Just in case anyone didn’t realize it – the future of IT is one where organizations use a wide variety of different solutions – public and private, and spanning different operating systems and application stacks to deliver the individual requirements of end users. The acquisition last week of Enstratius by Dell is an indication that automation and orchestration of heterogeneous infrastructure is a core requirement. This increasing complexity in terms of the way data centers and cloud servers work increases the need for broad orchestration and automation solutions. HP has, in recent years, been talking about “Converged Cloud” it’s take on this wildly heterogeneous future-to-come. At time this has proven difficult for HP – as I pointed out after their Discover event last year:

…a merry-go-round of conflicting views from the HP execs attendant, finally closed off on the most unfortunate note by one executive who told us that HP cloud will succeed simply because it is built on HP hardware? SHOOT ME NOW! If only all the execs in the room had come out with a simple and concise message, we would have all bought into it.

Perhaps HP has begun to listen as it is today releasing versions of its operation and automation tools that are designed to provide a comprehensive, and most importantly integrated, portfolio to automate the complete life cycle of IT services. According to the release, the new tools will:

  • Drive business growth by quickly deploying innovative IT services on a massive scale with HP Operations Orchestration (OO) 10, which automates the execution of up to 15,000 simultaneous operations
  • Lower IT costs by efficiently delivering computing capacity with HP Server Automation (SA) 10, which automates server life cycle management to increase utilization, while reducing manual administration
  • Increase employee efficiency with HP Database and Middleware Automation (DMA) 10, which automates manual database management tasks
  • Accelerate time to value of IT services with HP Cloud Service Automation 3.2, which provides service life cycle automation, utilization and financial management capabilities to accurately and efficiently manage and scale cloud services

There’s a veritable cacophony of marketing buzzwords and lingo in there so let’s see what it means. The Operations Orchestration tool takes the notion many in the cloud world will be familiar with from Chef and Puppet and creates “runbooks” (otherwise known as recipes). These runbooks automate the provisioning of infrastructure so deployment can be both faster and more automated than previously. OO10 now supports Amazon S3 Storage, HP ArcSight, HP Fortify, OpenStack and SAP applications meaning that automation can be applied to core business processes.

SA10 is a server life cycle management platform that creates a “single pane of glass” across heterogeneous infrastructure to make it easier to manage servers – both virtual and physical. The product also comes as a virtual appliance.

DMA10 automates the administrative tasks around database management – it handles provisioning, patching, upgrading and code release functions and coversDB2,Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase and WebSphere databases.

Finally CSA is HP’s cloud management platform that aims to ease the building, brokering and management of cloud services.

MyPOV

Anyone else seeing a problem here? HP is touting this portfolio as creating an integrated, holistic management platform. And yet we have multiple products with multiple names and questionable deep integration. It feels very much (and I suspect this is because it is) several distinct applications that have had a bit of a lick of paint in terms of some superficial integrations and are being launched together in order to tick a box for an enterprise that wants truly integrated IT operations.

It seems like this launch is an example of the troubling situation at HP whereby different divisions are busily beavering away on their own solutions – without a staunch leader who can break down those silos. When HP appointed Saar Gillai as general manager of the pan-HP cloud division, many of us hoped that this indicated that there was a mandate to break down these silos. Gillai has been in the job now for eight months and quite possibly the tone of this combined release is a result of pressure from him. However I’d expect significantly more and hope that, if not by HP Discover in June, then at least by their December event, that HP will have a far stronger story to tell that once and for all breaks down the walls that would appear to exist between the various units.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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