Browsing articles from "January, 2013"

HP Cloud Services, Cloud Pricing and SLAs

Jan 9, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Lead Analyst: Cal Braunstein

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced the HP Cloud Compute made generally available in Dec. 2012 while the HP Cloud Block Storage cloud entered beta at that time. HP claims its Cloud Compute has an industry leading availability service level agreement (SLA) of 99.95 percent. Amazon Inc.‘s S3 and Microsoft Corp.‘s Windows Azure clouds reduced their storage pricing.

Focal Points:

  • HP released word that the HP Cloud Compute moved to general availability on Dec. 5, 2012 and will offer a 99.95 percent monthly SLA (a maximum of 22 minutes of downtime per month). The company extended the 50 percent discount on pricing until January. The HP Compute cloud is designed to allow businesses of all sizes to move their production workloads to the cloud. There will be three separate availability zones (AZs) per region. It supports Linux and Windows operating systems and comes in six different instance sizes, with prices starting at $0.04/hour. HP is currently supporting Fedora, Debian, CentOS, and Ubuntu Linuxes, but not Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). On the Windows side, HP is live with Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 while Windows Server 2012 is in the works. There are sites today on the East and West coasts of the U.S. with a European facility operational in 2013. Interestingly, HP built its cloud using ProLiant servers running OpenStack and not CloudSystem servers. Meanwhile, HP’s Cloud Block Storage moved to public beta on Dec. 5, 2012; customers will not be charged until January at which time pricing will be discounted by 50 percent. Users can create custom storage volumes from 1 GB to 2 TB. HP claims high availability for this service as well and claims each storage volume automatically is replicated within the same availability zone.
  • Amazon is dropping its S3 storage pricing by approximately 25 percent. The first TB/month goes from $0.125 per GB/month to $0.095 per GB/month, a 24 percent reduction. The next 49 TB prices per GB/month fall to $0.080 from $0.110 while the next 450 TB drops from $0.095 to $0.070. This brings Amazon’s pricing in line with Google Inc.‘s storage pricing. According to an Amazon executive S3 stores well over a trillion objects and services 800,000 requests a second. Prices have been cut 23 times since the service was launched in 2006.
  • In reaction to Amazon’s actions Microsoft’s Windows Azure storage pricing has again been reduced by up to 28 percent to remain competitive. In March 2012 Azure lowered its storage pricing by 12 percent. Geo-redundant storage has more than 400 miles of separation between replicas and is the default storage mode.

 Google GB/Mo

 Google Storage pricing

 Amazon S3 pricing Amazon GB/mo   Azure storage pricing – geo-redundant

 Azure storage pricing – local-redundant

 First TB

 $0.095

$0.095

 First TB

 $0.095

$0.070

 Next 9 TB

 $0.085

 $0.080

Next 49 TB 

 $0.080

 $0.065

 Next 90 TB

 $0.075

 

 
 Next 400 TB

 $0.070

     

Source: The Register

RFG POV: HP’s Cloud Compute offering for production systems is most notable for its 99.95 percent monthly SLA. Most cloud SLAs are hard to understand, vague and contain a number of escape clauses for the provider. For example, Amazon’s EC2 SLA guarantees 99.95 percent availability of the service within a region over a trailing 365 day period – i.e., downtime is not to exceed 250 minutes (more than four hours) over the year period. There is no greater granularity, which means one could encounter a four hour outage in a month and the vendor would still not violate the SLA. HP’s appears to be stricter; however, in a NetworkWorld articleHP’s SLA only applies if customers cannot access any AZs, according to Gartner analyst Lydia Leong. That means customers have to potentially architect their applications to span three or more AZs, each one imposing additional costs on the business. “Amazon’s SLA gives enterprises heartburn. HP had the opportunity to do significantly better here, and hasn’t. To me, it’s a toss-up which SLA is worse,” Leong writes. RFG spoke with HP and found its SLA is much better than portrayed in the article. The SLA, it seems, is poorly written so that Leong’s interpretation is reasonable (and matches what Amazon requires). However, to obtain credit HP does not require users run their application in multiple AZs – just one, but they must minimally try to run the application in another AZ in the region if the customer’s instance becomes inaccessible. The HP Cloud Compute is not a perfect match for mission-critical applications but there are a number of business-critical applications that could take advantage of the HP service. For the record, RFG notes Oracle Corp.‘s cloud hosting SLAs are much worse than either Amazon’s or HP’s. Oracle only offers an SLA of 99.5 percent per calendar month – the equivalent of 2500 minutes or more than 40 hours of outage per month NOT including planned downtime and certain other considerations. IT executives should always scrutinize the cloud provider’s SLAs and ensure they are acceptable for the service for which they will be used. In RFG’s opinion Oracle’s SLAs are not acceptable at all and should be renegotiated or the platform should be removed from consideration. On the cloud storage front overall prices continue to drop 10 percent or more per year. The greater price decreases are due to the rapid growth of storage (greater than 30 percent per year) and the predominance of newer storage arrays versus older ones. IT executives should be considering these prices as benchmarks and working to keep internal storage costs on a similar declining scale. This will require IT executives to retain storage arrays four years or less, and employing tiering and thin provisioning. Those IT executives that believe keeping ancient spinning iron on the data center floor to be the least cost option will be unable to remain competitive against cloud offerings, which could impair the trust relationship with business and finance executives.

Mainframe Survey – Future is Bright

Jan 9, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Lead Analyst: Cal Braunstein

According to the 2012 BMC Software Inc. survey of mainframe users, the mainframe continues to be their platform of choice due to its superior availability, security, centralized data serving and performance capabilities. It will continue to be a critical business tool that will grow driven by the velocity, volume, and variety of applications and data.

Focal Points:

  • According to 90 percent of the 1,243 survey respondents the mainframe is considered to be a long-term solution, and 50 percent of all respondents agreed it will attract new workloads. Asia-Pacific users reported the strongest outlook, as 57 percent expect to rely on the mainframe for new workloads. The top three IT priorities for respondents were keeping IT costs down, disaster recovery, and application modernization.  The top priority, keeping costs down, was identified by 69 percent of those surveyed, up from 60 percent from 2011. Disaster recovery was unchanged at 34 percent while application modernization was selected by 30 percent, virtually unchanged as well. Although availability is considered a top benefit of the mainframe, 39 percent of respondents reported an unplanned outage; however, only 10 percent of organizations stated they experienced any impact from an outage. The primary causes of outages were hardware failures (31 percent), system software failure (30 percent), in-house application failure (28 percent), and change process failure (22 percent).
  • 59 percent of respondents expect MIPS capacity to grow as they modernize and add applications to address business needs. The top four factors for continued investment in the mainframe were platform availability advantage (74 percent), security strengths (7o percent), superior centralized data server (68 percent), and transaction throughput requirements best suited to a mainframe (65 percent). Only 29 percent felt that the costs of migration were too high or use of alternative solutions did not have a reasonable return on investment (ROI), up from 26 percent the previous two years.
  • There remains a continued concern about the shortage of skilled mainframe staff. Only about a third of respondents were very concerned about the skills issues, although at least 75 percent of those surveyed expressed some level of concern. The top methods being used to address the skills shortage are training internally (53 percent), hire experienced staff (40 percent), outsource (37 percent) and automation (29 percent). Additionally, more than half of the respondents stated the mainframe must be incorporated into the enterprise management processes. Enterprises are recognizing the growing complexity of the hybrid data center and the need for simple, cross-platform solutions.

RFG POV: Some things never change – mainframes still are predominant in certain sectors and will continue to be so over the visible horizon, and yet the staffing challenges linger. 20 years after mainframes were declared dinosaurs they remain valuable platforms and growing. In fact, mainframes can be the best choice for certain applications and data serving, as they effectively and efficiently deal with the variety, velocity, veracity, volume, and vulnerability of applications and data while reducing complexity and cost. RFG’s latest study on System z as the lowest cost database server (http://lnkd.in/ajiUrY ) shows the use of the mainframe can cut the costs of IT operations around 50 percent. However, with Baby Boomers becoming eligible for retirement, there is a greater concern and need for IT executives to utilize more automated, self-learning software and implement better recruitment, training and outsourcing programs. IT executives should evaluate mainframes as the target server platform for clouds, secure data serving, and other environments where zEnterprise’s heterogeneous server ecosystem can be used to share data from a single source, and optimize capacity and performance at a low-cost.