The IT industry is in the midst of a sea change. Every CIO I talk to mentions the same twin imperatives: I need to go faster and I need do it more efficiently. All businesses seem to be in the process of becoming software-driven, as they realize that IT is critical in differentiating from competitors, and are seeking ways to build and deploy more applications and do it more quickly than ever before.
Over the last decade, the Web pioneers (Google, Amazon, Facebook) have built impressive capabilities that have conferred them structural advantages in both business agility and lower costs over traditional approaches to IT. The hyperscale public cloud companies (many growing out of that same set of pioneers) were the first to democratize these capabilities and create platforms around them, which we’ve all come to describe as Cloud Computing. But even though “The Cloud” was born off-premises, these capabilities are becoming inherent in how “new IT” gets done in every context – whether in private clouds that are deployed on-premises, private clouds that are managed by vendors, or hyperscale public clouds.
The Cloud is an amalgamation of seven drivers, each representing one or more order-of-magnitude improvements over “legacy IT” in one of these two axes – agility and efficiency. Businesses that seize these opportunities simply have an insurmountable structural advantage over ones that don’t.
Four of these drivers relate to business agility:
- Self-service allows for instant consumption of resources such as compute and storage. Instead of waiting weeks for a new server to be provisioned, IT can deliver resources in minutes.
- Infrastructure automation via APIs allows infrastructure to be treated as code – leading to server configuration being stored in source control and resulting in identical environments being stood up in minutes as opposed to manually, requiring days of error-prone work.
- Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) allows application developers to automate the service delivery pipeline, leading to deployment frequency of new versions going from weeks to minutes. Faster cycle time means learning what your customers need from you on a much faster cadence. This is arguably the most important change to how applications are built and delivered that has ever happened in the Enterprise.
- Containers allow for greater application density per server (from 10’s of apps to 100’s of apps), and also reduce start times from minutes to seconds. Docker and Cloud Foundry have led the way in democratizing the use of Linux containers for building and deploying microservices, a new architecture of building applications out of discrete components that you stitch together using simple API’s.
The last three drivers relate to lowering costs:
- Consumption-based pricing allows IT to pay only for what the business uses, and also helps transform capital expenditure into operational expenses.
- Elastic Utility–style infrastructure enables pooling computing resources on a broader scale than with traditional virtualization, allowing IT to run many complementary workloads on the same physical infrastructure, thereby driving utilization up from an average of 20% to 80% and higher.
- Standard commodity hardware is one of the key enablers for driving one or more orders of magnitude improvements in the ratio of operators to servers – from 1:100 to 1:1000 and better. This is critical in driving down cost-per-server.
All of these drivers, both the ones that contribute to agility and those that contribute to lower costs, are order-of-magnitude shifts, and taken together, they create an insurmountable competitive advantage for those who employ them.
This is the business case around Transforming to a Hybrid Infrastructure, HPE’s first and arguably most important transformation area. HPE’s mission is to be the company that helps each and every one of you gain the advantages of the Cloud for all your workloads – whether you run them on-premises or in someone else’s datacenter.
This week at HPE Discover in Las Vegas, we announced three new products in our Helion portfolio:
- HPE Helion Cloud Suite 1.0: this is our flagship cloud software offering. With this suite, we’ve taken the best assets from our IT operations management portfolio and married them with our Cloud platforms (OpenStack and Cloud Foundry), to create a suite that is unparalleled in the industry. It is inherently built for a hybrid environment, enabling you to manage IT whether on-premises or in other datacenters; it allows you to automate infrastructure management, whether you’re running bare-metal, virtual machines, or containers; it has a full DevOps suite for both traditional and cloud-native applications; and it accelerates transformation of service delivery with an advanced portfolio of tools. With the Helion Cloud Suite, you can realize all of the business agility drivers: self-service, automation, CI/CD, and use of containers.
- HPE Helion Stackato 4.0: this is our multi-cloud, Enterprise-ready cloud native application platform. Not only does it run on every Cloud you care about, it also offers the ability to manage applications that are deployed in different clusters running on those clouds. It includes our hardened, certified, container-based Helion Cloud Foundry distribution, and focuses on connecting the new world of microservices with your existing data sources and Enterprise systems via our service catalog and the universal service broker. Finally, it includes a full CI/CD toolchain called Helion Code Engine that allows you to easily realize the benefits of DevOps and CI/CD. Stackato brings all of the business agility cloud drivers with it, including a self-service experience for developers building and deploying applications; automation of key IT tasks such as cluster-level patching, log-aggregation for compliance, load-based auto-scaling; all application instances run in containers; and a full CI/CD toolchain for automating the build/test/deploy cycle. Stackato also brings the benefits of consumption pricing– we charge you only for the RAM you use in your applications, so you don’t pay anything for software you don’t use.
- HPE Helion CloudSystem 10: CloudSystem is where we bring it all together. It is the offering that takes the Helion Cloud Suite (including Helion OpenStack and Helion Stackato) and integrates it deeply with HPE’s infrastructure – blades, rack-mounted hardware, and Synergy composable infrastructure. CloudSystem delivers on all of the Cloud drivers: to what you already get with the Helion Cloud Suite, it adds consumption pricing (available either when we run it for you as a managed private cloud, or through our HPE TS flexible capacity services that allow you to rent as opposed to purchase up front). It also arranges your infrastructure into an elastic utility, allowing you to run many complementary workloads on the same infrastructure. And finally, when combined with Synergy, it standardizes hardware and fully automates much of the hardware maintenance so that you can operate a cloud with far fewer resources per compute unit.
As you can tell, we’re very excited by this next wave of products, and would love to help on your transformation to a hybrid infrastructure as you evolve towards realizing the benefits of the Cloud, whether you’re running your workloads on-premises, in a managed private cloud, or in a hyperscale public cloud.