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Leading the Way to the Software-Defined Data Center

Chris Purcell on ‎08-25-2014 06:07 AM

Guest blogger: Paul Miller is the Vice President of Product Marketing for HP Converged Systems.


The vision of the software-defined data center (SDDC) has taken an important step towards reality today. Two industry leaders, HP and VMware, are expanding their partnership, working together to offer an open approach of the SDDC. This partnership is focused on enabling customers to reap the business benefits of an open approach to SDDC, while reducing the risks and costs associated with implementing their vision for IT as-a-Service.


Building an Open SDDC Ecosystem


Significant changes are happening within the datacenter today and HP recognizes the need to help customers move to a “new style of IT”. New battle lines are being draw around open or closed platforms and architectures, transitioning to a new converged management or continuing to stay with propriety infrastructure managers within the data center.


Customer and vendors understand the management stack and technology components that are implemented now will create the architectural framework for the next 10-20 years, so they need to ensure they are making the right decisions now. To this end, HP and VMware are providing an open approach to the SDDC that is based on open standards and proven technologies. This will allow IT organizations a common framework for compatibility, so they can transition efficiently. Both companies have a long history of providing customers with open, flexible solutions. Taking this path, enables customers to leverage their existing investment in infrastructure and management software, offering an open bridge to the SDDC and the cloud, not a detour.


Making Open SDDC a Reality


Virtualization has been widely adopted, because it delivers real business benefits. Hypervisors provide a means of abstracting the physical components of compute, network and storage and making them available as pools of virtualized resources. VMware NSX is a hypervisor for networking, just as ESX is a hypervisor for compute. Virtualized resources can then be managed more efficiently, so IT can offer them as services to the business.


There are a variety of notions about what the SDDC really means. Analyst firm, Gartner Group, provided a good explanation of the SDDC in a blog entitled, “Software Defined Data Centers – Hyper or Reality”. In the blog they stated,In theory an SDDC is a layer of abstraction above multiple other SDx layers (network, virtualization, storage, etc), whereby the Data Centers, wherever they are located, are controlled/automated from a single control plane, using a common set of API’s.


HP OneView provides this control plane and a common set of APIs. It is a converged management platform that works with the hypervisors to provide IT administrator’s greater control and automation of the physical and virtual infrastructure. It provides the essential automation and integration platform that allows control to move up the management stack to cloud and ultimately to the applications in the SDDC. The REST API in HP OneView makes integration easier, and it provides greater flexibility and openness at the infrastructure level as illustrated in Figure 1 below.



Figure 1: Conceptual overview of the role of HP OneView, control and infrastructure in the SDDC


What’s new today?


Last year at VMworld, HP announced plans to collaborate with VMware on technologies that would unify data center networks. Unlike some of our competitors, HP decided to support the VMware NSX hypervisor and integrate it with HP software-defined networking products. HP fulfilled that commitment earlier this year and started shipping the industry’s first federated network solution that provides customers with unified automation of, and visibility into, both their physical and virtual data center networks.


All the pieces are coming together.


In February earlier this year HP introduced the integration of HP OneView with VMware vCenter. Later on in June HP OneView 1.10 started shipping with support for HP ConvergedSystem for Virtualization,3PAR storage and DL servers as well as integration with VMware vCenter Operations Manager. (An HP ConvergedSystem is a fully integrated infrastructure block of servers, storage and network components that is workload optimized and can be quickly and efficiently deployed within a data center.) With more of these infrastructure pieces in place, the software-defined templates within HP OneView can now start to automate more aspects of the data center, which allows customer to reduce maintenance cost and redeploy their workforce into supporting innovation projects.


HP Storage made an announcement on Friday, August 22, adding new enhancements to the HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA). VSA is now a fully integrated storage option for HP Helion OpenStack. HP now offers fully functional, software-defined storage via integration of HP StoreVirtual VSA software within the HP Helion cloud portfolio. Customers can achieve the operational agility promised in the SDDC by leveraging HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage integration with OpenStack Cinder as well as converged infrastructure management via integration with HP OneView. HP also announced our collaboration with VMware on VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture. HP has been working with VMware for more than three years on VVols, and this capability along with other enhancements to VSA will play an important role in the future.


Extending the Management Stack to Cloud


HP and VMware want to provide customers with an integrated, enterprise friendly means of transitioning to cloud and SDDC. The HP Helion OpenStack annoucement today will support vSphere and NSX adds important components to our combined solution. We will continue to work with VMware to enhance the open SDDC architecture while providing unique differentiation. HP will also partner with VMware in our go to market activities, so we provide a seamless experience for our customers and channel partners.



Figure 2: Conceptual overview of current HP and VMware components in the open SDDC architecture


HP is committed to a broad architecture for the software-defined data center that is truly open. Our partnership with VMware is a significant component of this strategy, but HP also has strategic partnerships with Microsoft and Red Hat as well. For example, we currently provide support for Microsoft System Center and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization with HP OneView as well as VMware vCenter and vCenter Operations Manager.


The battle for the datacenter is on, but you shouldn’t have to pick sides. HP committed to providing customers with a consistent and flexible means of implementing IT-as-a-Service. Your organization can begin to realize the business benefits of enterprise friendly cloud and open SDDC today, while minimizing the risks, costs and disruption to operations.




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Chris Purcell

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