations,” he adds.


At HP Discover 2015 in Las Vegas on June 3rd, Sayers will lead a discussion forum ("Bringing consistency and agility to datacenter management -- a conversation with HP Labs") exploring a solution from HP Labs that tackles these issues from the specific perspective of data center management and that was inspired, in part, by practices already used in mobile app development.


“Mobile runs on a catalog model,” notes Sayers. “We’ve created an experimental platform called CLASP (Cloud Application Services Platform) applying that model by publishing services for discrete data center operations instead of apps. It includes support for existing APIs, and we’ve also created an SDK (software development kit), so our users can write other operations themselves and easily publish in the catalog for later discovery and reuse.”


The platform’s flexibility makes it of potential use in a wide variety of settings.


“CLASP allows us to take a very diverse set of operations and make them all available through a consistent compositional interface,” Sayers observes. “For example, you can retrieve log messages using OneView and analyze the text using Autonomy, or gather system configuration using iLO interfaces and persist the results in a Vertica Database.”


By adopting a scripted management interface approach, the researchers also make it possible to add pre-existing scripts for local execution to the catalog. Once available, these scripts are automatically converted to web services and exposed via the same interfaces as the other cataloged services.  They can then be searched, found, and used by other developers working on other systems in other programing languages.


The experimental system created by HP Labs already contains more than one thousand services. It supports management operations written in Python and analysis in R, while using OneView, iLO, Autonomy, and Vertica.


Sayers will be giving a live demo as part of his discussion forum. “We’re keen to receive customer feedback on this approach,” he says.


Discover attendees can attend Sayer’s Discussion Forum 1332 – “Bringing consistency and agility to datacenter management: a conversation with HP Labs” -- on Wednesday, June 3rd, from 9:30 to 10:00 AM in the Discussion Forum 2.




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