You might be interested to know that both Dell and HP are building their public clouds on OpenStack, the emerging open source platform for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
And of course, that’s also good news for OpenStack advocates and customers that may want to potentially shift cloud workloads from HP to Dell– or vice versa, depending on their current needs.
But the question is, will HP and Dell differentiate themselves enough from each other in the cloud? Time will tell, but there’s still a possibility of course.
To be sure, Michael Dell and his executive team have already discussed OpenStack last week during the Dell World conference in Austin, Texas. For its part, since February of this year, HP has vowed to run its own cloud on OpenStack as well. So the platform is getting some traction, no question about that.
Some channel partners don’t have a feel for where OpenStack may fit in their cloud strategies, at least not yet anyway. But those IT vendors have a range of options from which to choose, including:
- Amazon Web Services, Sun Hosting Cloud and the API-compatible Eucalyptus for private clouds
- CA AppLogic, which is receiving renewed focus within CA Technologies
- CloudStack, which Citrix Systems is promoting through the Apache organization
- Google App Engine
- Red Hat OpenShift, though this is more for Platform as a Service
- Microsoft Windows Azure, which is for both PaaS and IaaS.
So how will OpenStack pan out against those various options? Rackspace, a vocal OpenStack proponent, has often said customers will demand OpenStack clouds because it will be far easier to move workloads from one provider to the next.
But that begs the question– Will HP and Dell essentially build identical, competing OpenStack clouds? It’s a bit too early to tell for sure at this point in time.
Take a look at Dell’s recent acquisitions, and you’ll see how the Dell Cloud will likely attract channel partners. Dell’s buyout of Quest Software, completed in mid-2012, involved numerous virtualizartion, IT management and application migration tools for Microsoft customers.
If you’re running Microsoft Exchange, it’s a safe bet that Quest and its channel partners will show you how to leap into Dell’s cloud at some point in time. Well in principle, anyway.
Similarly, Dell Boomi — its cloud integration platform — could allow channel partners to connect the dots between Dell Cloud and dozens of third-party cloud services. Michael Dell shared some of the Boomi strategy with Talkin’ Cloud during the Windows 8 launch.
But while all of this is happening, HP seems focused on an SLA (service level agreement) push against Amazon, promising the strongest SLAs among public cloud service providers. More recently HP has discussed:
- HP Cloud Compute, a pay-as-you-go model that gives enterprise customers the ability to deploy and customize compute instances on demand
- HP Cloud Block Storage, which is a storage solution that enables users to move data from one compute instance to another. It’s now entering public beta
- HP Cloud Application Platform as a Service, which enables developers and ISVs to focus on application development and deployment. Based on Cloud Foundry Open PaaS, it was designed to support multi-application infrastructure, as well as instant provisioning and deployment with a single click
- HP Cloud Workload Migration Services, which will be delivered through HP’s partners and that help users assess, plan and migrate existing production workloads to HP’s public cloud infrastructure without any user interruption
So a possible scenario could be: If Dell and HP both build identical IaaS offerings atop OpenStack software and Intel hardware, the two rivals would abd could be locked in another commodity price war. Is there a remote chance that this will happen? Most assuredly no, not in this lifetime anyway.
In other IT news
Market research firm IDC says that server flash arrays have enabled Dell and Fujitsu to recently improve their VMmark results, where in the cut-throat server industry, every single percentage point of market share can mean millions in added revenue per quarter.
For example, Dell PowerEdge R720 servers scored 11.39 at 10 tiles in the VMware VMmark 2.1 benchmark, not bad when you consider that Dell’s benchmark numbers were lower just 6 short months ago.
VMware’s VMmark benchmark numbers measures how a server runs simultaneous VMware virtual machines (VMs) which run typical business applications. The VMs are grouped into sets of eight, called tiles. Each tile has a score and these are aggregated into a finished number, such as 10@7 tiles, meaning that the score was 10 with seven tiles running simultaneously.
Sounds complicated? Not really. You see, if two servers both achieve 10, but one at 7 tiles and the other at 10, then the lower tile server is recommended by VMware, as a higher tile count may suggest that the server’s workload was not properly balanced. Otherwise higher scores generally go with higher tile counts.
In the case of HP’s results, a Proliant server fitted with some SSDs beat a Cisco server accelerated by a Violin 6000 flash memory array. Dell is saying that its Xeon E5-2600 servers, at 11.39@10 tiles and using Violin Memory flash, beat equivalent servers from Cisco (11.32@10 tiles), HP (11.13, 11.05 and 9.98@10 tiles), and even IBM (10.29@10 tiles).
Each Dell server had two Xeon E5-2690 processors and 256 GB of memory. There were two Violin V6000 16TB flash arrays with formatted capacity of 8TB (50 per cent) and firmware version G5.2.0. Dell says it picked the other systems results as the best published 32-core VMmark 2.1.1 results from Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM published as of 12/10/2012.
For its part, Fujitsu claimed five VMmark record benchmark results with its Primergy servers accelerated by Violin 6000 flash arrays. Each BX924 S3 blade server had 256 GB of memory and Xeon E5-2690 processors, the same as the Dell result above. One Violin 6616 array was used in the configuration with two BX924 S3 nodes, and two Violin 6616 arrays were used in the 4-, 6- and 8-node configurations.