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Why an open and modular approach to cloud is best


Lego blocks3.jpgWhen I was a kid, I loved to build things with Lego blocks. Different colors, different shapes, different sizes, they all plugged into each other with the same reusable components. I see a parallel in the evolution of cloud computing to the open, modular system of the OpenStack-based HP Helion—our expansive portfolio of private, public, and hybrid IT solutions incorporating hardware, software, and services.


A one-size-fits-all approach to cloud doesn't work for today's large companies. To meet their business needs, enterprises need to rely on a combination of private, public, and managed cloud; as well as traditional IT.


An open, modular approach enables enterprises to:

  • Avoid vendor lock-in
  • Speed application deployment
  • Take advantage of the innovations delivered by the OpenStack community


We're working with a number of large customers, including firms in the financial services, entertainment, and apparel industries, who are implementing HP Helion. Each one starts with a different mix of technology, applications, and infrastructure, and every company is unique in the sense that each has its own business requirements and regulations it must comply with.  For security and compliance reasons, some prefer private cloud for mission-critical workloads, while for cost savings some choose public cloud for less business-critical applications. 


With the announcement of HP Helion, HP is launching not only a new brand that unifies all our cloud capabilities under one umbrella; we are also introducing the HP Helion OpenStack distribution. My colleague Christian Verstraete has written a comprehensive summary of the announcement and HP Helion's enhanced capabilities.  (For more information on HP Helion, visit


3 key advantages to open source hybrid cloud


If the building blocks of your IT environment are designed and built on a common approach, the pieces can work together to allow you to assemble the unique solutions that meet your needs. An OpenStack-based cloud solution provides the large enterprise customers I mentioned above with three crucial competitive advantages:


  • No vendor lock-in means you have the flexibility to pick and choose the cloud model or applications or technology standard that you want to build. Now you can design your cloud without being constrained by the development and innovation speed of a specific vendor or technology. You can deploy an application or cloud service on HP's CloudSystem and burst to any OpenStack-based public cloud such as HP Public Cloud or Rackspace or Savvis. Because all the platforms are built on OpenStack, the data and applications are portable from one environment to the next. 
  • Faster deployment. Regardless of the underlying infrastructure, OpenStack lets you rapidly deploy on-demand application services where they're needed. For example, the entertainment company mentioned above may have allocated IT resources to produce ten movies a year. What happens when the company suddenly gets a call to produce fifteen  movies a year? How does IT immediately scale up resources by 50 percent? Because they've built their own private cloud using HP CloudSystem, as demand increases they can leverage their choice of OpenStack-based public clouds for any additional capability they need. 
  • Crowd-sourced innovation. The OpenStack community can update the underlying technology much faster than any one vendor can do on its own. Because OpenStack is supported by multiple companies, with many different people contributing code to the community, future releases of OpenStack may contain a slew of enhancements. If you find a bug, someone can fix it and incorporate that fix in the next OpenStack distribution. And HP's indemnification program can shield qualified customers from copyright, patent, or trade-secret infringement claims against them.


Boosting your return on investment


A modular approach to cloud—whether you're building your own cloud or relying on a third-party service provider for a pay-per-use consumption model—is the best way to maintain the utmost flexibility and return on investment. Using an Openstack-based cloud platform, you can provision services to a multi-vendor infrastructure. You can select a platform to develop and test your applications using the programming languages of your choice.  You can also ensure that you have a single security and management approach to both cloud and traditional services. 


Much like my Lego blocks analogy, the best way to implement cloud and hybrid IT is to build the solution that you want and need, not what a vendor chooses for you. Start small and grow tall.  Buy what you need now, and get additional pieces when you need them as your business grow. 


At companies like the financial services, entertainment, and apparel firms mentioned above, each business unit may ask its CIO to provide a variety of services, such as email, marketing websites, storage, and mission-critical applications. As long as IT delivers the services, the business doesn't care where they come from. Thanks to the interoperability of OpenStack, the CIO can deliver services from traditional IT, from private cloud, and/or from pubic cloud, as part of a hybrid IT environment.


To learn more about HP Helion, go to

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