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Questioning purpose-built? Stop! It’s really all about the Application.

Rparker on ‎06-19-2014 10:28 AM

Guest Author:

Helen Tang, HP Converged Infrastructure WW Solution lead


A lot of great bloggers are posting interesting stuff about Converged Infrastructure these days. Take this article from Philip Sellers: Why Converge on a Purpose Built Solution? The primary question Phil raises in his blog is about why purpose-built? A holistic answer to this question would have to start with HP’s philosophy to building our infrastructure. Even though we are an infrastructure vendor, we fully understand that infrastructure is not your end-all, be-all. In fact, it’s really all about the applications. Your end users and business stakeholders couldn’t care less about exactly what blade, chassis, firmware versions you use, all they care about is that their applications perform to the expected service levels and support the business.


So, it’s All About the Application.


But applications come in all flavors, it’s NOT One Size Fits All. Here at HP, we categorize applications into three types: Hyperscale, Mainstream and Business Critical.


  • Hyperscale applications are single purpose, demand huge scale and often span many systems, think Google, Amazon, or Facebook, or even which gets about 300 million hits per day.
  • Mainstream applications are your common back office apps like Email, File Server etc., now in of themselves they probably don’t use very many resources, but you will have a lot different kind of mainstream applications, and they will generally live happily together, in a shared, virtualized environment.
  • Business critical applications are your ERP, CRM applications, and now increasingly your big data applications. Being business critical means reliability, redundancy is important, latency is very important and security is very important.


Because your applications don’t come in one size, and have very different requirements, HP believes that the underlying infrastructure shouldn’t be one size fits all either. HP Moonshot is a great converged infrastructure solution for Hyperscale apps, mainstream applications can find a happy home on our HP ConvergedSystem for Virtualization, and business critical systems generally will perform best on purpose built HP ConvergedSystem.


Now that we’ve laid the theoretical foundation, it’s easy to tackle Phil’s questions one by one:


HP ConvergedSystem solutions are based on a particular software solution, so what happens in an environment if the software solution launches and then flops? Are they easily repurposed or tailored to a particular solution?

HP ConvergedSystem-Purpose-Built Blog Picture.pngLet me first challenge the underlying assumption for this question. Actually the HP ConvergedSystem portfolio are not ALL based on a particular software solution, the general purpose ConvergedSystem for Virtualization will happily handle any number of Mainstream applications. As for those that are very workload-specific, as the one mentioned in Phil’s article - ConvergedSystem for Microsoft Analytics, yes they are purpose built. But they are purpose built for a reason. As you can imagine, we prioritize our R&D queue based on customer demand, with thousands of customers worldwide, they come and tell us we’d like you guys to build a ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA, for Microsoft Analytics, etc. These applications have very specific workload needs, and a specific mix of compute to storage that works best. In addition, these purpose built systems will come with AppMaps; automation templates that are specific to the common tasks for deploying and managing these applications.


So back to the question. If Microsoft analytics is so important to you that you want special hardware to ensure optimal performance, let’s hope this project has legs. In the unfortunate event that it flops for some reason, since the architecture is all the same, you can use your special purpose HP ConvergedSystem for other mainstream applications – easily repurposed. The only thing you wouldn’t be able to do is say, turn it into a system for your SAP HANA application and expect the same kind of performance you’d get out of our HP ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA.



What happens with hardware when it hits the end of its useful life for running exchange, SQL or other software?

Since Phil is asking about Exchange, we’re looking at Mainstream apps here and therefore ConvergedSystem for Virtualization would be the corresponding solution. And that can suite a variety of mainstream applications just fine, as long as you have virtualized them.


How do upgrades of the package solution work?

Upgrades will generally happen in the form of new software, firmware updates. That happens easily and seamlessly, and often without needing a reboot. With HP OneView, you can essentially apply updates to hundreds of these systems at once, as easy as upgrading one.


If upgrading a 3rd party software, does HP deliver streamlined upgrade tested HW & Mgmt?

That would be yes and YES. Because we work with your application vendors like Microsoft and SAP early in our own development cycle, we have really hardened our platform to make these upgrades happen in a streamlined fashion, supported by AppMaps that are often jointly developed with your app vendor.


What if the upgrade requires more CPU or RAM, can those be easily upgraded in a ConvergedSystem?

That’s the beauty of HP ConvergedSystem, you don’t need to think about CPU or RAM anymore, it’s just all about adding more capacity. If you want to add more capacity, you can do it in 5 days’ time, max. Sometime it’s as easy as flipping a switch and happens instantaneously. Side note, this is also why our customer’s love HP’s Flexible Capacity service. You never have to over provision any more, just pay for additional capacity when you really need it.


Final question - where do these ConvergedSystem and CloudSystems fit in the business?

See where we started, the HP ConvergedSystem is designed to support the majority of your application workloads, with general purpose ConvergedSystem for Virtualization for all your mainstream apps, and a special purpose ConvergedSystem for various business critical applications, and finally of course the HP CloudSystem to support your private cloud initiatives.



Thanks for reading and thanks again to Phil for his blog post. Drop us a line if you have questions of your own concerning the HP ConvergedSystem or anything Convergence related! (Off topic comments may or may not get an answer, and no, I don’t have a prediction for the World Cup happening in Brazil).




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