Is it possible that some IT leaders have grown weary of the ever growing cloud portfolio? “Another?” they may be asking in regards to new Virtual Private Cloud offerings. “What was wrong with the old one?” And they’d be right. If all you needed the cloud for was to reduce infrastructure cost, serve as a reliable backup and you didn’t actually have enough demand or the data center to make a private cloud valuable, then there are other solutions out there.
But for those larger corporations that may have other needs, a VPC could be of great value. While the purpose of our show “Evaluating HP’s Virtual Private Cloud,” was to test a specific brand’s offering in comparison to others, HP’s CTO Chris Moyer keyed us in on what his customers are thinking when they’re shopping for a VPC. Here are five of the things they’ve kept in mind:
Applications on a Trusted Platform
Moyer says a growing trend for customers looking at a VPC is the need of “a set of applications on a trusted platform that takes the business functionality directly out, either to their employees, their supply chain or their customers.” He says most of the companies he works with have rich application portfolios in which understanding the right transformation steps can be quite complex when it comes to moving workloads.
“You’ve got to know the business rules, the security policies and the obvious infrastructure demands, but what are the software and network details that are really important to make the applications run well,” Moyer said. It’s important to conduct an “application portfolio assessment” before approaching any cloud environment, Moyer says. Know why you’re moving an application to the cloud, what the business requirements and expectations are for those applications and how the environment will behave when that app is put there.
Location, Location, Location
Many of Moyer’s clients have expressed a need to know where their environments are located and where the operations of those environments run from. This is important in terms of data privacy, data handling, and legislative and industry requirements. “What are you allowed to have outside of your control, and if you need to have geopolitical boundaries, if you need unique rules around integration and if you need to have support structures that are within a country or a region, then that tends to eliminate some of the public cloud offerings that we and others have,” Moyer said.
Asking those security based questions upfront leads to considering specific workload requirements, such as wanting to manage the environment or having the ability to scale up and down without being asset based.
Flexible, Secure and Available Environments
Making the integration much cleaner between environments on the consumption based model and ones that demand dedicated environments such that they can connect and talk to one another has been a priority for HP. Clients want to be certain that their environments are flexible, secure and available. Moyer says the question he always gets is, “What is the availability of this if you built this so secure? Can you guarantee this service level agreement on some of my most important applications?”
HP has worked to connect their VPC locations globally to provide that level of availability, mainly because some customers want the flexibility to have a physical environment in addition to the virtual one because certain architectures will not scale up as nicely.
Clients have urged HP to get mobility offerings on their VPC. BYOD is very important, they say, and they want the availability and consumption based model for quick and easy access for any applications.
“That sounds like a better option than what I think is happening in my organization right now, where I know people are using Dropbox and putting data in there that I can’t see, touch or understand,” Moyer said, echoing the comments of his customers. “It’s not encrypted, and it’s out in the wild for all practical purposes. They are using Skype because they don’t have collaboration services or they are bouncing between their personal email and their professional email because they’re a supplier as opposed to a permanent employee.”
At the end of the day, IT decision makers will look to the VPC for its return on investment. Why is this offering more valuable than the other cloud solutions? In the most basic terms, you can calculate the ROI in pure dollars. Trimming the need for equipment, storage, a network and the capital and operating expense eliminates the enormous costs of building and housing another infrastructure. It puts the solution in one place, Moyer says.
But additionally, Moyer says the flexibility and the speed of deployment for new solutions and going worldwide shortens the time to value overall. It also enables HP to take that speed and apply it to higher risk projects. “We’re really focused on giving them choice, giving them confidence and giving them consistency,” Moyer said.
To find out more about a VPC offering, listen to the Solution Spotlight, “Evaluating HP’s Virtual Private Cloud.”