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Cloud in a Box: Converged Cloud Infrastructure for Enterprise Private Clouds

  • June 2014
  • 17 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2212029

Summary

Table of Contents

In this report, Stratecast reviews the challenges enterprises face in implementing an on-premises private cloud as part of their hybrid cloud strategies. We explore the concept of converged cloud infrastructure for its effectiveness in addressing those challenges. Finally, we look at converged cloud infrastructure solutions from three leading vendors: HP, IBM, and VCE.

Introduction
In the early days of the cloud—say, back in 2006 or 2007, when the term “cloud” meant “third-party provided”—the infrastructure configuration was little discussed. It was only of interest to the handful of cloud service providers, who did not talk much about their cloud infrastructure; in fact, the big selling point of the cloud was that enterprises didn’t have to think about infrastructure at all. But quickly thereafter, IT vendors and enterprise IT leaders saw the value in bringing the new model for creation and delivery of IT resources in-house.

- For enterprises, the on-premises private cloud promises the efficiency and flexibility of the cloud for workloads deemed too sensitive or complex for the hosted cloud model; as well as being a gateway to a hybrid cloud environment.
- For providers of cloud software and services, the on-prem cloud offers an opportunity to claim a share of the growing enterprise cloud budget.
- For providers of IT infrastructure, the on-prem cloud has the potential to preserve a significant revenue stream, by providing a compelling reason for enterprises to continue to make capital investments in the in-house data center.

While server virtualization, often considered the first step to the cloud, continues to penetrate the enterprise data center at levels of near-saturation, the private cloud has not yet achieved its potential. One reason could be that building a private cloud is hard. Wrangling servers and storage of varied vintage, capacity, and origin into a cohesive resource pool, and ensuring that workloads and applications perform, scale, and interoperate optimally is a tough task. Each unique hardware component (server, storage, network) must be provisioned, configured, tested, and tweaked to run with the hypervisor, the monitoring and management software, and the cloud service automation platform. Then, as workloads are deployed, the testing and tweaking continues. When any element—hardware, platform, application—is scaled or updated, the process starts over again.

Because most enterprises have few cloud experts on staff, the effort can be onerous. Furthermore, expectations may be unreasonably high, as the cloud model is often positioned as simple and cost-efficient, which is not necessarily the experience of those building a private cloud. However, a private cloud solution has entered the market that is driving the adoption of cloud in the private data center. These converged cloud solutions, or “cloud-in-a-box,” offer pre-configured hardware and software that are delivered “plug-in ready,” or nearly so. Such solutions allow enterprise IT departments to transform their operating procedures with cloud characteristics, such as on-demand, scalable delivery of IT resources, while minimizing manual intervention. The converged solutions also promise an easy on-ramp to a hybrid cloud, in which on-premises cloud configurations seamlessly interoperate with hosted cloud services. While converged solutions are not restricted to the enterprise market—in fact, some providers say their greatest take rate is among cloud service providers—this report focuses on the potential of the technology to accelerate cloud adoption among enterprises.
In this report, Stratecast reviews the challenges enterprises face in implementing an on-premises private cloud as part of their hybrid cloud strategies. We explore the concept of converged cloud infrastructure for its effectiveness in addressing those challenges. Finally, we look at converged cloud infrastructure solutions from three leading vendors: HP, IBM, and VCE.

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