A new year, a new suite: Introducing HPE Data Center Automation Suite 2017.01
We’ve just announced a new release of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Center Automation (DCA) Suite. To help explore the enhancements in this new release, I sat down with Vikram Matharoo, Director of Product Management for DCA. We discussed trends shaping infrastructure management, infrastructure as an abstraction, what’s new, and the benefits for customers.
SS: Starting our discussion at a high-level, in the context of infrastructure management, what do today’s businesses want from IT Operations?
VM: IT Ops is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate cost efficiency and agility while minimizing risks. As the more traditional request, cost efficiency is not about IT budgets getting smaller. Conversely, enterprise IT budgets continue to increase. It’s about IT growing with the business and focusing its growth on strategic initiatives. Agility is another default expectation. IT must demonstrate that it can viably partner with the business and deliver infrastructure services quickly. Lastly, given the significant consequences of security breaches and risk exposures, it’s up to IT Ops to operationalize compliance to minimize the risks. Manual or point-in-time tactics are no longer viable.
SS: What is the biggest trend shaping infrastructure management?
VM: The simplification of the consumption experience. It’s about making infrastructure an abstraction: infrastructure is ‘just there’, and is ready to be consumed. Simplification encompasses the entire infrastructure lifecycle. It removes complex decision points and intervention by IT admins, from sourcing to provisioning, to patching and compliance. Instead, with simplification, IT focuses on what workloads to run and what applications to develop. Simplification means that businesses can consume infrastructure with simplicity and agility.
SS: What’s HPE Software’s vision for infrastructure management?
VM: Our vision is grounded in three pillars. First, enterprise IT will operate in a hybrid infrastructure environment. Second, infrastructure management will converge across domains. Today, compute, storage and networking operate in silos, each with their own subject matter experts. But the domains are converging towards a single plane, which makes convergence of the management of those domains also critical. Our customers are already starting to express the need to manage the different infrastructure domains within a single platform. Third, the realities of hybrid infrastructure and cross-domain infrastructure management will be reconciled in a simple consumption experience.
We’ve just announced the 2017.01 release of the Data Center Automation (DCA) Suite. Can you describe the suite?
VM: The DCA Suite is a unified infrastructure management solution to automate tasks, orchestrate IT processes, enforce compliance and optimize infrastructure. It provides provisioning, configuration, patching and compliance across heterogeneous physical and virtual servers, database, and middleware, and analytics-based optimization for virtualized environments.
SS: What’s new about this release? And how does it particularly address the market dynamics?
VM: The release is part of a continuous evolution towards a suite solution that unifies infrastructure management across infrastructure tiers and simplifies the consumption experience. We’ve brought infrastructure management under a single entitlement framework with unit based licensing. Customers now have the flexibility of consuming the suite solution for any combination of compute, database and middleware, without the need to manage licensing for individual infrastructure domains. As part of the entitlement, license capacity can be used to provision a server or a database, deploy a VM or configure middleware. The suite also gives access to automated audit and remediation for regulatory and corporate compliance. Customers can run compliance independently, without having to coordinate complex scheduling with resource-heavy data center tasks such as provisioning and patching. This is the advantage of modularization - capability consumed freely, by itself, and scaled on demand. Equally, in the theme of efficient infrastructure management, we’ve added an analytics pillar, starting with analytics-driven capacity and performance optimization for virtualized environments. Based on near real-time data, customers can right-size their VM environment, forecast capacity needs and intuitively identify any bottlenecks.
SS: What makes the DCA Suite stand out today?
VM: First and foremost, DCA provides enterprise-grade automation at scale for heterogeneous and multi-vendor environments. Customers can scale across their organizations, at a scale of hundreds of thousands of servers. Second, DCA includes one of the most extensible, open API orchestration engines that seamlessly connects tasks and processes across the data center. Automated compliance remediation is a third differentiation. DCA automatically restores compliance levels, with policy based SLOs and out-of-the-box compliance checks. Fourth, DCA provides flexible database and middleware lifecycle automation, again for any scale or complex configuration. Customers can get automation on day one, with access to out-of-the-box, but fully customizable automation content.
SS: Let’s imagine you’re a current DCA customer, focusing on server automation. What is the ONE reason why you would upgrade to the DCA 2017.01 Suite?
VM: I would upgrade to the DCA 2017.01 Suite because it offers access to one of the most powerful and robust engines for IT process orchestration. The orchestration tooling comes with thousands of pre-built flows for repeatable deployments. Server automation and IT process orchestration go hand-in-hand. With orchestration, I can link discrete automation tasks into broader, more comprehensive IT functions such as such as end-to-end provisioning, closed-loop incident management, disaster recovery, service fulfillment, etc. And then, as the natural next step in the automation journey, the suite would give my organization access to automation for databases and middleware, all under one licensing.
SS: What’s the top question customers ask you about the DCA Suite?
VM: “Is the suite going to increase my complexity?” is the biggest question we hear from our customers. They want to make sure the automation solution can scale to meet their needs, and can do so with simplicity. Our answer is: the DCA Suite will not increase complexity. Each capability is consumed in a stand-alone manner, where customers have the choice of what capability and how much of that capability to consume. If a customer is currently using the server automation tooling, he or she continues to use that same tooling in the DCA Suite.
SS: After this release, what’s next for the DCA Suite?
VM: DCA will embrace and support the container paradigm. Container lifecycle management will be one of the capabilities.
SS: “Automation is the precursor to cloud.” Can you expand on this paradigm?
VM: Indeed, automation is a prerequisite. Speaking in the context of hybrid infrastructure, if we want to ‘cloudify’ the data center, we have to first make sure that basic data center tasks are automated with processes that are connected. Only then can we start putting a cloud layer on top of the infrastructure, and start consuming it like a cloud service.
SS: So, let’s summarize!
New in this release:
Flexible, unit based licensing for any combination of compute, database and middleware
Access to broad features such as best-in-class IT process orchestration, database & middleware lifecycle management, automated compliance audit and remediation, and all the accompanying out-of-the-box automation content
Analytics-driven capacity and performance optimization for VMs
One parting point:
The DCA Suite provides enterprise-grade automation at scale, across heterogeneous and multi-vendor environments
Thanks a lot for your time Vikram. For our readers, if you would like to learn more about the DCA 2017.01 release, you can go visit the DCA website or watch the on-demand webinar, for yet more insights, questions and answers!