HP CloudSystem Matrix Part 1: create your cloud map
This post is the first of a series of three that will explain the concepts and technologies that are used in HP CloudSystem Matrix. This post is first about the creation of a cloud map. The second will present the deployment of a complete service and the last will show how to manage the pools of resources !
When I ask my customers how long it takes them to deploy a complete IT service (i.e. architecture design, proof of concepts, physical reception of the servers, provisioning of the resources -such as storage and networking- install the operating system and configure the application) I generally hear answers going from a couple of weeks for small projects to months for more complex projects.
This is the main infrastructure issue the HP CloudSystem Matrix addresses. This Matrix is simply a complete solution made of hardware (c7000 blades enclosure and a wide choice of Intel Itanium-based Integrity or AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon based servers), software (the full stack of the so-called Insight Software Suite) and services (the HP services people come on site, install the hardware and software and customize the solution to adapt it to the customers’ needs and processes).
Instead of deploying applications the old way, HP Bladeystem Matrix really transforms the hardware in commodity hardware that can be used and reused by different services. It creates a shared-service infrastructure that can be divided in different pool of resources which users will pick in order to request a service to be deployed. We can call this a cloud infrastructure in a box, because the users request applications through a self-service portal and these applications are deployed automatically somewhere, on an highly scalable IT infrastructure the business user has no idea about – and that is not his job anyway !
To be concrete: everything starts with the Insight Orchestration Designer. In this web-based application, it is possible to create so-called “cloud maps”, or templates, which will contain all the important information to deploy IT services. Let’s say you want to deploy a SAP 2-tier infrastructure: you will need a database server and some application servers, all booting from the SAN for more flexibility, as well as some network connectivity, i.e. VLANs that will be help deploying the application and the operating system over the network through PXE-boot and also, most importantly, a network linking the application servers to the database server.
How long and in which time frame do you think your company will be able to deploy all these elements manually and individually ? If you think what you have today is not good enough, HP CloudSystem Matrix can help you.
You can create your own cloud map or pick the maps already available on the HP website. The advantage of these pre-prepared cloud maps ? They are designed according to the best practices from HP and the ISVs, such as Oracle, SAP or Red Hat, so you can be sure that you will have enough I/O resources, for instance, to accommodate the deployment of a database server.
On this example, you see the two deployment networks for PXE-boot (RDP for HP Rapid Deployment Pack for Linux on x86-64 and Ignite-UX for HP-UX). The elements, such as server groups or physical storage are picked from the top left corner, drag-and-dropped on the main surface and connected to each other. Creating such a cloud map is really easy, however, this is just a XML file, there is no on-the-fly deployment.
Then, each of the components, such as servers, storage or networking must be configured to enter the minimum requirements needed. At deployment time, the software will pick the elements from the pool of resources which meet at least these requirements. In the case below, we see that the database server will at least have two processor cores and 8GB of RAM.
Note also that you can enter the cost for physical and virtual servers, IP addresses and GB of storage. This helps give an idea of the cost of an IT service to business users. This cost can also be integrated into other applications through a REST API.
We then configure the two network interfaces defined for the HP-UX database server. The primary interface will be the one deploying the operating system (the Ignite-UX network). We then have the choice between a DHCP, static or “Automatic” IP address.
DHCP is the standard dynamic host configuration protocol and “static” will allocate a static IP address to the interface. The trade-off however, is that we won’t be able to re-use the cloud map into multiple services, since the IP address will already be taken.
The field “Automatic” resolves this problem in that the management software will take an IP address from a pre-defined range and will allocate it as a static IP address for the duration of the service. The server, when it restarts, for instance, will keep the same static IP address. When the service is erased, the “Automatic” IP address will be sent back to the pool and can be reused for other services.
Finally, the hostname must contain a hash (#) sign. The reason is that, again, this template can be deployed multiple times and the hostnames need to be different at every deployment. At deployment time, the #-sign will be replaced by a completion string given by the service requester.
We now have to select the operating system that will run on the selected server. In our case, we use HP-UX 11i v3. The x86_64 servers can use Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Windows. Virtual machines running on the top of VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V can also be included in these cloud maps and be provisioned and deployed automatically.
After the main characteristics of the server were defined, we can now make use of the workflows to finish the cloud map. In our case, the workflow “SAPInstall” will be executed at the end of the creation of the service. This means that the SAP instance will be deployed on our newly provisioned infrastructure.This technology is based on HP Operations Orchestration and allows to customize the deployment of the service down to the smallest detail (e.g. change of a kernel parameter,etc.)
At that point in time, it is possible to create your own workflows, such as an integration with HP’s Universal CMDB to update it with the service, or open an new Request for change (RfC) in HP Service Manager or with BMC’s Remedy. The customers can hence integrate the deployment of their services in their already existing ITIL change processes.
Our cloud map is now ready to be deployed. The logo next to “validation status” is now green, which means that we have enough informations to deploy this service. We now save it and tick the box “Published”, so that business users will be able to select this cloud map from their service catalogue and request it to be deployed automatically.
The creation of a cloud map was an easy thing. Remember, though, that HP, in co-operation with ISV’s provide cloud maps ready to be deployed. In my next post, I will show you how to request a service to be deployed and what happens behind the scenes. Stay tuned !