Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

Why should HPE be your container solution provider? HPE Synergy is a big part of the answer

Moving from virtual to containerized environments means new processes, skill sets and approaches to deployment and lifecycle. HPE Synergy solutions focus on addressing these concerns and simplifying the adoption of containers. In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, we asked this question: Why should HPE be your container solution provider?HPE Synergy-container solutions-blog.jpg

Our answer focused on HPE’s solution-oriented approach to containers was highlighted as the answer. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how HPE solutions are pivoting to provide answers to new challenges—and why HPE Synergy is an excellent example of this transition.

Moving from virtual to containerized environments or perhaps even mixing the two means new processes, new skills, and a new approach to deployment and lifecycle management. Security processes change, disaster recovery processes can be new, backup and restore processes need to be reexamined. This often requires IT adapt to answer this question: What is persistent and what isn’t?

After years of implementation, much of the hard learned “how-to” is in place with traditional solution stacks. Growth in the baseline products that combine to create the solutions ensures solution maturity. On top of that, traditional solution tools such as sizers have been in place for years to help support rollouts. But little of this is true for container-based solutions and that’s why a new approach for building solutions is needed.

Learn more about HPE’s solution approach to containers

Traditional reference architectures tend to focus on Day 0 deployment best practices. These are valuable documents now and for well into the future, but emerging solutions demand a greater scope. To that end, HPE has expanded the solutions approach when it comes to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. The HPE and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform solution for HPE Synergy with HPE 3PAR Storage or HPE Nimble Storage includes:

  • Deployment guides that are updated at a regular cadence to reflect changes in versions and features in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform
  • Enhanced guidance around items traditionally not included or only addressed at a high level such as integrated security and backup and recovery
  • A sizer with extended capabilities over time
  • Playbooks and code scripts to better manage the implementation of the solution stack

The future is code driven

And this makes the last item in this list above particularly critical. Moreover, it is why the platform you choose for container-based solutions must be as code driven as the software. HPE Synergy Composable Infrastructure is designed to provide this value from the beginning. Synergy is composable—and this composability is a code-driven approach to integrating infrastructure and software.

Rather than spending days or weeks configuring infrastructure, the infrastructure should be responsive and able to be changed programmatically in minutes or hours. This requirement is for more than just initial deployment. Day 2 operations that range from backup and restore operations to firmware recipe updates must also be responsive. A code-driven approach to infrastructure aligns the platform to new methods of delivering business value, allows for resources to be provisioned on the fly and eliminates error prone tasks. It turns deployment operations, image provisioning, system personalities, and fabric connectivity into composable constructs ready to change with business needs.

Why your platform needs to be versatile

  • Beyond being code driven, the platform you select also needs to be versatile, able to:
  • Offer the ability to connect to both array-based and software defined storage solutions using a variety of fabrics
  • Provide options from a networking perspective that meet bandwidth, latency, and manageability needs for today and tomorrow
  • Scale to massive capacity and performance

Whether connecting to HPE 3PAR Storage or HPE Nimble Storage—or utilizing software-defined storage from HPE partners and local disks from the HPE Synergy d3940, HPE Synergy features the ability to utilize a variety of different storage platforms via file, block, or object. Providing high speed networking up to 100Gb with the ability to connect frames without a top-of-rack switch provides network bandwidth, low latency, flexibility and cost-effective deployment options. Networking options along with memory capacity options up to 3TB and processors with up to 28 cores allow HPE Synergy to scale to levels required for enterprise container implementations.

Data storage methods need to change along with application design

With traditional monolithic applications, the app is comprised of multiple pieces that run on bare-metal or in VMs where there is shared storage everywhere and an OS for every app. With containers, microservices are the new model and a single, shared OS supports applications versus a hypervisor on every host.

Persistent data is not always a requirement, but when it is, the underlying storage is critical. To support the emerging models containers drive, storage needs to do three things:

  1. Storage must provide an experience that is friendly for the developer. To this end, HPE storage enables self-service access to storage volumes for developers. Cluster admins can define storage classes that developers can take advantage of to deliver the right storage for the app. The cluster admin can even allow overrides for storage features by the developer.
  2. Storage must also be optimized for operations with simple tools that make it easy to deploy and integrate storage and containers. Operations also needs to ensure storage is performant, can scale and is resilient. HPE storage enables all three while also being able to deliver block storage for performance or file for when RWM capabilities are required.
  3. Because container portability is critical, storage must enable true hybrid cloud, deliver consistent data services both on-prem and off-prem, and ensure bidirectional mobility of data for stateful containers. With HPE Cloud Volumes, data can be moved in a bi-directional fashion between certain HPE storage products[1] on prem and the cloud.

Learn some more

In summary, the HPE Reference Architecture built on HPE Synergy and HPE Data Storage provides the necessary capabilities for customers to succeed with their container deployment. Need more information?

Don’t miss part 1 of this two-blog series: Why should HPE be your container solution provider?

For more information around HPE Storage capabilities, I’d recommend reading this blog: Tackling Data Management for Containers

See what HPE and Red Hat are doing around Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Reference Architectures. And download in-depth Deployment Guides.

In case you want to know more, please reach out to your HPE representative.

[1] Supported with HPE Nimble Storage and HPE dHCI Nimble Storage platforms today.

Doug Hart
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


About the Author


Doug Hart is the Product Owner and Architect for container solutions within HPE's Enterprise Solutions and Performance group. Doug has been with HPE since 2000 and has worked on numerous technologies including e-commerce, database, virtualization, end-user computing and containers. He is passionate about understanding business pain points and converting them into technical solutions.