Convergence and Confusion in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

Convergence in the data center is no longer a matter of if, but rather when. As virtualization and cloud computing evolve, it's becoming pretty clear that we're not going to have enough IT people on hand to manage the complexity of environments where there will not only be thousands of virtual servers, but also application workloads that will be dynamically moving across those virtual servers.

While there is still plenty of debate about the degree to which all the convergence will happen, Duncan Campbell, vice president of converged infrastructure for Hewlett-Packard, says that given the long-term planning that goes into IT infrastructure requirements, there is a need to plan for almost any eventuality.

Campbell says HP's Converged Infrastructure architecture represents a flexible approach to the problem in that it gives IT organizations a choice between buying servers that come tightly integrated with network and storage components and more loosely coupled approaches that are integrated via HP management software.

Rather than dictating an approach to infrastructure convergence, Campbell says most IT organizations are going to need a combination of hardware- and software-centric approaches. That requirement will become especially apparent when IT organizations move to integrate public and private cloud computing platforms under a common management framework. That framework, he said, will also ultimately dictate the approach IT organizations take toward governance and service level agreements. For example, HP has partnered with Cast Iron Systems to integrate various cloud computing services with existing enterprise systems.

Ultimately, Campbell says HP is working up a series of blueprints for various converged infrastructure scenarios. Most customers today are just trying to understand what their future options are, but one thing is sure -- what will come with convergence is a whole lot more confusion.

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