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Cloud Expo: Article

HP’s Converged Cloud and AppZero

Simplifying deployment paths for the enterprise

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time with several teams in the HP Cloud Services organization. HP made great strides in 2012 delivering on what they call the "Converged Cloud".

HP's Converged Cloud offers the enterprise a spectrum of cloud offerings from a private cloud hosted by the enterprise to a public cloud hosted by HP. There are a few flavors in the middle - virtual private clouds (hosted by HP but "dedicated" to the enterprise tenant), which come managed and unmanaged. As the saying goes different courses for different horses and HP has got the enterprise covered no matter what the future track.

It's pretty clear that the enterprise is still reluctant to move certain applications into the public cloud. Security, availability, vendor lock-in and enterprise SLAs are a few of the well documented concerns (real or imaginary) that stop the wholesale migration out of the data center to the public account. As the cloud market matures, the desire to get the agility and cost savings for new and legacy applications that run your business grows stronger. CFOs and CEOs are becoming more involved in cloud related business decisions.

At AppZero, we've had many discussions with IT leaders who plan to empower business unit mangers to choose whatever cloud they want to run their applications. This represents a marked departure from the developer who chooses a cloud for building an application for test and development purposes. Now business leaders want to choose a cloud vendor that can scale and meet their business objectives and it may not be the cloud where the application lives and breathes forever.

Here is a question that in the IT world is equivalent to asking about gun control: Who should decide which cloud is best for which business application, the application developer or the business manager? (You can now see how controversial the question can be.)

The flexible architecture provided by HP's Converged Cloud allows the enterprise to deploy and manage applications across the private/public cloud spectrum with a single vendor - HP.

HP Cloud Services is based on OpenStack® technology, which is one of the keys to providing consistency of operations between private and public clouds. OpenStack lays the foundation and is setting the open standards that will help ensure smooth migration between clouds.

Quickly migrating to the cloud or across clouds is where AppZero specializes. AppZero's Zapp Migrator separates the applications from the operating system they are installed on and moves them to another machine in minutes. Picking up the application and moving only the application seems unusual until you understand the power and flexibility of our application isolation approach.

When migrating applications, there are often many surrounding environmental factors that come into consideration. Migrations have to be able to deal with the following changes:

  1. Physical to Virtual - Believe it or not there are still many applications running on bare metal.
  2. Hypervisors - Most enterprises use VMware which is often not the case in the cloud.
  3. Data Center to Cloud - Many migration tools do not support all clouds.
  4. Time - Moving just the application is 50 to 500 times faster than moving VMs (Migrations done during lunch compared to a day or 2). How long is your maintenance window?
  5. Cloud Type - Just moving the application allows for great flexibility in cloud-type choices (IaaS, Managed Service Provider, PaaS). Moving VMs is only viable for IaaS cloud types.
  6. OS version changes - Many applications in the enterprise are running on WS2003 and most clouds are running WS2008(R2)*. VM migration cannot help here.

*the latest version of AppZero Zapp migration even allows moving applications from WS2000 to WS2008(R2). Here is a great video of moving SQL2000 running on WS2000 to WS2008 (R2) in 5 minutes.

Migrations from old to new, from private to public, quickly and easily are key considerations in fulfilling the Converged Cloud vision. When it comes to adopting Cloud choices, the enterprise should plan on the track changing and be prepared to ride a variety of horses. There will be many approaches, products and designs that attempt to lower the cost and risk of change. At AppZero we believe we have a unique approach to the thorny issues that the enterprise is facing in adopting the cloud.

I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at @gregoryjoconnor.

Moving enterprise apps to the cloud? Check out this 2-minute video.

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.