HP has released a new version of its private cloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform based on the OpenStack framework, adding enhancements to help customers deploy and maintain private clouds such as continuous patch management capability and updating it to the OpenStack Kilo release.
Available immediately, HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 incorporates new features based on customer feedback from the first version released a year ago. It forms a key part of HP's cloud proposition along with the firm's consulting and deployment services and its network of reseller and service provider partners, as HP positions itself as a one-stop provider for enterprise customers interested in OpenStack.
"With HP Helion OpenStack 2.0, we're really stepping up the features and functionality, things like security, performance and specifically lifecycle management, from the installation experience all the way through to patching and maintenance," said Paul Morgan, manager of HP's cloud category business in EMEA.
"That was really driven by customers, who were asking for a simple and easy way to install OpenStack, but more importantly a much easier way to manage it throughout its lifecycle."
The two key features in Helion OpenStack 2.0 are that it is now based on OpenStack Kilo, which was released earlier this year, and a tool called Helion Lifecycle Manager.
Helion Lifecycle Manager allows rolling updates for the OpenStack code, enabling live patching and updating of the infrastructure without the customer having to take the environment down, according to Morgan.
"While you're actually running a production environment, you can perform those updates and just carry on as normal," he said, adding that this ability to be up to date with the latest patches is important for the security of the infrastructure.
HP has also added features to make provisioning and deployment easier, according to Morgan.
"What we see in some of our customer environments is that, once they have set up their initial environments, provisioning new infrastructure is challenging, so what we had to do with this new 2.0 release was to make this as simple as possible," he said.
Other new capabilities are tools to create and manage software-defined networks in a distributed environment through integration with HP Distributed Cloud Networking and the Virtualised Services Platform from Nuage Networks.
Like the first release, Helion OpenStack 2.0 is underpinned by a hardened version of HP Linux and is integrated with other HP infrastructure and management tools such as HP OneView. HP also offers the HP Helion Development Platform based on Cloud Foundry to support customers building and running cloud-native applications on their infrastructure.
But HP's cloud proposition is about more than just offering an HP-flavoured OpenStack build, Morgan said. As one of the largest global enterprise vendors, HP can offer customers the backing of a network of reseller and integrator partners, as well as service providers operating cloud services based on the Helion platform.
The firm can also offer a complete turnkey cloud solution via its HP Helion CloudSystem which incorporates OpenStack and other tools and can be delivered pre-integrated on HP ConvergedSystem hardware.
HP has a dedicated Helion OpenStack Professional Services division to support customers from initial assessment through to proof-of-concept, implementation and ongoing management of the cloud deployment.
"This is the key peace of mind we are able to deliver for customers, that there is one hand to shake for support, and they want to know that the product is enterprise-grade and is ready for production deployment," he said.
HP already has over 3,000 cloud customer organisations worldwide, according to Morgan, and is hoping to build on this momentum with the new release.
However, the release of Helion OpenStack 2.0 comes just a week after HP announced it is shutting down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering from January next year. Morgan reiterated what HP spokespeople have already said about this, which is that enterprise customers are increasingly looking to managed services because of concerns such as security.
"A key concern we hear from customers is around how much of their ‘shadow IT' is running on public clouds like AWS, and is it secure and is it compliant? The new EU data retention law has recently passed, and there is some angst and concern over that," he said.
HP said that licensing for HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 remains unchanged from the first release at $1,200 (£750) per server with 9x5 support for one year and $2,200 (£1,375) per server per year for 24x7 support.
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