Do not forget Forj around Helion

Caveat: I’m an HP employee, but info mentionned here are all public, and opinions/errors are just mine, as usual on my blog.

The recent announce of HP around Helion is really reinforcing investment made by my company in OpenStack and presenting the new involvement in CloudFoundry.

The key takeaway I got from it, after reading most of what was written is that we are providing every 6 weeks (think about it !) a new distribution of OpenStack (current being based on IceHouse), as an Open Source distribution, for which customers will be able to buy support. It’s based on TripleO for the bare metal deployment. This distribution is using HP’s own Linux for the controller and hypervisors nodes which is Debian based. Another interesting feature is the embedded update mechanism provided to make OpenStack updates easier (up to now, was simpler to reinstall a new version, not so much to update).

Another key point is the indemnification program. Martin Fink, who is behind this program, has been a long time advocate of Linux indemnification from HP. It was formely introduced when the SCO story was hot. It’s a strong commitment that HP know the code for both its OpenStack and Linux embedded distribution, believe in its licenses, and in its IP.

And last but not least, we do underline that Open Source business is mostly a service (and hardware for us) play, so we’re announcing OpenStack related services, and from my own tries with debugging OpenStack related issues, it will be probably very well received by customers, as it’s a real job, you need strong people knowing how it works, and where to look in order to debug issues.

And frankly, I feel better when I see 1 billion USD announced from HP in R&D around OpenStack technologies, than I felt when IBM announced last year its billion around PowerPC Linux. I think our dollars will produce more concrete results in the ecosystem (even if every USD dedicated to what is called today at LinuxCon “external” R&D is a good sign of the vitality of our ecossytem and some end up benefiting end customers). I think this part is as important as the one IBM made more than 10 years ago around Linux (not Power related) and shows that OpenStack will really become the commodity IaaS solution for all in a short future. It will for sure help a lot of customers consider that technology as being well supported by us (as well as many others). And reverse the trend we saw this morning when we asked how many companies were using Cloud (not even OpenStack) in their production environement, and only few hands raised !!.

I know this is changing quite a lot how IT departments handle IT today, but if they identify that they need an IaaS, then OpenStack is clearly the way to go: with our Helion announce we also do have the fact that hpcloud.com will soon be available on 20 additional HP data centers, meaning that we do consider it as production ready, even if it takes quite some efforts to reach that level, as we disclosed during an OpenStack meetup by presenting all the test work we do to reach enterprise grade level with a production OpenStack env.

Of course, as Martin Fink said rightly, “traditional” IT doesn’t go away. I have customers still operating mainframes, client-server apps, RDBMs, SMB shares, … and will for a long time. But in this new style of IT HP is promoting, for some new workloads and use cases, scaling out easily, it makes a lot of sense to adopt Cloud to support them. And if you adopt Cloud, then you should definitely look at OpenStack (and HP Helion of course) as the most promising technology to help you build it successfully.

And while it wasn’t part of the Helion announcement, as already presented during our last Discover event (and will be again in June), I think it’s important to remind readers of the availability of the Forj project. For development teams, this tool provides continuous integration à la OpenStack for just every development team, without the hassle of managing your own jenkins and associated tools. Definitely part for me of the Helion ecosystem and worth sharing around.

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