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HP launches Cloud OS for Moonshot and other HP systems

Hewlett-Packard develops a single operating system to manage both HP Cloud and private cloud deployments

By Joab Jackson, IDG News Service
June 12, 2013 04:05 PM ET

IDG News Service - On the second day of its annual HP Discover user conference in Las Vegas, Hewlett-Packard launched an operating system (OS) designed specifically for cloud computing, called the HP Cloud OS. Initially, however, the software can only be obtained by purchasing HP systems.

HP Cloud OS "will provide the foundation for our common architecture for the HP converged cloud," said Saar Gillai, HP senior vice president and general manager of the converged cloud, referring to the company's strategy of unifying its on-premises cloud software and cloud services under the same architecture so customers will have little difficulty moving their workloads between the two. "We're bridging between private cloud and public cloud," he said.

Research commissioned by HP estimates that 75 percent of enterprise workloads will run across hybrid cloud, or a combination of on-premises cloud systems and public hosted services.

The HP Cloud OS will be based on a stock version of the OpenStack open-source suite of infrastructure hosting software. But it will also come with a number of features not found, or not well-supported yet, by OpenStack.

The HP Cloud OS streamlines the installation process, for instance, vastly reducing the number of different packages that would otherwise have to be installed piecemeal. The software can upgrade itself automatically, and it has tools for provisioning a setup directly from a system model. It also includes the ability to swap workloads between an HP cloud service and an on-premises cloud.

"The way we are doing this is by providing plug-ins both on top of OpenStack and on the bottom of OpenStack. We're not modifying OpenStack," Gillai said.

Those eager to try the HP Cloud OS on their own systems may have to wait. The company is providing the stack only as part of some of its own packaged systems, though it does offer a "sandbox" version, Gillai said, that users can download and try for evaluation purposes.

The HP Cloud OS is available on HP CloudSystem, a set of HP systems configured for offering in-house infrastructure services tuned for specific workloads. Later this year, the Cloud OS will come installed on HP's newly released Moonshot servers, where the combination would be suitable for hosting large-scale websites and similar duties.

"With Moonshot, we're running the Cloud OS and OpenStack on bare metal," Gillai said, referring to the fact that Moonshoot servers won't need an underlying OS. "This is pretty revolutionary. I don't think there is any other commercial availability of something like this."

The Cloud OS was one of a number of products and services that HP introduced at the conference this year.

HP announced a number of updates for its HP Cloud IaaS (infrastructure as a service). It now offers the ability for enterprises to set up VPNs (virtual private networks) to connect on-premises clouds and their resources on the HP Cloud, using HP's work in software-defined networking (SDN).

The service offers a new way to upload lots of data to the HP Cloud. Users can now send their hard drives to HP, which will upload the data itself to the HP Cloud Block Storage and HP Cloud Object Storage services. HP Cloud now also offers larger instance types -- up to 120GB of memory and 16 processor cores per instance -- that would make the service more suitable for big data analysis and high-performance computing workloads.

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