The big announcement from TechEd 2010 Europe was that Microsoft had partnered with a group of hardware partners representing more than 80% of the server market in order to democratize private Clouds.
While in Berlin earlier this week I had the opportunity to get insight into the partnership between HP and Microsoft over Hyper-V Cloud which resulted in offerings such as the HP CloudStart for Hyper-V and the HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V.
A private Cloud from Microsoft and HP involves a mix of hardware, software and services, with HP BladeSystem Matrix, Microsoft System Center and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V at the core.
Companies around the world are undoubtedly familiar with the technologies mentioned above. But the solutions are now at the heart of a new model proposed by the Redmond and Palo Alto duo, one designed to cut complexity and cost for customers looking to jump into the cloud, but still run on-premise servers.
David McCann, General Manager, Windows Server & Virtualization Product Management for Microsoft told me that it was a natural move for Microsoft to build on its historic partnership with HP in order to bring a joint private Cloud offering to market.
Input from customers buying servers indicated the need for a new acquisition model complemented by an evolution of configuration options.
“We’re enabling a new Cloud computing model. The pressure we’re seeing from everybody in the market place is to set up and provision computing resources on a much larger scale, different to how it’s been done in the past and in a far more efficient model,” Mcann said.
“The collaboration we’ve done with HP in particular as we’ve worked on Hyper-V Cloud, (…) there’s been a lot of design integration between the HP Matrix platform and the Microsoft hypervisor and System Center platform.
“And we believe that’s going to deliver very compelling value in the marketplace as people procure their next set of servers and set them up in a far more efficient model,” he added.
The end goal is to bring private Clouds to an as broadest audience as possible, and with Hyper-V Cloud, Microsoft and its OEM partners, including HP, have already made the first step in this direction.
As early as June, HP started working with Microsoft on the integration of the Microsoft virtualization stack and HP’s management stack which is called Inside Control.
The two companies made sure to create a joint sale force but also put in place the channel designed to allow them to cater to the small and midsize business customer base requiring virtualization and Cloud infrastructures.
“We’ve integrated Matrix, our Cloud foundation with System Center and Hyper-V, so that customers can leverage virtualization, infrastructure, automatically allocating the hardware, the network, the servers, the storage, the Hyper-V and then the applications,” revealed Paul Miller, Vice President Solutions and Strategic Alliances, Enterprise Servers, Storage & Networking for Hewlett-Packard.
Miller underlined that even smaller companies will be able to get more out of the Cloud by tapping the new offerings from Microsoft and HP. Less risk for customers adopting private Clouds because Microsoft and HP are doing all the heavy lifting
The two companies plan to launch HP CloudStart for Hyper-V, as early as next month, in December 2010. Prices for the joint private Cloud from the Redmond and Palo Alto partners will start at $250,000.
Obviously, the HP CloudStart for Hyper-V will include all the management, server and virtualization software from the Redmond giant on top of HP BladeSystem Matrix system with EVA storage, but also additional consulting and integration services.
A private cloud with HP BladeSystem Matrix and HP Cloud Service Autmation software can be up and running within 30 days of the start of the deployment process, with customers also being able to leverage back-up, metering and chargeback.
Mcann notes that Microsoft and HP have virtually taken the risk out of building a private Cloud, especially for companies that are embarking on this path for the first time.
“One of the value propositions of working together is that by taking our guidelines and working with HP, the reference architecture that comes from Matrix with Hyper-V means that Microsoft engineers and HP engineers have worked together to make sure customers that start the project are given peace of mind about their deployment,” he explained.
There are guidelines in no less than 44 areas which private Cloud adopters have to set up in order to ensure that their deployment is successful.
All the HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V guidance from HP and Microsoft is offered through Microsoft’s Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program. Again, just like the previous offering from the duo, this is addressed at companies looking to create private Cloud environments by combining HP Blade System Matrix
and Microsoft System Center with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.
Customers will be able to download the HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V starting in in December 2010, free of charge from www.hp.com/go/microsoft/hyperv/cloud
“We have a private Cloud solution offering that enable customers to stand-up and build a private Cloud for their enterprise in 30 days,” Miller underlined.
“For typical customers that try to do this on their own, it takes them 9 months, 6 months at best. With us, the labor costs are down, the time costs are down, and customers have the ability to get it right the first time, as opposed to having something that’s imperfect.”Lower risk is complemented by reduced costs
Miller reveals that the partnership between Microsoft and HP has been focused on allowing customers to tailor a private Cloud exactly to their needs.
This means that even at an acquisition point, here’s no overspending on infrastructure that they will not even be using, simply because there’s always a need to ensure that there are sufficient resources available rather than ending up short.
“By the sizing work we’ve done we can eliminate the costs associated with overbuying servers and storage,” Miller stated. “And that can be 10%, 20%, 30%, depending on how customers dial up or dial down.”
“With our Matrix offering is a converged infrastructure, of server storage and networking built to be combined, customers can save up to 20% on networking and power because it’s designed as one.”
Hutchinson 3G Austria, a mobile phone service provider opted to virtualize its servers by choosing a solution from Microsoft and HP rather than going for VMWare.
Martin Diewald, Engineer for Windows Operations, for Hutchinson 3G Austria noted that contributing to lower costs is also the ability to provision servers in as less as three hours, down from as much as three days when the company relied only on physical servers.
The Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management also adopted HP hardware with Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2.
The ministry cites server consolidation of 33%, reduced power usage by 15% and availability boosted to as much as 99%, thanks also to features such as Live Migration which allows for Hyper-V virtual machines to be moved between nodes even when they’re running.
With the vast majority of companies still relying on Windows Server 2003, those looking to upgrade should take offerings such as the HP CloudStart for Hyper-V and the HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V into consideration as they upgrade infrastructures.