6 Things You Need To Know About HP's Helion OpenStack 2.0 Release

An Enterprise-Grade Managed And Virtual Private Cloud

Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Wednesday said its new HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 enterprise-grade, open-source-based cloud platform is available.

The new platform, revealed at OpenStack Summit Tokyo, gives partners the ability to add new cloud capacity without impacting currently available cloud applications. It also includes significant user interface improvements aimed at making it easier to administer with centralized logging and monitoring, according to HP. The new release is based on OpenStack Kilo -- not the OpenStack Liberty release of Oct. 15.

The release comes just one week after HP said it is shutting down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering effective Jan. 31 as part of a stepped-up focus on managed and virtual private cloud offerings.

Jay Jamison, vice president of product marketing for HP Helion, spoke with CRN about the new release and the impact on partners. Here is a look at the top six things partners need to know about HP Helion OpenStack 2.0.

Adding New Capacity And Updates Without Application Downtime

HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 gives partners for the first time the ability to update the open source cloud platform without application downtime, said Jamison. That new feature ultimately may be the biggest game changer for HP Helion OpenStack 2.0.

"If you can't deliver that, many partners and customers are stuck ... not being able to deploy OpenStack broadly in an environment," said Jamison. "Now that we have that capability, it opens up the door to new deployments. We have the ability now to say when you add capacity or change the cloud, it is flexible enough that you can keep the application up and running."

Easier To Set Up, Deploy And Manage

The HP OpenStack 2.0 release has made it much easier for solution providers to set up, configure, deploy and manage the cloud platform, the company said. The new OpenStack 2.0 can be set up and configured in just tens of minutes, said Jamison.

"The investments we have made to make OpenStack a much more configurable, much more manageable and upgradable product [are] ... really going to benefit partners," he said. "Customers and partners will see that in everything, from simplicity with regard to the Web-based [user interface] to open APIs and a unified management view within an [operational] console, so that a partner can know that OpenStack product he has put into his customer environment is something he can maintain and manage in a much more low-friction way than he might have had with OpenStack in the past."

(Pictured: Helion OpenStack 2.0 Operations Console)

The Difference Between Helion OpenStack 2.0 And EMC VMware vCloud Air -- Virtustream

The big difference between HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 and the new EMC-VMware 50-50-owned cloud services business is Hewlett Packard Enterprise's no-holds-barred focus on an open-sourced, cloud-native, API-centric approach. "This is designed for where customers want to go in the future," Jamison said. "They want to go to cloud, open-standards, enterprise-grade support in a customer-centric mode. Anything with a VMware Virtustream lead is coming from a much more legacy basis, lock-in, installed-base perspective. It is about existing technology with a proprietary code base."

Software-Defined Network (SDN) Functionality Vs. Cisco Intercloud

HP said Helion OpenStack 2.0 opens the door for partners to "create and manage software-defined networks in a distributed, multi-data center environment" with HP Distributed Cloud Networking and Nuage Networks Virtualized Service Platform.

The SDN functionality is significant, given HP's push to drive networking share versus Cisco Systems, which just four months ago invested in 6Wind, a Paris-based developer of SDN and network function virtualization (NFV) technology.

6Wind's primary solution is 6WindGate, a packet processing software application for building networking solutions that the company says increases performance in Linux-based environments by 100 percent to 400 percent compared with standard Linux.

Jamison, for his part, said HP has done a better job than Cisco helping its services providers deploy cloud solutions in a hybrid cloud environment with support of managed and virtual cloud and public cloud environments. The Cisco Intercloud approach is "confusing" with an "unclear" message, said Jamison. "Cisco is trying to create a market where it is hard to parce where the value for partners is," he said.

Aggressive Pricing -- Helion OpenStack 2.0 'Priced To Move'

The new Helion OpenStack 2.0 is priced aggressively to take share in the managed and virtual private cloud market, said Jamison.

"HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 is priced to move," he said. "We wanted HP Helion OpenStack 2.0's price to not be a hindrance to a customer or partner being able to adopt it. It is $1,299 per year for 9-to-5 business-hour support. That is markedly cheaper [than] what we know the retail pricing to be of other offerings."

The pricing on the basic distribution does not include the customization and services that partners are providing to build a full OpenStack cloud platform. "For every dollar of HP Helion 2.0 software we sell, there is a very large multiple of additional HP value that gets pulled along," said Jamison. "It is important for partners to know that their investment will pull services, software and value that the partner layers in and integrates into our offerings."

Helion OpenStack 2.0 -- Unlocking Market Opportunity For Partners

The "big message" for partners, said Jamison, is that the new HP Helion OpenStack is now ready for enterprise-grade deployments, said Jamison.

The new platform is poised to allow partners to capitalize on the growing OpenStack environment.

"Customers are interested in gaining an open-sourced-based infrastructure solution to gain lower cost, better flexibility and more customizability," said Jamison. "Making advances in enterprise-grade capabilities, HP Helion OpenStack 2.0 is unlocking new market opportunities for partners."

There are 60 Helion OpenStack partners offering 84 solutions.

The real value for partners is driving customized cloud services around specific vertical market segments. Jamison pointed to service providers building storage cloud offerings for health-care organizations.

In a number of cases, partners are using Swift OpenStack object storage to deliver a massive scale-out storage cloud on Intel hardware, said Jamison. "That is a real winning combination," he said.