HP boxes up the Cloud for the enterprise

The HP Helion Rack provides a prepackaged cloud ready to run

Enterprises that wish to enjoy the benefits of Cloud computing but still prefer to keep computational resources in-house should take a look at a new Cloud system offered by Hewlett-Packard.

A preconfigured package of hardware and software, the HP Helion Rack "is designed to help enterprises deploy private Clouds much faster," said Ken Won, director of HP Helion marketing.

A private Cloud allows an organisation to offer Cloud services, such as virtual machines, on internal networks. For example, employees could use a private Cloud to provision their own IT resources. Or, a company may want to set up a Cloud computing infrastructure itself to run Cloud services on behalf of their customers.

Creating a private Cloud from scratch can take an organiSation months to complete, Won said. By purchasing a prepackaged system from HP, an organization may not require as much expertise as it would need to build the same system from the ground up. HP creates each system in its own facilities, and then sets it up at the customer site. HP has done much of the work in securing the system, and tuning it for maximum performance.

HP based the Helion Rack on open source software. The company used OpenStack for running infrastructure services, such as provisioning virtual servers. HP is a big contributor to the OpenStack project, and so has lots of expertise on hand to troubleshoot issues. HP also runs OpenStack for its own Helion Public Cloud, so it has a lot of experience with the software.

"The most common use for this will be businesses looking to deploy their first OpenStack Cloud. We see that happening a lot on mid-size businesses and departments within large businesses," Won said.

For platform services, such run-time software for executing a specific program, HP used the Cloud Foundry software, also open source. The company has also installed the HP Helion Development Platform, a set of development tools built on Cloud Foundry.

On the hardware side, HP uses ProLiant DL servers for the system. Storage and networking components are also included.

HP Helion Rack is well suited as a platform for developing new applications, particularly applications that will run on a Cloud infrastructure, Won said. The Helion system is designed for computationally heavy workloads, such as data analysis and database hosting.

The Helion Rack also provides a clear path to migrating applications over to HP Helion Public Cloud. The public Cloud can be handy for workloads that periodically require additional capacity to execute.

HP Helion Rack will be available for purchase in April. The pricing is based on configuration, starting at a system that can support 400 virtual machines.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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