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Professional Services team jump starts OpenStack® implementations


Guest Author: Tom Norton, VP HP Helion OpenStack® Professional Services, HP Cloud


When I talk with enterprise CIOs and CTOs about their plans for the cloud, I realize that HP has an advantage over many cloud-only vendors. To put it simply, we understand where you’re coming from.


IT past, present, and future

We know where you have been – we may have sold you the servers, network and storage in your data center. We know where you are now – investigating cloud options and sorting apps to figure out which can migrate to the cloud. And we know where most enterprise CIOs want to be – in an open, hybrid cloud platform that is:

  • Free of vendor lock-in
  • Free from over-build, under-utilized resources
  • Scalable and ready to support the demands of storage, web services and application platforms
  • Secure, both internally and externally

At HP Helion OpenStack Professional Services, we consult with companies around the world. We are seeing two very different approaches to OpenStack® technology adoption. Some CIOs are adopting it aggressively. They see it as a base foundation that they can build off of and accelerate the realization of the workload business value. To do this they are moving foundational pieces of their cloud onto OpenStack technology.


Other companies are being much more deliberate, adopting a slower, staged, and more careful approach to OpenStack. They will set up OpenStack software in a test-bed environment and see how it performs with their workloads.

HP can handle either style of adoption. We have a team that is very agile. For the aggressive adopter, we can take on any legacy architectural blockers. Or, for the customer who wants a more strategic, regimented approach, we can approach it with a consultative and business perspective. We can start by analyzing their apps, then design the platform to fit their governance and security models.


OpenStack accepted by the Enterprise

Even though OpenStack technology is only four years old, it is rapidly coming of age. As I talk to enterprise executives, I am hearing much greater acceptance of OpenStack technology for rapid enterprise cloud adoption. A year ago, CIOs would ask me, “Is OpenStack ready for the enterprise?” Now most CIOs have moved past the inquiry phase to a more evaluative understanding. They want to know how HP Helion OpenStack is differentiated from other OpenStack implementations. They ask me, “What are the gaps and challenges? Is it scalable? Is it secure?”


I will answer those questions over the next few months in a series of blogs. To set up those future blogs, let me share with you some key challenges that CIOs face on their cloud journeys.


Issue #1: Staffing

The first steps on a journey can be the hardest. How do you get started? How do you set up OpenStack? Who will operate it? Who understands how to migrate apps to it?


OpenStack is so new that experienced Dev/Ops personnel are in high demand and short supply. There are two ways to approach this:

  • Train your current staff on OpenStack technology
    • Pro: You know your staff
    • Pro: Your staff understands your business.
    • Con: Training is expensive and takes time
  • Hire new staff with OpenStack expertise
    • Pro: They understand OpenStack from the start
    • Con: They don’t understand your business or IT infrastructure
    • Con: You will have to pay top dollar
    • Con: New hires with valuable knowledge may be less loyal to your company

A third option is to call in a team like HP Helion Professional Services. This is the fastest way to launch OpenStack technology and get it rolling in the right direction for your business. We have dedicated professionals with years of experience in traditional IT, public cloud, and OpenStack software. That’s why I can say with confidence, “We know where you’re coming from.”


Where you are going

We have assembled an HP OpenStack Professional Services team that understands a lot about running OpenStack at scale in an enterprise. We have been able to attract about a large global team of experts who have deep knowledge – not just OpenStack knowledge, but knowledge about traditional data centers, hardware, software and IT architectures.


We have experts on networking protocols and security. We can analyze your platforms and custom applications and

determine what it will take to migrate to a hybrid cloud environment, not only from an OpenStack technology perspective but from a much broader technical standpoint.


To avoid rework, I stress the importance of design and architecture around the OpenStack implementation. If you get the design right at the start, then implementations and enhancements will meet business objectives. If implementation gets ahead of good design, you will end up re-doing the implementation later.


Building resident expertise

If you want to build OpenStack expertise in your current IT staff, we offer an extensive OpenStack training curriculum. We can bring the training to your site or host the training at an HP Helion training facilities. Some of the training is available online, allowing your staff to pick up OpenStack as time allows. Once your staff has picked up the basics, our experts can serve as mentors, providing guidance if you encounter a particularly intricate or puzzling challenge.


Issue #2: Tracking a moving target

OpenStack cloud computing is the fastest growing open source project in history of open source. It is a work in progress, with major releases coming out every six months. Each release delivers significant new capabilities and a host of useful refinements and features. This is a good thing for open, hybrid computing in general, but it poses important challenges to you and your staff.

  • What is OpenStack technology capable of today?
  • What is it not yet capable of?
  • What future capabilities are on the OpenStack roadmap?
  • Which capabilities are essential to your enterprise?

HP OpenStack Professional Services team has deep engagement with OpenStack cloud development team. HP is one of eight Platinum members of the OpenStack community, and HP is one the largest contributors to the OpenStack code base. HP has taken a leadership role in expanding capabilities beyond compute and storage to improve networking (the OpenStack Neutron project), database-as-a-service (the Trove project), and security. Consequently, we understand what OpenStack has today, what is missing, and what’s coming in future releases.


This allows us to stay close to “tip of tree.” We don’t sit on an aging OpenStack image for two years. The way we design and structure our HP Helion OpenStack distribution, we make it much more predictable in terms of management and support. We have designed HP Helion OpenStack so it is easy to support in the enterprise.


Issue #3: Sorting software

Even if you have not yet begun your cloud journey, the HP OpenStack Professional Services team can help you start a systematic evaluation of your business applications. We can help you determine in advance:

  • Which apps can be moved to OpenStack clouds and which ones need to stay in traditional IT?
  • How can custom applications be preserved during the migration?

HP Helion OpenStack Professional Services takes some of the guesswork out of software sorting. We understand traditional IT, data center environments, traditional cloud environments, and the newest release of OpenStack operating system. We can help you design the most efficient model for what your enterprise requires.


Notice that we regard software evaluation as a perennial issue – not a one time engagement. The first sorting will be the most challenging, but each OpenStack technology release will trigger a refreshed evaluation to determine which application should be the next to migrate.


Migrating software can be much different than installing software. One of the beauties of OpenStack is the ability to tune it on the back end so an application performs well. So after a migration, there are ways to tune an application. We can show your IT staff how to tune performance after applications are migrated.


Issue #4: Scalability

Irrespective of whether we’re discussing traditional IT or cloud computing, performance is critical to increasing productivity, retaining customers, driving revenue and accelerating business growth. You need to ensure that your environment can meet the peak demands of your business. That means that your systems have to be built and tuned to scale seamlessly.


That’s not as easy as it sounds. Scaling is intricately tied to OpenStack’s networking architecture (called Neutron). HP Helion Professional Services provide you with access to HP’s expansive pool of expertise and experience, enabling you to deploy and scale your cloud your way, to meet the needs of your business. We can help you ensure that your scaling solution keeps pace with OpenStack improvements.


For scalability, we are seeing two things come to a head. There is scaling the platform to meet demands from the developer community, then there’s scaling of services.


Once you set up OpenStack and developers have the ability to scale, you may see dramatic requirements for scaling up web services, storage, and databases. Once developers get OpenStack, they want more. That’s where HP can come in and help scale up from 20 servers to 200 to 3,000. That kind of scalable approach from not only the cloud platform, but also scaling of services they offer (like storage, web services, or DBaaS), that’s where the trends are today. That’s where HP is gaining the most experience.


Network Functional Virtualization (NFV) is another emerging area for scaling. NFV is all about scaling to manipulate and manage the functionality of your network from a software-driven perspective. That capability is talked about by every telecom provider. That is where telecoms are investing, so we have put some of our top brains on understanding NFV on OpenStack.


Issue #5: Security

In the early days of open source, the idea of moving your most valuable workflows to anything “open” seemed ill advised. However, open source has matured. The advantage of OpenStack software is that it is supported by a global community, meaning that across the industry you have people looking at it, advancing it, and supporting it. Because there are so many expert eyes on OpenStack cloud, there is less risk than people may initially assume. Realistically, the risk is lower than you may think. Security is a perennial issue, but in time, OpenStack cloud is evolving to become one of the most secure platforms available to enterprises.


Insights and answers

In coming months, I will share insights into these issues and provide answers to the general customer questions raised – answers based on the wealth of knowledge amassed by the HP Helion Professional Services team.


For more information, visit the HP Helion website, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.      



Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
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About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID

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