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HP blackens the skies with Cloud offerings

CloudSystem, CloudStart also punted as, well ... clouds

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CloudStart and CloudSystem: what's the difference?

The CSA tools are comprised of new code hammered out by HP engineers and existing code culled from the Insight, Opsware, and Mercury lines, including Operations Orchestration, SiteScope, Server Automation, Cloud Service Portal, and Service Gateway.

While the CloudSystem requires the CSA tools to do cloudy infrastructure, the CSA tools themselves can burst out to other platforms, including HP's own rack and tower ProLiant and Integrity servers and even servers made by other vendors if need be. HP is also working so CloudSystem setups can integrate with Amazon's EC2 compute clouds and HP's new Cloud

In case you are wondering, the difference between CloudStart and CloudSystem seems to be that CloudStart recommends the use of the CSA tools, while the CloudSystem requires it. It also looks like CloudStart is a services stack with some Matrix hardware being pushed by HP Technology Services and CloudSystem is a Matrix hardware and software bundle with a smattering of services being pushed by HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage, and Networking group.

Another big change is that the CloudSystem uses 3Par storage instead of EVA storage, which is an upgrade considering the capabilities of 3Par arrays in terms of thin provisioning and storage virtualization, and can include HP's TippingPoint security appliances as well.

In neither case has HP done the obvious thing, which the VCE partnership has done with Vblocks and which IBM has done with its CloudBurst appliances, announced last October. That is to provide something akin to a spec sheet for several configurations that details all the pieces and options and then put a price on it. HP says it is not shipping the CloudSystem and its CSA tools until March, but that's not really an excuse for not knowing what you are going to sell and how much it is going to cost.

Not to make this any more confusing, but HP Enterprise Services also announced today something called the HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute utility, which is a private cloud that HP hosts in its own data centers on behalf of customers. The announcement implies that the ESC-C utility is based on the new CloudSystem setup, but Zanner said that initially the HP compute utility will use existing iron in HP's 36 global data centers. Over time, the service will be deployed on the CloudSystem combination of Matrix hardware and CSA management tools.

If you can keep track of all this bundling, naming, and renaming, then you probably have a promising career as an HP sales rep. HP might have simplified the IT infrastructure with each successive BladeSystem Matrix refinement, but the company has made keeping track of what is what inside the stacks it sells far too complex.

This is also a problem at IBM, which has PureScale clusters for database clustering for online transaction processing, Smart Analytic Systems for data warehousing and business analytics, and CloudBursts for virtualized server infrastructure - often based on nearly the same iron.

Even Oracle, which had a perfectly good brand in Exadata for its clusters, now has SuperClusters when it is a Sparc-based machine and Exalogic Elastic Clouds when running application servers. Vendors are getting lost in their own cloudy marketing. ®

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