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Microsoft, HP Embark on 'Private Cloud Initiative'

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced it has partnered with Microsoft on a "joint private cloud initiative" centered on HP hardware and management solutions, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1.

The new initiative taps into existing HP solutions and support programs, such as HP's "Converged Cloud" and "CloudSystem" efforts. The effort with Microsoft has three elements, according to HP's announcement:

  1. HP will serve as the single point of contact in delivering private cloud infrastructure using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

  2. HP will offer "new preintegrated solutions and referenced architectures."

  3. HP and Microsoft have integrated their management solutions to work together across physical and virtual computing environments.

The preintegrated private cloud solutions from HP are based on templates derived from best practices, which HP describes as "cloud maps." The management integration facilitated by this joint effort enables HP Insight Management to work with Microsoft System Center software. The management integration is specifically tied to the availability of SP1 of System Center 2012, according to HP's cloud data sheet (PDF). Microsoft has not announced when SP1, currently at the community test preview 2 stage, will be available.

HP's hardware side of the joint private cloud solution consists of HP ProLiant servers, along with storage enabled by HP 3PAR storage systems running Windows Server 2012 with offloaded data transfer (ODX) technology. ODX is data transfer technology developed by Microsoft that reduces CPU times during large data-copying operations. According to a Microsoft whitepaper, "ODX operates in the backend storage array, which eliminates buffered data movement on the client-server network. CPU usage and client-server network bandwidth consumption drops to near-zero levels."

HP claims that the joint private cloud initiative with Microsoft enables live migration capabilities such that IT organizations can "move virtual machines between sites up to 100 kilometers apart without disrupting end users," according to the HP announcement.

The two companies have developed an entry-level cloud computing offering for midsize companies that's based on a "two-node HP Departmental Private Cloud Reference Architecture." Although this offering is described as "economical," no pricing was described in HP's announcement. The architecture is based on "HP ProLiant DL360e servers, HP P2000 MSA Array System with SAS shared storage, HP E2910 switches, and HP Insight Control management software as well as Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center," according to an HP white paper (PDF).

HP indicated that these cloud solutions are available now through HP and its channel partners. However, those offerings that require the use of System Center 2012 SP1 will be available "in early 2013."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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