HP Reveals New OpenStack Products Under The Helion Portfolio

HP today announced its intent to invest $1B in cloud products and services over the next two years. In addition, HP introduced Helion, a portfolio of cloud products that include existing and new OpenStack-based cloud offerings, other HP cloud products and professional services. Importantly, HP plans to focus Helion on hybrid cloud environments and the technologies needed to support their deployment and ongoing management as noted by Martin Fink, HP’s Executive Vice President and CTO:

Customer challenges today extend beyond cloud. They include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches. HP Helion provides the solutions and expertise customers need to select the right deployment model for their needs and obtain the greatest return for their investment.

While HP’s focus on hybrid clouds and the professional services required for their successful implementation differentiates itself from public cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, the company has done little to embellish the functionality of its core, OpenStack-based public cloud platform in ways that render it competitive in recent months. Meanwhile, the decision to unveil new OpenStack-based products appears to be a marketing strategy directed at the upcoming OpenStack Summit and its concomitant slew of attendees and PR. The bottom line here is that HP’s attention to the technologies required to successfully manage hybrid cloud environments is refreshingly original but needs to be complemented by more substantive elaboration on its own product enhancements and the roadmap for its OpenStack-based cloud platform.

MapR And HP Vertica Partner To Deliver SQL On Hadoop Via HP Vertica Analytics Platform

MapR Technologies today announced a partnership with HP Vertica that integrates the HP Vertica Analytics Platform with MapR’s enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Hadoop. As a result of the partnership, users of the HP Vertica Analytics Platform on MapR have the capability to leverage the SQL capabilities of the HP Vertica Analytics Platform against data stored in Hadoop clusters. The HP Vertica Analytics Platform constitutes yet another “SQL-on-Hadoop” solution that competes with the likes of Apache Hive, Concurrent’s Lingual, Cloudera’s Impala, Hadapt and the Hortonworks Stinger initiative. As noted in GigaOm, MapR itself leads Apache Drill, an open source initiative to develop a highly scalable, SQL-based interactive query engine for Apache Hadoop, but clearly made a strategic decision to expand the range of users of its Hadoop distribution by partnering with HP Vertica. Today, MapR also announced the release of the latest version of its Hadoop distribution featuring support for Hadoop 2.2 and YARN. Notably, users running Hadoop 1.x can take advantage of YARN’s resource management abilities to preview the functionality of YARN before upgrading to Hadoop 2.0. HP Vertica Analytics Platform on MapR is currently available in early access mode and will be generally available in March.

Dell’s Project Fast PaaS Illustrates Currency Of Cloud Foundry

Dell is incubating a new platform as a service offering built upon the Cloud Foundry PaaS infrastructure. The product, Project Fast PaaS, claims enhancements to the Cloud Foundry PaaS project. Project Fast PaaS boasts compatibility with Ruby, Node.js, Java, PHP and Python in addition to support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Redis databases as well as the RabbitMQ messaging system. An open-source solution, the product additionally features compatibility with application development frameworks such as Django, Grails, JavaWeb, Lift, Node, Play, Rack, Rails, Sinatra and Spring. Participants must already subscribe to Dell’s IaaS enterprise public cloud, Dell vCloud, in order to preview Dell’s Project Fast PaaS offering.

Dell’s investment in Project Fast PaaS illustrates the emerging currency of the VMware-EMC Cloud Foundry PaaS platform as the de facto standard infrastructure for Platform as a Service offerings. ActiveState’s Stackato, for example, which is similarly based upon the Cloud Foundry platform has recently been licensed by HP for HP’s Cloud Application PaaS offering. The other trend represented by Dell’s PaaS offering consists of the willingness of heavyweight tech behemoths such as Dell and HP to supplement their IaaS public cloud offering with a PaaS solution of some kind. IaaS customers are likely to want a PaaS offering as well, and correspondingly, PaaS may well end us serving as an originator for IaaS customers. The industry should expect to see more IaaS-PaaS combination offerings as public cloud vendors, in particular, strive to accommodate demands for preconfigured development frameworks from their customers alongside their IaaS platforms.

OpenStack-Based HP Cloud Compute Ready For Prime Time As It Advances To GA

This week, HP made a number of significant announcements related to its HP Cloud Services platform. The company revealed an aggressive pricing strategy for its OpenStack-based, Infrastructure as a Service, public cloud platform known as HP Cloud Compute including a 50% promotion that lasts until January 1, 2013. The aggressive positioning of HP Cloud Compute underscores the technological viability of OpenStack as a key player in the commercial, public cloud IaaS space given that, separate from Rackspace and Red Hat, yet another technology giant has elected to build a public cloud infrastructure on the OpenStack platform.

HP Cloud Compute has now transitioned from Beta to general availability. Pricing starts at $0.04 cents/hour for the “extra small” Linux-based HP instance marked by 1 HP Cloud Compute Unit featuring 1 virtual core w/1 HP Cloud Compute Unit, 1 GB RAM and 30 GB disk space. In comparison, the smallest Amazon Web Services Linux instance features a comparable 1.7 GB memory and a significantly larger storage allocation of 160GB at the rate of $.065/hour. HP Cloud Compute’s price of $.04/hour to $.065/hour for Amazon Web Services amounts to a significant cost savings, particularly if instance disk space beyond 30 GB is not required.

When comparing the two medium-sized offerings, however, Amazon Web Services comes out on top not only in price but with respect to specifications as well. The medium HP Cloud Compute instance features 4 HP Cloud Compute Units containing a total of 2 virtual cores with 2 HP Cloud Compute Units each, 4 GB RAM and 120 GB of disk space. The medium-sized Amazon Web Services Linux instance, in comparison, contains an analogous 4 EC2 compute units via 2 virtual cores containing 2 EC2 compute units each, 7.5 GB memory and 850 GB of instance disk space. Pricing compares at $.16/hour for HP Cloud Compute versus $.13/hour for Amazon Web Services, with the AWS medium-sized offering surpassing HP on memory and storage metrics as well.

Separate from HP Cloud Compute, HP announced the Beta launch of HP Cloud Block Storage. In addition, HP revealed details of its HP Cloud Application PaaS, which provides developers with access to pre-configured technology stacks that support Ruby, PHP, Java, Node.js, Python, and other languages. The platform is based on Vancouver-based ActiveState’s Stackato technology that boasts one of the industry’s leading polyglot PaaS platforms. HP Cloud Application PaaS is currently accepting applications from interested organizations as part of a private Beta launch.

These announcements reveal how HP is making an aggressive push into the IaaS space by luring customers into trying their HP Cloud Compute platform with their 50% discount promotion. Regardless of the promotion, pricing remains highly competitive, and is backed by a 99.95% SLA. The SLA is guaranteed monthly, meaning HP is committing to 100% uptime with the exception of a maximum of 22 minutes of per month, as reported in The Register. Customers that are frustrated with Amazon Web Services’s repeated outages and famed lack of customer support may well consider trying HP Cloud Compute as an option, particularly given the added allure of its interoperability in an increasingly rich commercial OpenStack ecosystem.

Report: HP To Deploy IaaS Public Cloud Within Two Months

According to a New York Times blog post, Hewlett-Packard is getting ready to deploy an Infrastructure as a Service public cloud that parallels Amazon Web Services within the next two months. The platform will differentiate itself from Amazon Web Services by providing a suite of services and business-oriented products that cater to the needs of enterprises. Speaking of the platform, Zorawar “Biri” Singh noted, “We’re not just building a cloud for infrastructure. Amazon has the lead there. We have to build a platform layer, with a lot of third-party services.” The platform will feature structured and unstructured databases that cater to the Big Data needs of enterprises. The HP public cloud will also contain tools that streamline the use of Ruby, Java and PHP, in addition to software that allows customers to automate provisioning and workflow. Moreover, HP will deploy the platform alongside an online store that offers HP-approved products to users of the cloud platform. The launch of the platform promises to serve up even more competition for Amazon Web Services, which already stands to encounter a significant threat to its market share lead from commercial OpenStack deployments. Just this week, Network World reported that Sony had migrated some of its products away from Amazon Web Services to OpenStack, though the reports have yet to be confirmed. What appears to be true is that Sony is using OpenStack alongside Amazon Web Services, though the extent of its use of OpenStack for production-ready deployments remains unclear.

Oracle Partners With Cloudera For Newly Available Big Data Appliance

On Tuesday, Oracle declared the availability of the Big Data appliance that it introduced to the world at its October conference Oracle Open World. The appliance runs on Linux and features Cloudera’s version of Apache Hadoop (CDH), Cloudera Manager for managing the Hadoop distribution, the Oracle NoSQL database as well as an open source version of R, the statistical software package. Oracle’s partnership with Cloudera in delivering its Big Data appliance goes beyond the latter’s selection as a Hadoop distributor to include assistance with customer support. Oracle plans to deliver tier one customer support while Cloudera will provide assistance with tier two and tier three customer inquiries, including those beyond the domain of Hadoop.

Oracle will run its Big Data appliance on hardware featuring 864 GB main memory, 216 CPU cores, 648 TB of raw disk storage, 40 Gb/s InfiniBand connectivity and10 Gb/s Ethernet data center connectivity. Oracle also revealed details of four connectors to its appliance with the following functionality:

• Oracle Loader for Hadoop to load massive amounts of data into the appliance by using the MapReduce parallel processing technology.
• Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop which provides a graphical interface that simplifies the creation of Hadoop MapReduce programs.
• Oracle Connector R which provides users of R streamlined access to the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)
• Oracle Direct Connector for Hadoop Distributed File System (ODCH), which supports the integration of Oracle’s SQL database with its Hadoop Distributed File System.

Oracle’s announcement of the availability of its Big Data appliance comes as the battle for Big Data market share takes shape in a landscape dominated by the likes of Teradata, Microsoft, IBM, HP, EMC, Informatica, MarkLogic and Karmasphere. Oracle’s selection of Cloudera as its Hadoop distributor indicates that it intends to make a serious move into the world of Big Data. For one, the partnership with Cloudera gives Oracle increased access to Cloudera’s universe of customers. Secondly, the partnership enhances the credibility of Oracle’s Big Data offering given that Cloudera represents that most prominent distributor of Apache Hadoop in the U.S.

In October, Microsoft revealed plans for a Big Data appliance featuring Hadoop for Windows Server and Azure, and Hadoop connectors for SQL Server and SQL Parallel Data Warehouse. Whereas Oracle chose Cloudera for Hadoop distribution, Microsoft partnered with Yahoo spinoff Hortonworks to integrate Hadoop with Windows Server and Windows Azure. In late November, HP provided details of Autonomy IDOL (Integrated Data Operating Layer) 10, which features the ability to process large-scale structured data sets in addition to a NoSQL interface for loading and analyzing structured and unstructured data. In December, EMC released its Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform (UAP) marked by the ability to load structured data, enterprise-grade Hadoop for analyzing structured and unstructured data and Chorus, a collaboration and productivity software tool. Bolstered by its partnership with Cloudera, Oracle is set to compete squarely with HP’s Autonomy IDOL 10, EMC’s Greenplum Chorus and IBM’s BigInsights until Microsoft’s appliance officially enters the Big Data doohyoo (土俵) qua sumo ring as well.