Friday, March 11, 2011

New HP Premier Services closes gap between single point of accountability and software-to-cloud sprawl

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

Welcome to a sponsored podcast discussion on how new models for IT support services are required to provide a single point of accountability when multiple and increasingly complex software implementations are involved.

Nowadays, the focal point for IT operational success lies not so much in just choosing the software and services mixture, but also in the management and support of these systems and implementations and the SLAs as an ecosystem -- and that ecosystem must be managed comprehensively with flexibility and for the long-term.

Long before cloud and hybrid computing models become a concern, the challenge before IT is how to straddle complexity and how to corral and manage -- as a lifecycle -- the vast software implementations already on-premises.

Of course, more of these workloads are supported these days by virtualized containers and often by a service-level commitment. IT needs to get a handle on supporting multiparty software and virtualized instances, along with the complex integrations and custom extensions across and between the applications.

Who are you going to call when things go wrong or when maintenance needs to affect one element of the stack without hosing the rest? How do you manage and broker at the service level agreement (SLA), or multiple SLA, level?

More than ever, finger pointing on who is accountable or responsible amid a diverse and fast-moving software environment cannot be allowed, not in an Instant-On Enterprise.

Not only does IT need a one-hand-to-shake value on comprehensive support more than ever, but IT departments may need to increasingly opt to outsource more of the routine operational tasks and software support to free up their IT knowledge resources and experts for transformation, security initiatives, and new business growth projects.

To learn how this can be better managed, we've tapped an executive from HP Software to examine an expanding set of new HP Premier Services designed to combine custom software support and consulting expertise to better deliver managed support outcomes across entire software implementations.

Anand Eswaran, Vice President, Global Professional Services at HP Software, is interviewed by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Eswaran: We're offering HP Premier Services across the entire portfolio for all solutions we put in front of customers. People may ask what's different. "Why are you able to do this today? The customer problem you are talking about sounds pretty native. Why haven’t you done this forever?"

If you look at a software organization, the segmentation between support and services is very discrete, whether inside the company or whether it is support working with services organization outside the company, and that’s the heart of the problem.

What we're doing here is a pretty big step. You hear about "services convergence" an awful lot in the industry. People think that’s the way to go. What they mean by services convergence is that all the services you need across the customer lifecycle merges to become one, and that’s what we are doing here.

We're merging what was customer support, which is a call center, and that’s why they can't take accountability for a solution. They are good at diagnostics, but they're not good at full-fledged solutions. They're merging that organization.

What that organization brings in is scale, infrastructure, and absolute global data center coverage. We're merging that with the Professional Services (PS) organization. When the rubber hits the road, PS is the organization, or the people, who deploy these solutions.

In my view, and in HP Software’s view, this is a fairly groundbreaking solution.

By merging those two, you get the best of both worlds, because you get scale, coverage, infrastructure, capability. And by virtue of a very, very extensive PS team within HP Software, we operate in 80 or 90 countries. We have coverage worldwide. That's how we're able to provide the service where we take accountability for this whole solution.

Converged IT support and professional services

What we're announcing and launching and what we're talking about is enhancing and elevating that support from just being a product to actually being the entire project and the solution for the customer. This is where, when we deploy a solution for a customer, which involves our technology, our software, for the most part, a service element to actually make it a reality, we will support the full solution.

That's the principal thing now that will allow us to not just talk about business outcomes when we go through the selling lifecycle, but it will also allow us to make those business outcomes a reality by taking full accountability for it. That is at the heart of what we are announcing -- extending customer support from a product to the project, and from a product to the full solution.

If I walk through what HP Premier Services is, that probably will shed more light on it. As I explain HP Premier Services, there are two dimensions to it.

The first dimension is the three choice points, and the first of those is what has classically been customer support. We just call it Foundation, where customer support supports the product. You have a phone line you can call. That doesn't change. That's always been there.

The second menu item in the first dimension is what we term as Premier Response, and this menu item is where we actually take that support for the product and extend it to the full project and the full solution. This is new and this is the first level of the extension we are going to offer to the customer.

The third menu item takes it even further. We call it Premier Advisory. In addition to just supporting the product, which has always been there, or just extending it to support a solution and the project -- both of those things are reactive -- we can engage with the customer to be proactive about support.

That's proactive as in not just reacting to an issue, but preempting problems and preempting issues, based on our knowledge of all the customers and how they have deployed the solution. We can advise the customer, whether it's patches, whether it's upgrades, whether it's other issues we see, or whether it's a best practice they need to implement. We can get proactive, so we preempt issues. Those are the three choice points on the first dimension.

We make anything and everything to do with the back end -- infrastructure, upgrades, and all of that -- completely transparent to the customer.

The second dimension is a different way to look at how we're extending Premier Services for the benefit of the customer. Again, the first choice point in the second dimension is called Premier Business. We have a named account manager who will work with the customer across the entire lifecycle. This is already there right now.

The second part of the second dimension is very new, and large enterprise customers will derive a lot of value from it. It's called Premier TeamExtend. Not only we will be do the first three choice points of foundation, support for the whole solution, and proactive support, we will extend and take control for the customer of the entire operation of that solution.

At that point, you almost mimic a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, but if there are reasons a customer wouldn't want to do SaaS and wouldn't want to do managed services, but want to host it on-site and have the full solution hosted in the customer premises, we will still deploy the solution, have them realize the full benefit of it, and run their solution and operate their solution.

Customer choice

We're not just giving them one thing, which they're pretty much forced to take, but if it's a very mature customer, with extensive capability on all the products and IT strategies that they're putting into place, they don’t need to go to TeamExtend. They can just maybe take a Foundation with just the first bit of HP Premier Services, which is Premier Response. That’s all they need to take.

Choice is a very big deal for us, so that customers can actually make the decision and we can recommend to them what they should be doing.

If there is an enterprise that is so focused on competitive differentiation in the marketplace and they don't want to worry about maintaining the solutions, then they could absolutely go to Premier TeamExtend, which offers them the best of all worlds.

By virtue of that, we make anything and everything to do with the back end -- infrastructure, upgrades, and all of that -- transparent to the customer. All they care about is the business outcome. If it's a solution we have deployed to cut outages by 3 percent and get service levels up-time up to 99.99 percent, that's what they get.

How we do it, the solutions involved, the service involved, and how we're managing it is completely transparent. The fundamental headline there is that it allows the customer to go back to 70 percent innovation and 30 percent maintenance, and completely flip the current ratio.

Impact of cloud solutions in the support mix

he reality is that cloud is still nebulous. Different companies have different interpretations of cloud. Customers are still a little nervous about going into the cloud, because we're still not completely sure about quality, security, and all of those things. So, this is the first or second step you take before you get comfortable to get to the cloud.

What we're able to do here is take complete control of that complexity and make it transparent to the customer -- and in a way -- to quasi-deliver the same outcomes which a cloud can deliver. Cloud is a trend, and we're making sure that we actually address it before we get there.

A lot of these services are also things we're providing to the cloud service providers. So, in a way, we're making sure that people who offer that cloud service are able to leverage our services to make sure that they can offer the same outcomes back to the customer. So, it’s a full lifecycle.

When we deploy a solution for a customer, which involves our technology, our software, for the most part, a service element to actually make it a reality, we will support the full solution.

In my view, and in HP Software’s view, this is a fairly groundbreaking solution. If I were to characterize everything we talked about in three words, the first would be simplify. The second would be proactive -- how can we be proactive, versus reacting to issues. And, how can we, still under the construct of the first two, offer the customers choice.

We've been in limited launch mode since June of last year. We wanted to make sure that we engage with a limited set of customers, make sure this really works, work out all the logistics, before we actually do a full public general availability launch. So, it is effective immediately.

We can also offer the same service to all the outsourcing providers or cloud service providers we work with. If you feel you're bouncing around between different organizations, as you try to get control of your IT infrastructure, whether if you work with an external SI and you do not feel that there is enough in sync happening between support and an external SI and you feel frustrated about it, this falls right in the sweet spot.

If you feel that you need to start moving away from just projects to business outcome based solutions you need to deploy in your IT organization, this falls right in the sweet spot for it.

If you feel that you want to spend less of your time maintaining solutions and more of your time thinking about the core business your company is in and making sure that your innovation is able to capture a bigger market share and bigger business benefits for the company you work for, and you want some organization to take accountability for the operations and maintenance of the stack you have, this falls right in the sweet spot for it.

Smaller companies

The last thing, interestingly enough, is that we see uptake from even smaller and medium-sized companies, where they do not have enough people, and they do not want to worry about maintenance of the stack based on the capability or the experience of the people they have on these different solutions -- whether it's operations, whether it's applications, whether it is security across the entire HP software stack. So, if you're on any of those four or five different use cases, this falls right in the sweet spot for all of them.

So, in summary, at the heart of it what we're trying to do is simplify the complexity of how a customer or an IT organization deals with the complexity of their stack.

The second thing is that an IT organization is always striving to flip the ratio of innovation and operations. As you look today, it is 70 percent operations and 30 percent innovation. If you get that single point of accountability, they can focus more on innovation and supporting the business needs, so that their company can take advantage of greater market share, versus operations and maintaining the stack they already have.

IT complexity is increasing by the day. Having multiple vendors accountable for different parts of the IT strategy and IT implementation is a huge problem. Because of the complexity of the solution and because multiple organizations are accountable for different discrete parts of the solution, the customer is left holding the bag on to figure out how to navigate the complexity of the software organization. How do you pinpoint exactly where the problem is and then engage the right party?

We actually start to engage with them in solving a business problem for them. We paint the ROI that we could get.

Find out more about the new HP Premier Services launch.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Red Hat introduces JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1 with enterprise-class open source data virtualization

Red Hat today announced the availability of JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1, which includes new extensions for data services integration.

JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform 5.1, a superset of JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1, is an open source data virtualization and integration platform that includes tools to create data services out of multiple data stores with different formats, presenting information to applications and business processes in an easy-to-use service. 
These data services become reusable assets across the enterprise.

We're beginning to see a real marketplace for open source-based integration and middleware, and in many ways the open source versions are advancing the value and variety of these services beyond where the commercial products can quickly tread. The advantages of community development and open source sharing really shine when multiple and fast-adapting integrations are involved.

What's more, as cloud and SaaS services become more common, ways of integrating data and applications assets -- regardless or origins -- will need to keep pace. Standardization and inclusiveness of integration points and types may be much better served by a community approach, and open source licenses, than waiting for a commercial product upgrade, or costly custom integrations.

I also see enterprises, SMBs, ISVs and cloud providers working to elevate the concept of "applications" more to the business processes level. And that means that decomposing and re-composing and orchestrating of services -- dare I say via SOA principles -- becomes essential, again, regardless of services, data and assets origins.

Lastly, the interest and value in Big Data benefits is also roiling the landscape. The integration of data then becomes tactical, strategic, imperative and at the heart of what drives an agile and instant-on enterprise.

“Being able to integrate and synchronize useful information out of a wide range of disparate data sources remains a serious stumbling block to the enterprise,” said Craig Muzilla, vice president and general manager, Middleware BusinessUnit at Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat. “JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform 5.1 is a flexible, standards-based integration and data virtualization solution built on JBossEnterprise SOA Platform that delivers more efficient and cost-effective application and data integration techniques, allowing enterprises to more fully realize the value of their data.”

All businesses draw upon many different data sources and formats to run their applications. In many cases these data sources are hardwired into applications through data access frameworks that reduce agility and make control and compliance difficult. This data architecture counters the agility and cost-savings benefits delivered by service-oriented architectures (SOA) by forcing redundant data silos for each application.

Multiple data stores

ata Services Platform 5.1 aims to address these problems by virtualizing multiple data stores simultaneously, delivering data services consumable by multiple applications and business processes. By leveraging the integrated JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1, the information delivered using data virtualization can more easily be integrated into the business via the enterprise service bus (ESB) included with the platform. 

JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1 includes:
  • Apache CXF web services stack
  • JBoss Developer Studio 4.0, which features updated SOA tooling for ESB and data virtualization
  • A technology preview of WS-BPEL, which delivers service orchestration
  • A technology preview of Apache Camel Gateway, which is a popular enterprise integration pattern framework that brings an expanded set of adapters to JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform
  • Updated certifications -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Windows 2008, IBM, JDK, among others

    Being able to integrate and synchronize useful information out of a wide range of disparate data sources remains a serious stumbling block to the enterprise.

JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform follows the JBoss Open Choice strategy of offering a choice of integration architectures, messaging platforms, and deployment options. Also, both JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1 and JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform 5.1 are designed to leverage past and present solutions, such as SOA integration, through the ESB, event-driven architecture (EDA) and data virtualization, while building a foundation to support future integration paradigms, such as integrating cloud, hybrid, and on-premise data, services and applications.

Along with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1, Red Hat is offering a new two-day training course, JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform – ESB Implementation, which is focused on developing and deploying ESB providers and services using JBoss Developer Studio and JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform.

For more information on JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform, visit

For more information on JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform, visit

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Monday, March 7, 2011

GigaSpaces announces new product for enterprise PaaS and ISV SaaS enablement

GigaSpaces Technologies announced today the upcoming release of its second-generation cloud-enablement platform, which offers an architecture aimed specifically at enterprise platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and independent software vendor (ISV) software-as-a-service (SaaS) enablement.

The addition of the newest GigaSpaces cloud-enablement platform broadens a growing field of vendors that are bringing to market the picks and shovels of the cloud gold rush. Targeting SaaS ISVs and the PaaS value makes a lot of sense, as this is where the services are being forged that will need to find cloud homes, be them on-premises, public or hybrids.

In the history of IT, no one got fired for helping good apps get built quickly and well, and deployed widely and openly. That goes for both ISVs and for custom enterprise apps. You just don't get to see that value truly delivered too often. But perhaps the transition to cloud and the need for ISVs to be seduced with openness, what GigaSpaces calls "silo free", will allow for new round of choice and productivity.

Expanding on the current GigaSpaces' solutions, the new products are include private and hybrid cloud-based offerings:
  • "Silo-free" architecture that is a converged for more application and data environments, enabling improved cross-stack elasticity, multi-tenancy, unified SLA-driven performance, central management and simplifying development and operational processes.

  • User, data and application policy-driven multi-tenancy management from the web tier down to the customer and data object levels. This provides better monitoring through a console that includes views into control, security, and visibility over the multi-tenancy aspects of the application.

  • Built-in DevOps support helps uniformly manage and automate the lifecycle of the application middleware and its resources, reducing operational and development complexity, says GigaSpaces.

  • Out-of-the-box third-party middleware management (e.g. Tomcat, Cassandra, JMS) that helps automate and manage application middleware services during deployment and production.

  • Portability, multi-language and multi-middleware support, along with integration with existing processes and systems for private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Silo-free architecture

The platform has already been integrated with major strategic partners in the cloud arena, says GigaSpaces, with enterprises and SaaS providers using GigaSpaces cloud enablement in such industries as financial services, e-commerce, online gaming, healthcare, business process management, analytics, and telecommunications.

This new product offers a field-proven technology, minimizing the risks associated with migrating to the cloud, making former ‘mission impossibles’ very possible indeed.

In addition, the solution has been integrated with leading cloud-focused technologies with such partners Cisco and Citrix.

The GigaSpaces ISV SaaS and enterprise PaaS enablement platform is scheduled to be released in Q2 2011. All the new cloud-enablement features will be available to existing customers already using GigaSpaces eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) solutions for enterprise scaling as easily integrated add-ons.

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