Choice, Consistency, Confidence Keys to Improving Services' Performance through Converged Cloud
Choice, Consistency, Confidence Keys to Improving Services'
Performance through Converged Cloud
Transcript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from the HP Discover 2012 Conference on hybrid cloud
and tying together the evolving elements of cloud computing.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: HP
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Performance
podcast series. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your
co-host and moderator for this ongoing discussing of IT innovation and how it's
making an impact on people’s life.
Once again, we're focusing on how IT leaders are improving performance of
their services to deliver better experiences and payoffs for businesses and end
users alike. This time, we’re coming to you directly from the HP Discover 2012
Conference in Las Vegas. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]
We’re here the week of June 4 and we're now joined by two top HP evangelists to discuss the
concepts around HP’s Converged Cloud. Please join me in welcoming our co-host Paul Muller,
the Chief Software Evangelist at HP. Welcome.
Paul Muller: Hi, Dana. How are you doing?
Gardner: I'm doing great. Good to be with you again. We are also here with Christian
Verstraete. He's the Chief Technologist for Cloud Strategy at HP. Welcome back, Christian.
Christian Verstraete: Thank you, Dana. Welcome too.
Gardner: We've been hearing an awful lot here at the conference around the notion of an HP
converged cloud, and it has a lot of different aspects to it. There are a lot of different products to
support it -- public, private, application development, data services, and analysis services -- but
one thing that really caught my attention and notice was that you’ve separated the notion of
hybrid computing from hybrid delivery. Can you help me understand better why they're different
and what HP means by hybrid delivery?
Verstraete: Hybrid computing typically is combining private and public clouds. We feel that
many of our customers still have a traditional environment, and that traditional
environment will not go away anytime soon. However, they're actually looking at
combining that traditional environment, the data that’s in that traditional
environment and some of the functionality that's out there, with the public cloud
and the private cloud.
The whole concept of hybrid delivery is tying that together. It goes beyond hybrid
computing or hybrid cloud. It adds the whole dimension of the traditional environment, and to
our mind, the traditional environment isn't going to go away anytime soon.
Gardner: One of the things we’ve also seen in the evolution of public cloud is that things are
very segmented. There are data services, infrastructure services, and workloads that you can put
in, based on certain platforms using certain tools and APIs.
What you seem to be saying at HP is that that should be deconstructed and allowed to be more of
a lifecycle, converged. Paul, help me understand how the traditional understanding of cloud
computing as segments of infrastructure services has changed now into something else?
Muller: From that perspective the converged cloud is really about three things for us. The ﬁrst is
having greater levels of choice. The key point that Christian just made is that
you can't afford to live in the world of, "It’s just public; it's just private; or I can
ignore my traditional investments and infrastructure." Choice is critical, choice
in terms of platform and application.
The second thing, though, is that in order to get great choice, you need
consistency as an underlying platform to ensure that you're able to scale your
people, your processes, and more importantly, your investments across those
The last one is probably the biggest area of passion for me -- conﬁdence. We spoke a little bit
earlier about how so many clients, as they move to cloud, are concerned about the
arm’s-length relationship they have with that provider. How can I get back the
conﬁdence in security and service levels, and make sure that that conﬁdence is
consistent across both my on-premises and-off premises environments?
Gardner: Another thing we've seen to date is an emphasis on workloads, just
creating elastic-compute resources for things like an environment to run an
application, but you seem to have a much deeper emphasis on data services. Why
is data more important than, or as important as, workloads, or have we moved beyond the
importance of workloads?
Verstraete: People have started looking at cloud from pure infrastructure, reuse, and putting
workﬂows in some particular places in infrastructure. The world is moving beyond that at the
moment. On one end, you have software as a service (SaaS) starting to play and getting
integrated in a complete cloud environment and a complete cloud function.
We also have to realize that, in 2011, the world created about 1.8 zettabytes of data, and that data
has a heck of a lot of information that enterprises actually need. And as enterprises understand
what they can get out of the data, they want that data right there at their ﬁngertips. What makes it
even more interesting is that 90 percent of that data is unstructured.
We've been working for the last 30 years with structured data. We know all about databases and
everything, but we have no clue about unstructured data. How do I know the sentiments that
people have compared to my brand, my business, my product? That's the sort of question that's
becoming important, because if you want to do warranty management or anything else, you want
to understand how your users feel. Hence, the importance of data all of this.
Gardner: Perhaps we should say information instead of data.
Verstraete: You're right.
Muller: I’d add something else to what Christian just said. We were with the Customer Advisory
Board on Sunday. We had a pre-meeting prior to the actual conference, and one of them said
something I thought was kind of interesting, remarkable actually.
He said, "If I think back 30 years, my chief concern was making sure the infrastructure was
functioning as we expected it to. As I moved forward, my focus was on differentiating
applications." He said, "Now that I'm moving more and more of the ﬁrst two into the cloud, my
focus really needs to be on harnessing the information and insight. That’s got to become the core
competency and priority of my team."
Verstraete: There's one element to add to that that we shouldn't forget, and that is the end user.
When you start talking about converged clouds -- we're not there yet, but we're getting there --
it's really about having one, single user experience. Your end user doesn't need to know that this
function runs in a public cloud, that function runs in a private cloud, and that function runs in the
No. He just wants to get there and use whatever it is. It's up to IT to deﬁne where they put it, but
he or she just wants to have to go one way, one approach, and that's where you get this concept
of a unique user experience. In converged cloud that’s absolutely critical.
Gardner: Another term that was a bit fresh for me here was this notion of composite hybrid
applications. This was brought up by Biri Singh in his discussion yesterday. It sounds as if more
and more combinations of SaaS, on premises, virtualized, physical, and applications need to
come together. In addition to that, we're going to be seeing systems of record moving to some
variety of cloud or combination of cloud resources.
The question then is how can we get to the data within all of those applications to create those
business processes that need to cut across them? Is that what you're talking about with Autonomy
and IDOL? Is that the capability we are really moving toward, combining data and information
from a variety of sources, but in a productive and useful way?
Verstraete: Absolutely. You got it spot on, Dana. It's really all about using the information
sources that you have. It's using your own private information sources, but combining them with
the public information sources. Don’t forget about those. Out of that, it's gathering the
information that's relevant to the particular thing that you're trying to achieve, be it compliance,
understanding how people think about you, or anything else.
The result is one piece of information, but it may come from multiple sources, and you need an
environment that pulls all of that data and gets that data in a useful form, so you can start doing
the analysis and then portraying the information, as you said, in a way that is useful for you.
That's what IDOL and Autonomy does for us in this environment.
Muller: I am going to add something to that, which is, of course, not yesterday, not today, but in
real time. One of the critical elements to that is being able to access that information in real time.
All of us are active in social media that literally reﬂects your customer’s attitudes from minute to
Let me give you a use case of how the two come together. Imagine that you’ve got a customer on
a phone call with a customer service operator. You could use Autonomy technology to detect, for
example, the sound of their voice, which indicates that they're stressed or they're not happy.
You can ﬂag that and then very quickly go out to your real-time structured systems and ask,
"How much of an investment has this client made in us? Are they are high net worth customer to
us or are they a ﬁrst-time transactor? Are they active in the social media environment? What are
they saying about us right now?"
If the pattern is one that may be disadvantageous to the company, you can ﬂag that very quickly
and say, "We want to escalate this really quickly to a manager to take control of the situation,
because maybe that particular customer service rep needs some coaching or needs some help."
Again, not in a week’s time, not in a month’s time, but right there, right now. That’s a really
Gardner: This is a bit of a departure. Thinking about systems of record again, one of the
obstacles that folks have is to get a single view of the customer. You might have to dig into three
or four databases and cut across multiple applications.
They are all internal, but you would get some very powerful insights that you could extend to
your business processes -- sales, marketing, research into what new requirements will be coming
into products and services, more efﬁciency in how you could provide service and support to
those customers and so on.
Abstraction in the cloud
We’re elevating that now to an abstraction in the cloud where almost an unlimited amount of
information could be brought to bear on a question about a customer or a business process.
This really is a radical departure and very powerful. But what's missing for me is how I actually
avail myself of it. It's a good vision, but if I am a developer, a business analyst, or a leader in a
company and I want a dashboard that gets me this information, how do we get this ﬁre hose and
make it manageable and actionable? Christian?
Verstraete: There are two different elements in this. The ﬁrst thing is that we’re using IDOL 10,
which is basically the combination, on one hand, of Autonomy and, on the other hand, of Vertica.
Autonomy is for unstructured data, and Vertica for structured data, so you get the two coming
We’re using that as the backbone for gathering and analyzing the whole of that information.
We've made available to developers a number of APIs, so that they can tap into this in real time,
as Paul was just mentioning a minute ago, and then start using that information and doing
whatever they want with it.
Obviously, Autonomy and Vertica will give you the appropriate information, the sentiment, and
the human information, as we talked about. Now, it's up to you to decide what you want to do
with that, what you want to do with the signals that you receive, and that's what the developer
can do in real-time at the moment.
Gardner: Paul, any thoughts in making this ﬁre hose of data actionable?
Muller: Just one simple thought which is meaning. The great challenge is not lack of data or
information, but it's the sheer volume as you pointed out, when a developer thinks about taking
all of the information that's available. A simple Google query or a Bing query will yield
hundreds, even millions of results. Type in the words "Great Lakes," and what are you going to
get back? You'll get all sorts of information about lakes.
But if you’re looking, for example, for information about depth of lakes, where the lakes are,
where are lakes with holiday destinations, it's the meaning of the query that's going to help you
reduce that information and help you sort the wheat from the chaff. It's meaning that's going to
help developers be more effective, and that's one of the reasons why we focus so heavily on that
with IDOL 10.
Gardner: And just to quickly follow up on that, who decides the meaning? Is this the end user
who can take action against this data, or does it have to go through IT and a developer and a
business analyst? How close can we get to those people at a granular individual level that they
can ascertain the meaning and act on it?
Muller: It's a brilliant question, because meaning in the old sense of the term -- assigning
meaning is a better way of putting it -- was ascribed to the developer. Think about tagging a blog,
for example. What is this blog about? Well, this blog might be about something as you’re writing
it, but as time goes on, it might be seen as some sort of historic record of the sentiment of the
So it moves from being a statement of fact to a statement of sentiment. The meaning of the
information will change, depending on its time, its purpose, and its use. You can't foresee it, you
can't predict it, and you certainly can't entrust a human with the task of speciﬁcally documenting
the meaning for each of those elements.
What we focus on is allowing the information itself to ascribe its own meaning and the user to
ﬁnd the information that has the appropriate meaning at the time that they need it. That's the big
Gardner: So the power of the cloud and the power of an engine like IDOL and Vertica brought
to bear and serving up the right information to the right person at the right time rather than them
having to ﬁnd it and know what they want.
Verstraete: Exactly, that's exactly what it is. With that information they can then start doing
whatever they want to do in their particular application and what they want to deliver to their
end-user. You’re absolutely spot on with that.
Gardner: Let's go to a different concept around the HP Converged Cloud, this notion of a virtual
private cloud. It seems as if we’re moving towards a cloud of clouds. You don’t seem to want to
put other public cloud providers out of business.
You seem to say let them do what they do. We want to get in front of them and add value, so that
those coming in through our cloud, and accessing their services vis-à-vis other clouds can get
better data and analysis, security, and perhaps even some other value-added services. Or am I
reading this wrong?
Verstraete: No, you’re actually reading this right. One of the issues that you have with public
clouds today isn't a question of whether public cloud is secure or not secure or whether it's
compliant or not compliant. Many customers don’t have the transparency to understand what is
really happening, and with transparency comes trust.
A lot of our customers tell us, "For certain particular workloads, we don’t really trust this or that
or that cloud, because we don’t really know what they do. So give us a cloud or something that
delivers the same type of functionality, but where I can understand what is done from a security
perspective, a process perspective, a compliance perspective, an SLA perspective, and so on?
"Where I can have a proper contract, not these little Ts and Cs that I tick in the box? Where I can
have the real proper contract and understand what I'm getting into, so that I can analyze my
potential risk and decide what security I want to have and what risk I'm prepared to take?"
Gardner: So the way in which I would interface with the HP managed services cloud of clouds
would be through SLAs and key performance indicators (KPIs) and the language of business
risk, rather than an engineer’s check list. Is that correct?
Muller: Absolutely, exactly right. That's the important point. Christian talks about this all the
time. It’s not about cloud; it’s about the service, and it’s about describing that service in terms of
that a businessperson can understand. What am I going to get, what cost, at what quality, at what
time, at what level of risk and security? And can I ﬁnd the right solution at the right time?
Gardner: I always go back to the notion that service-oriented architecture (SOA) came ﬁrst and
then the concepts around cloud and SaaS came later. And I still hold that, because there are
certain elements of cloud that go right back to a registry and repository, enterprise service bus
(ESB) with APIs and integration points and the ability to deliver services across a variety of
different systems, outputs, and devices.
One of the things that’s interesting about SOA is the requirement for that registry. You have
something called the HP Cloud Marketplace, which is a layer on top of the converged cloud or
within the converged cloud.
As a business, how do I start thinking about how I might start using the HP cloud to make new
and better revenue, using some of these data services, recognizing the security, and being able to
not just do IT differently, but actually do business differently? Is there anything you can tell me
about the HP Cloud Marketplace that would help people understand how there is a business
opportunity here too?
Verstraete: The marketplace isn’t there yet at the moment. It’s on its way. One of the elements
that we're trying to do with HP Cloud Services in particular is to provide developers with a rich
environment in which they can actually develop their applications.
We propose that once their applications are developed, once they are happy about that
application, that they put that application on the marketplace. Through the marketplace, we will
promote all the applications to our customer base and to our prospects, so that they can decide
which service and applications they want to use. This will give business to the original
Gardner: Paul, could you add to that?
Muller: Dana, you and I have talked about this one before. You're one of the few industry
analysts who really understands the fact that enterprise architecture’s concepts and constructs are
critical to somebody trying to establish cloud.
Everything you spoke about, the notion of what services I have, where I can ﬁnd them, who is
providing them to me, keeping track of the relationships and the communication, the protocols,
the contracts between each of those, is absolutely critical. The marketplace is one element of
that. It helps you manifest that, but of course, it has to be used in concert with enterprise
Gardner: So a layer of governance on this marketplace would allow for that KPI- and AP-based
language of business to allow for granular permission, access control, and a lower risk ability to
use public services in an enterprise setting.
Verstraete: In some of the early versions of that marketplace that we've been working on, one of
the concepts that we put in place is basically to say that if you're an enterprise, and the IT
responsible for that enterprise will decide, amongst all the applications that are available in
marketplace, which IT applications that are available to my company. I, as a user, then go in and
see only what I'm eligible to use.
So you get these elements, where you can start within a very large service catalogue. You zoom
in and get a service catalog, which is speciﬁc for a particular enterprise. That’s part of that
governance that Paul was just talking about. That’s where these things start to manifest
Gardner: If we go back full circle to earlier in our discussion talking about data and analytic
services, perhaps a permission-governed ﬁlter combining what application services with what
data services are either available or should be made available, gets us very close to a whole new
way of using IT to do business.
Data and sovereignty
Muller: You've touched on a really important point here. You mentioned data, and the minute
you mention data and cloud, any CIO on the planet that I speak to, certainly any regulator, will
use two words -- "data" and "sovereignty." "Where is my data allowed to be at any point in
That's such a critical point. It's one of the reasons we’re such a big fan of choice. When we think
about cloud, and as Christian mentioned, we’re very open to other cloud providers integrating
and working with us. With different regulators and in different countries, you’re going to want to
see different types of approaches taken.
HP obviously isn’t going to be able to meet every permutation of that. Our partners will be able
to ﬁnd those markets, specialize in those areas, and provide that sort of regulatory comfort for
that particular customer. We, of course, want to embrace them and integrate them into our
Gardner: Before we break off, I’d like to ask you some of your impressions about the users
here. You've been talking with CIOs and leaders within business. Christian, ﬁrst with you, does
anything jump out as interesting from the marketplace that perhaps you didn’t anticipate? Where
are they interested most in this notion of the HP Converged Cloud?
Verstraete: A lot of customers, at least the ones that I talk to, are interested in how they can start
taking advantage of this whole brand-new way with existing applications. A number of them are
not ready to say, "I'm going to ditch what I have, and I am going to do something else." They just
say, "I'm conﬁdent with and comfortable with this, but can I take advantage of this new
functionality, this new environment? How do I transform my applications to be in this type of a
world?" That's one of the elements that I keep hearing quite a lot.
Gardner: So a crawl-walk-run, a transition, a journey. This isn’t a switch you ﬂip; this is really a
Verstraete: That is why the presence of the traditional environment, as we said at the beginning,
is so important. You don’t take the 3,000 applications you have, plug them around, they all work,
and you forget about a traditional environment. That's not how it works. It's really that period to
start moving, and to slowly but surely start taking the full advantage of what this converged
cloud really delivers to you.
Gardner: Paul, what is that community here telling you about their interests in the cloud?
Muller: A number of things, but I think the primary one is just getting ahead of this
consumerization trend and being able to treat the internal IT organization and almost
transforming it into something that looks and feels like an external service provider.
So the simplicity, ease of consumption, transparency of cost, the choice, but also the conﬁdence
that comes from dealing with that sort of consumerized service, is there, whether it's bringing
your own device or bringing your own service or combining it on and off premises together.
Verstraete: Chris Anderson in his keynote Monday said something that resonated quite a lot
with me. If you, as a CIO, want to remain competitive, you'd better get quick, and you'd better
start transforming and move. I very much believe that, and I think that's something that we need,
that our CIOs actually need to understand.
Gardner: We also heard from Intel’s CIO today on the main stage that using data effectively will
be what makes you a disrupter rather than be disrupted. So, that seems to be a recurring theme.
I'm afraid we’ll have to leave it there. I want to thank our two guests. We’ve been joined by
Christian Verstraete, the Chief Technologist for Cloud Strategy at HP. Thank you so much.
Verstraete: Thank you, Dana.
Gardner: And our co-host Paul Muller, the Chief Software Evangelist at HP. Thank you, Paul.
Muller: It's always great having the opportunity to catch up with you, Dana.
Gardner: And I’ll also thank our audience for joining us for this special HP Discover
Performance podcast, coming to you from the HP Discover 2012 Conference in Las Vegas.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of
HP sponsored discussions. Thanks again for joining, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: HP
Transcript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from the HP Discover 2012 Conference on hybrid cloud
and tying together the evolving elements of cloud computing. Copyright Interarbor Solutions,
LLC, 2005-2012. All rights reserved.
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