Private clouds are not new. IT has been transforming its data centers to be more “cloud-like” for many years. Investments in virtualization, automation, and orchestration have made self-service provisioning possible, while increasing scalability, densities, and elasticity. These private cloud investments have produced many of the same benefits as public clouds, while giving IT teams the control, customization flexibility, and intellectual property (IP) safekeeping that they require.
Despite these advances, ESG estimates that 50 percent of organizations with mature data transformation initiatives have a shortage of skills in IT orchestration and automation. The current private cloud model must deliver new levels of operational efficiency. For more information, see ESG Lab First Look: Automating IT Infrastructure with Dell EMC PowerOne Autonomous Infrastructure.
Automation has always been foundational to the private cloud. The traditional approach to setting up servers, networks, and storage relies on multiple teams of specialists. The coordination of those teams’ activities can add more time to the overall effort than the actual work that they do. Converged Infrastructure (CI) solutions were introduced to address these multifunctional setup and workflow challenges. CI uses preintegrated servers, networking, and storage with integrated life cycle management and a control plane for virtualization and overall management. Businesses globally embraced the advantages of CI as the shortest path to building the private cloud. Customers that chose CI solutions were able to automate and orchestrate infrastructure while reducing the overall complexity and management costs of a private cloud adoption.
Historically, hardware control has been the most challenging aspect of creating a foundation for automation. When choosing a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution for a private cloud deployment of SAP, customers can specify and customize processors, memory, and storage when ordering. They can expect to receive a system with almost everything preinstalled and configured. However, most infrastructure solutions typically provide a minimal degree of “Day-2” hardware automation for operations. HCI differentiates from CI by tightly integrating hardware with virtualization during the initial configuration. However, the constraints of the current hardware configuration limit the administrator to controlling only resources that are allocated to virtual machines.
The rapid market acceptance of HCI shows that the design solves many challenges through its tight hardware-to-software integration but with minimal hardware automation because everything is preinstalled and preconfigured. Mission-critical enterprise applications and structured databases that support essential business processes present a high risk of revenue loss when there is an outage. The mission-critical classification means that investments by the business focus on high or continuous availability, performance, and data protection. Such applications benefit from a solution with more tightly coupled hardware and virtualization automation for greater control, isolation, and application-specific management.
Mission-critical business applications that are hosted on private clouds need the ability and elasticity to automate hardware provisioning that is comparable to public cloud offerings. In-house automation software has primarily provided private cloud solutions that offer hardware provisioning for compute, networking, and storage. These solutions for hardware provisioning must be easy for nondevelopers to use. If the speed and ease of hardware provisioning approach public cloud levels, the business has captured much of the value of public cloud offerings. This white paper describes how customers can achieve that goal by using the new Dell EMC PowerOne autonomous infrastructure solution for SAP HANA.