Easing into the Cloud with HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft
January 25, 2013

HP and Microsoft are two of the biggest names in enterprise IT -- HP in the hardware space and Microsoft, of course, dominating the software market. Through the years, the two tech giants have come together several times in many different capacities. One of the more significant of these partnerships produced the HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft, a solution designed to simplify the process of moving to a private cloud.

According to a recent study from Aberdeen Group, the majority of applications are now deployed on virtualized servers, with the average rate of server virtualization reaching 55 percent. Meanwhile, a separate study from the Open Data Center Alliance showed that companies are deploying the private cloud at a rapid pace, with over half the alliance's members expecting to run at least 40 percent of their IT operations in the private cloud by 2015.

Given the rapid growth of both the cloud and virtualization, it makes sense that businesses would seek ways to simplify their deployments. This is where HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft comes in. A joint architecture combining HP Converged Infrastructure and Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center, the solution is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of virtualization and accelerate businesses' transition to the cloud.

HP claims that 76 percent of IT decision-makers say reducing virtualization complexity is their No. 1 priority. Currently, there are too many management tools, too many security issues, and too much complexity when scaling or extending to the cloud. VirtualSystem was designed with this in mind, with the capacity to maximize virtual machine performance and act as a single point of contact for end-to-end solution support.

Currently, there are three VirtualSystem configurations for Microsoft's Hyper-V technology: VS1, VS2, and VS3.

VirtualSystem VS1 boasts 96 cores and 1.5 terabytes of memory. It uses HP ProLiant DL360 as its management node and can be configured with either two or eight HP ProLiant DL380s as virtual hosts. The VirtualSystem VS2 setup uses two HP ProLiant DL360s as its management services and either six or 12 HP ProLiant BL460c servers as virtual hosts.

The latest setup, VirtualSystem VS3, was introduced earlier this year. It is built on ProLiant Gen8 servers and 3PAR storage for Microsoft's private cloud. The system won Best in Show for virtualization at Microsoft's TechEd 2012 conference and, according to HP Group Manager Brad Kirby, is optimized for large enterprises.

HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft is build on four pillars: optimized converged infrastructure; complete solutions that reduced complexity and risk; tight integration; and a foundation that enables future growth. This last tenet is particularly important, as the technology field is constantly changing. Most experts agree that the cloud and virtualization are here to stay, but they recognize that the technologies are likely to evolve in the coming years.

Further, Microsoft and HP emphasize the convenience of HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft, noting that users can leverage HP Start Services to get their Microsoft private cloud computing solution up and running in five to 10 days.