Why HP chose OpenStack for its cloud service

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Session Name: Who Does What When Everyone is a Cloud Provider?


Paul Miller

Margaret Dawson

Audience Member

Announcer 00:35

We like you to binge and enjoy our conferences, so we pack them full of stuff throughout the day. Up next, we have Who Does What When Everyone is a Cloud Provider. That’s going to be a discussion between Paul Miller, he’s the founder of Cloud Data and Analyst at GigaOM Research, and Margaret Dawson, the VP of product marketing and cloud evangelist of Hewlett Packard. Please welcome Paul and Margaret to the stage.

Paul Miller 00:35

Thank you Chris, and good morning everyone. I understand, we’re standing between you and lunch.

Margaret Dawson 00:41

You are.

Paul Miller 00:41

Well, us and to that follow. So, we apologize for that. Hopefully we’ll have a good, engaging conversation and distract you from your rumbling stomachs.

Margaret Dawson 00:48

Yeah, and think about questions. We hope to have this two-way conversation, so we don’t need to just talk to each other. As fun as that is, and I know you enjoy that.

Paul Miller 00:55

Yes. So Margaret?

Margaret Dawson 00:57


Paul Miller 00:58

Who are you, and what do you do at HP?

Margaret Dawson 01:00

Who am I…?

Paul Miller 01:01

Who are you?

Margaret Dawson 01:02

Well I won’t go back to the beginning, but I’ll keep it on HP. You’ve heard my title, but basically I wear three hats. Actually, I run product marketing for our public cloud product. I also sit on the executive team for what we call converged cloud, which is our UberCloud organization across HP. We work on good market strategy and the vision of cloud and try to bring everyone together across the organization. I’m a Cloud Evangelist, which means I do things like this, where I go out and talk about HP’s cloud products and strategy and how we work with customers and help people understand how to work with us.

Paul Miller 01:37

What do you do the other six days of the week?

Margaret Dawson 01:39

I have five children and a husband, and yes. It’s fun. I spend a lot of money. I will work until I die, is what I say.

Paul Miller 01:49

HP has clearly been telling a cloud story for quite a long time. That cloud story has evolved. I think there’s been a perception, perhaps, that there’s been an awful lot more promise than reality to that story in the past, although talking to a few people just in the last six to nine months, that appears to have changed. There appears to be some more credibility behind the good story. What’s happened at HP to me that there’s suddenly some reality there?

Margaret Dawson 02:19

That’s a good question. I’ve been there seven months, and I think what we’ve seen in the last year especially are a few things. One is, I have to look to Meg Whitman, our CEO, because we absolutely have commitment to the cloud all the way to the top. With Meg, with the board of directors, we’ve brought in folks like Ray Ozzie, who have amazing credibility in the cloud computing industry. There is absolutely a drive across the company up to the very top in cloud computing. It’s one of our key pillars, so we look at could mobility, security, and analytics big data as being what we call our big bets, or our strategic pillars. Cloud is looked at across the organization. We also have this converged cloud organization, which didn’t exist a year ago. That’s driving a lot more momentum across the company, and more importantly, integrating all of the different pieces. We’ve got cloud obviously sitting in a lot of different business units. Our job in converged cloud is making that glue, making sure we’re going to the customer together, going to our partners together, and making sure we have that single story so that people understand what it means to work with HP and the cloud. Finally, I think we’re just hiring great people. There was an article in Wired this morning about Bill Hilf, who was the GM of Azure at Microsoft. We’re bringing people that know cloud computing, that have years in the industry, that have credibility and know what customers need and want and will drive the strategy and the products that the market needs.

Paul Miller 03:42

You mentioned customers there, and that’s an important point to lead on. A lot of the conversation around cloud tends to focus on the start-up benefits, it’s all about having a credit card and going–


Margaret Dawson 03:54


Paul Miller 03:54

— a thousand servers and all the rest of it. You deal with start-ups, but HP also traditionally deals with the Fortune 100, the FTSE 100 type organization, and for them I imagine that being able to run up 1000 servers on your credit card isn’t actually the top front of mind.

Margaret Dawson 04:10

That’s right.

Paul Miller 04:13

What are those kinds of customers looking for, and why is HP the place to give it to them?

Margaret Dawson 04:20

I think there’s a few ways to answer that. One is, you’re absolutely right. We have legacy of heritage with Enterprise, so we have thousands of Enterprise customers in Europe and North America, all over the world. They’re coming to us and saying what they really want is somebody that can help them go on their journey. Everybody’s in a different place where they are. Some people are just starting. Some people are well along the road. Some have built out cloud-ready infrastructure. Each company that we work with, we need to go in and say, Okay, where are you in this journey? Where do you want to get in this journey? How can we help you? That’s one big thing. We also hear a lot about openness and transparency. On the public cloud side, one of the biggest issues that you hear is control and security. One of the reasons we went with OpenStack, which I know you want to talk about more, is that these companies wanted to be able to see the code, touch the code, know what was happening, look at the architecture, almost partner with us on that, even though we were managing and it was a complete public cloud infrastructure.

Margaret Dawson 05:15

The other things are what you hear all the time – they want agility, they want security, they want reliability, they want the cloud to be up, whether it’s private or public it needs to actually operate and just like regular infrastructure does all the time. They want the ability to have the flexibility to move content applications across cloud environments and traditional IT.

Paul Miller 05:35

Which is the whole hybrid thing that we’ll come to in a moment.

Margaret Dawson 05:37


Paul Miller 05:37

But before we go there, OpenStack. There are a number of cloud offerings out there that HP could’ve chosen. It has chosen most of them at one point in its history. Why is OpenStack the right choice now?

Margaret Dawson 05:54

Nice little dig there, just stick that in there. We actually chose OpenStack strategically about two years ago. The first product that was GA with that was our public cloud. OpenStack now is serving as the foundation of what we call our common architecture. It’s the technology foundation across all of our cloud solutions. And the reason we chose OpenStack was a few different things. One is that HP has a very strong legacy in Open Source. Sometimes people forget how many years we have been working with the Open Source community. It goes back decades and support all the flavors of Linux in our customers’ infrastructure. There was some heritage there that became very natural for us to do. But, it also goes back to what customer want. We’re hearing that we want that openness. We want that transparency. We want that portability of applications. That was another key reason. Another thing is, there’s something about the innovation of the community. Why did Open Source do so well? It’s because everybody’s giving back, so the rate of innovation can be so much higher. We’ve become very involved in the community. We’re one of the top contributors at all times, and we’re doing a lot of other stuff such as continuous integration. We actually run that for the foundation separately from any of our products. We do a lot of the testing in our data structures and infrastructure. That’s just part of our contribution to the community. Frankly, I just don’t think that there needed to be another black box proprietary cloud out there. There’s enough of those, and I think it’s more about how do we enable our customers to have that open, flexible, portable environment. We add our own value to it. Every company that’s doing OpenStack is not like we’re all pushing out the same product. That’s at the foundation, absolutely, use the API’s, have that inner operability, but that’s absolute special sauce that you can add to that around security, around management, around our services. We wrap professional services and helping them on their journey. All those things we talked about before, that’s how we compete and differentiate.

Paul Miller 07:51

And I think that notion of special sauce is an important one. You’re taking vanilla Open Stack and you’re adding things to it.

Margaret Dawson 07:59

It’s [banana?] now. Vanilla is good. I’m just kidding.

Paul Miller 08:04

When HP started deploying OpenStack in your public cloud, the raw code wasn’t quite up to scratch with running a service of that scale, so HP added things and modified things to move away from the basic offering, to come up with an HP flavor of OpenStack which met your needs and your customers’ needs.

Margaret Dawson 08:21

I would push back on that. I think in the early days when OpenStack wasn’t very mature, there was a lot of discussion around are we staying true to trunk or whatever. We can just forget that conversation, because we were absolutely, 100% operable. We stay on trunk. We’re doing Havana now. I think that there’s as the platform has matured, and as the community has matured, the need to do that has almost gone away completely. Our special sauce is not changing the core components. When we look at those core things around storage and networking and compute and all those, we are on trunk and we are staying true. The interoperability using the API’s, you don’t mess with that stuff. That’s what creates that interoperability. What we’re adding is both that common architectural layer, so we can talk between our private public and manage cloud environments, and then adding that management layer for one view common visibility, ease of management and all of that. And then you’ve got security and SLA’s and how we help our customers deploy it and manage it.

Paul Miller 09:26

I’ll come to the audience for questions if you have any in a moment. There are mikes, if you move up to the mikes I’ll be ready for you in a sec. How do you tell that value added story around OpenStack in a way that makes sense and resonates customers? Is this… I’m an existing HP customer, therefore it makes sense to stay with HP for OpenStack. That’s one message. But what about all those non-HP customers, how do you bring them to your OpenStack offering rather than anyone else’s?

Margaret Dawson 09:58

Very different. With existing customers, I think many of them already have deployed HP infrastructure products, whatever. When we talk about hybrid, we don’t talk just about cloud – it’s hybrid delivery across that. It’s looking at OpenStack as a way to extend what they are already doing and I think that’s a really important way to look at it. When I think of cloud, it’s always about extending, augmenting, attaching, not rip and replace. Nobody is going wholesale from their traditional infrastructure to cloud. It’s just not happening. This allows them that ease of agility of moving their environments, starting to put some applications in the cloud, and really working with what we’re already doing. That story resonates very well. They already know this is an open environment, but we still get the HP experience, the HP support, the HP SLA’s, the HP services that we’re used to.

Margaret Dawson 10:48

For new customers, what’s great is we’re part of this ecosystem. They’re saying okay, HP has this enterprise-grade cloud, but I can do that even as a start-up. I’m already working with these OpenStack partners that also work with HP. They’re using the same API’s. I get that. It’s starting to bring in this new generation that maybe in the past HP seemed like they couldn’t quite reach out. We’re working with all of our same resellers, so the resellers are able to bundle this stuff together and say, I’m going to bring this backup appliance with this cloud and do a whole disaster-recovery scenario. It’s looking at those workloads and how we can help them across that entire ecosystem.

Paul Miller 11:26

You said the dreaded H word, hybrid. Hybrid cloud seems to be the– it’s what everyone seems to want to buy and it’s what everyone seems to want to sell at the moment. How does that look from inside HP? Is this just the latest marketing opportunity, or is there something solid?

Margaret Dawson 11:44

This is one of my bailiwicks. We talked about cloud washing, and I really think we’ve gotten to the point of hybrid-washing now, that no one knows what hybrid means. Everybody’s doing it, and everybody wants it. I think there’s two things, there was some article we were talking about the other day that hybrid is this end goal, that hybrid is this nirvana that we’re trying to get to. For our customers, hybrid is here. They’re living it. They’re in the pain every day. To them, when you talk to CIO’s they just laugh at that. They have traditional IT infrastructure. They have their data centers. They’re already got some cloud. They’ve got rogue clouds going on all over the place. They’re in the middle of it. When we talk about hybrid, we’re talking about that entire environment, so everything from the traditional data center, network infrastructure, all the way to public cloud and everything in between – VPC’s, private cloud, you name it. How do you enable to be that trusted partner? How do you help your customer’s manage that across this entire environment? This is where I think, frankly, HP has a huge advantage in differentiation, because we literally can help you form end to end, wrap it in services, have that management layer, that security expertise, and help you on that journey no matter where you want to go.

Paul Miller 12:55

How do you fit in to that, if the end thread piece of that stack isn’t all HP’s which in a lot of cases it wouldn’t be?

Margaret Dawson 13:02

It goes back to why do we do OpenStack. How do you not have vendor lock in? How do you have that interoperability? How do you leverage your partner ecosystem? How do you allow them to have a cloud that they don’t feel like their future is locked in? That’s why we didn’t go with that black box.

Paul Miller 13:19

Good. Any questions from the audience?

Margaret Dawson 13:22

It’s a quiet group.

Paul Miller 13:23

It is. I think they’re all getting too hungry.

Margaret Dawson 13:25

We should’ve put instead of coffee, maybe put a keg out there next time.

Paul Miller 13:34

There’s all this talk about hybrid, and all this talk about being able to move from one cloud to another, whether it’s from private to public, or from one public cloud to another. How real is that? Is it just CIO’s after an insurance policy, so they’re not locked in, or our work codes really moving every day from one cloud to another?

Margaret Dawson 13:56

We’re not there yet. I was in the integration space for five years, and we were doing B2B integration in the cloud, and I think integration and that interoperability is still the biggest pain. Part of it is because the CIO is not in control of all of those environments. It’s not the way it used to be where we had this absolute control of our network. We’d build this wonderful SOA layer and everybody behaved and we could control things. I think that that’s still a future vision of how we can literally, no matter where data sits, that we have some level of policy and control. The starting point is developing that governance, and I think a lot of companies do that too late where they’re like, Okay, we have all this, now we want to fix it. The sooner you can start to say, What would be our governance and policies around data management regardless of the environment. This is network security 101. For some reason we think we should be thinking about it differently because it’s in a cloud. It’s still network security.

Paul Miller 14:52

Isn’t it someone else’s problem in the cloud?

Margaret Dawson 14:55

Right. Someone else’s problem. Your governance should be able to carry that through, whether it’s a public cloud or a private cloud or a Colo, whatever it is that you should be able to mandate, This is what I need. Are you SAS 70 compliant? I need PCI compliance. What do you do around access control rules? Multi-tenancy doesn’t mean that it’s less secure. It still has to have the controls around that. I think there’s a lot of fallacy and a lot of myth around what it means to be in multiple clouds. I don’t think it has to mean lack of control. You have the responsibility as an IT manager to figure out if that is keeping to your policies and governance.

Paul Miller 15:37

Do you think those IT managers recognize their responsibility there, or do they honestly think, I’m giving this job to someone else. It’s their problem to worry about.

Margaret Dawson 15:47

I think that that’s mixed. There’s no one answer to that. I think that it’s happening more at the CIO and CSO level. I think there’s a lot of IT managers that feel that they’ve lost control already, and all they can do is try to continually herd the goats back in and try to get control. Some companies are taking the hard line and shutting down the drop boxes and what we call the rogue clouds or the shadow IT that have popped up.

Paul Miller 16:12

Useful stuff.

Margaret Dawson 16:14

The collaboration tools and whatnot. I think there’s a lot of– takes me back to network security days, where we used to have this wonderful castle moat analogy where you could just lock it down, put your firewalls, and you still have those network admins that long after the internet were still trying to protect their network and ignore what was happening around them, and we’re seeing some of that same thing where they’re putting their head in the sand and saying, I’m just going to let those happen and hope that my data doesn’t get compromised.

Paul Miller 16:43

Is that question?

Audience Member 16:46

My question here is that, companies like Google and Facebook, and we saw Netflix are designing some of their own hardware to specialize on particular computing architectures. With OpenStack and all of that, that’s an opportunity to start specializing on things like network architectures and node designs. Are you getting into that at HP?

Margaret Dawson 17:07

Absolutely. We do have a lot of reference architectures and because we have such a large networking division – which a lot of people don’t know that HP is number two in networking in the world – we’re doing a lot around software-defined networking and other areas that align with our OpenStack strategy and we also have our whole server product line, which we’ve come out with what we call HP Moonshot, which is the next generation server and data center that is now leveraging OpenStack as well. You’re going to start seeing more and more of that integration and use of OpenStack and Open Source components across the HP ecosystem, as well as how we’re working with our partners. That’s a great question. Absolutely.

Paul Miller 17:47

We’re out of time.

Margaret Dawson 17:49

That was fast.

Paul Miller 17:48

Margaret, thank you very much.

Margaret Dawson 17:50

Thank you.

Announcer 17:57

Thank you Paul. Thank you Margaret. We actually have one more session before lunch, but I think your tummies can handle it, because you’re going to want to listen to this. It’s Addictive Metrics: The Secret to Driving Your Business With Analytics.