Adaptive infrastructure no longer vision

Adaptive infrastructure no longer vision

Summary: At the beginning of this decade HP put forth a vision for the future data center that they have now fulfilled with both products and services offerings. Viewed by some at the time as a reaction to IBM Applications on Demand, HP coined Adaptive Infrastructure as its vision for a "composable" data center that let resources  be quickly and easily assigned to business services based on their needs and for IT Ops to achieve and maintain high utilization of their data center resources.

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At the beginning of this decade HP put forth a vision for the future data center that they have now fulfilled with both products and services offerings. Viewed by some at the time as a reaction to IBM Applications on Demand, HP coined Adaptive Infrastructure as its vision for a "composable" data center that let resources  be quickly and easily assigned to business services based on their needs and for IT Ops to achieve and maintain high utilization of their data center resources.In 2008 HP started to fulfill this vision with the combination of its blade systems, Virtual Connect technology, Virtual Machine Management software, and the OpsWare-like Insight Dynamics-VSE. It started customers down this path through HP Professional Services who debuted an Adaptive Infrastructure Maturity Model coupled with advisory and implementation services that plotted your course towards this reality. This month they added orchestration and recovery services to the Dynamics family and announced new AI Discovery centers, ProCurve software to enhance network orchestration, and enhanced services offerings to take advantage of these new portfolio elements. All these announcements had significant meat to Adaptive Infrastructure which is one of the few visions you can actually implement today.

The timing is good for these announcements and for delivery against this vision as VMware, Cisco and others start to ratchet up their own marketing around a similar-sounding futureview.

Cisco debuted its Data Center 3.0 vision early last year with the introduction of its 10GbE Nexus products. It clearly sees the network convergence 10GbE will bring to be a catalyst for its vision which speaks with a familiar ring about the orchestration and composability of resources. And with rumors spreading about a potential play on the server side, Cisco is garnering mindshare well ahead of its ability to deliver.

And last fall VMware launched its similar-sounding vision, Virtual Data Center OS. While VMware has yet to reach the market presence of HP or Cisco, it has the ear of many an IT Ops leaders due to the IT consolidation and automation gains it has delivered to the market in the last four years. It's success has had such a strong effect that most vendors find themselves competing not with VMware's existing product line, but against their roadmap, as many of the IT best practices for virtualization implementation are being set by VMware.

While all these efforts at transforming the data center into a more responsive, highly utilized asset pool are commendable (and sorely needed), each carries a degree of proprietariness. Thus, IT Ops leaders need to ask which vision they should follow and what tradeoffs do they carry with them?

In HP's case, you can't really deploy a heterogeneous Adaptive Infrastructure -- it runs on HP BladeSystem with Virtual Connect. You can use any hypervisor technology, any OS and can even incorporate your Integrity open systems into this model but its capabilities become quickly limited off-platform.

Cisco's DC 3.0 obviously locks you into the Cisco networking products family. It will likely be best with VMware, based on their previous partnership announcements and will likely attempt to commoditize the server and storage assets it orchestrates.

While VMware's VDC-OS will clearly be a VMware-only (while it might incorporate other hypervisors) infrastructure play.

You'll be hard pressed to find any vendor's vision or strategy for IT modernization that is truly heterogeneous so looking for that is a fool's quest. Instead look to your own standardization efforts. If you are standardizing on any of the above vendors, then you are likely to be inclined toward their vision and will be able to gain tremendously from what they bring forth.

If HP is your preferred systems vendor then you can have this vision now which may be an important trump card if you are taking advantage of the recession by investing in transformation now so you can emerge stronger. Its one thing to have a compelling vision. It's another to be delivering it today.

Topics: Cisco, CXO, Data Centers, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Storage, VMware

James Staten

About James Staten

James Staten is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, serving Infrastructure and Operations professionals.

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  • standardization with a single vendor isn't the only option

    James,

    Great post on how yesterday?s vision of the data center is today becoming a reality. While you understandably highlighted the largest players and their quest to homogenize data centers with their line of products, I have to strongly disagree that standardization is the only way.

    There are many data center automation and orchestration tools available that can ? and do ? work with various types of hardware models and vendors. These companies are enabling asset optimization, better approaches to DR, and a new way to look at the computing resources in their data center. Take a look at BMC's BladeLogic Operations Manager, CA?s Data Center Automation solution, Racemi's DynaCenter, PlateSpin and Scalent. I believe that most of these solutions are moving in the same direction as the new HP applications, but with a vendor agnostic approach.

    This market is just beginning to blossom and there is a whole line of competition out there for HP, so maybe companies should think twice about their options and becoming ?locked-in? to a single vendor.

    Crystal Moody
    Racemi