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Issue Date: May 2003 (es)

An eSecure QA on adaptive infrastructure

1 May 2003

'Adaptive infrastructure' is one of a number of new buzzwords being bandied around, in different guises by different vendors. To get the HP 'take' on what adaptive infrastructure is really about, we contacted HP South Africa and posed a few questions to them. Kevin Barnard, HP's Unix and Itanium product manager did the honours.
[eSecure] Kevin, in a recent press briefing introducing HP's 'adaptive infrastructure' philosophy, or model, HP executives suggested that the industry at large is moving to a new model of computing .... just what is this 'business driven' utility computing or (should that be adaptive infrastructure) model that HP is talking about?
[Kevin Barnard, HP] In business, as in life, change is constant and dramatic, limited resources leave little room for error, and your ability to react immediately and confidently is the key to success. What you need now is an adaptive IT infrastructure - one that ensures continuous and secure operations, can be managed automatically and intelligently, and empowers you to dynamically and optimally extend every resource.
One way to build an adaptive infrastructure is through IT consolidation, which optimises your people, processes, and systems to be more efficient and effective. IT consolidation is not a one-step effort. It is a journey you can start at any point that makes sense for your organisation. And it is an ongoing process that puts you on the path to immediate and future success.
Collocating, integrating hardware and data, and integrating applications are all necessary steps toward building a truly adaptive infrastructure. Pulling together IT centres across a network and implementing storage area networks to create a single set of resources helps you move to the IT utility you need to access capacity on demand, employ flexible technology, operate in a highly automated environment, and execute in realtime.
IT utility capitalises on three key elements of an adaptive infrastructure. The first key element in achieving IT utility involves combining technologies, products, services, and solutions to deliver and support a continuously available environment - ensuring the stability and efficiency of your business in the face of change. You maintain service levels while you reduce costs.
The second key element is the ability to match resource capacity to service demands in realtime. This requires dynamic control and scalability in servers and storage that couple with services and software, as well as managed services, all to ensure you will not run short of capacity or pay more than necessary for the right amount of resources at the right time. With HP's Instant Capacity on Demand, or iCOD, when demand increases, iCOD instantly ignites CPUs to add capacity to your service environments.
The third key element is the ability to monitor and control resource health, track use, and report on infrastructure operations that impact the business. When a system has a single management station, overall management of the cluster is significantly simpler - further decreasing downtime.
[eSecure] Is this really a 'business driven' model ... or simply a marketing differentiator for HP?
[KB] No, I do not believe they are just marketing differentiators. In today's typical distributed environment supports hundreds of applications on servers across the enterprise. An application is often deployed on multiple systems, each requiring an operating system, application software, and staff support. Securing and monitoring these dispersed systems is a costly, time-consuming process that can still leave a company vulnerable to a lapse in data integrity and availability.
At the same time, you work with finite resources - people, budgets, and locations. As you move toward an adaptive infrastructure, you have the opportunity to gain three benefits:
1. Reduce costs and improve your return on investment;
2. Improve service levels and availability;
3. Get new applications up and running faster.
[eSecure] What are these 'business drivers'? (Improving cost-effectiveness, aligning IT resources with business strategy, improved service levels, improved business agility, managing risk, business continuity, etc)?
[KB] All of the above and more. IT departments and business have not been in a closer relationship than in the last six months. In today's business market, we are seeing the need for business to take the lead in driving the success and growth of any company, and for IT to provide the hardware, software and services to make business successful. It is for this reason that HP provides a business plan on how we are able, with our adaptive infrastructure, to support companies which are looking to the future.
[eSecure] [Moving past the marketing spin], what is really new here? Business decision makers are at last making 'business needs' the driver for IT purchasing, partnering and strategic services ...
[KB] Agreed. They are also starting to understand how IT can make the business successful. They have hopefully stopped seeing IT as a cost location where the company profit falls into a black pit but rather that the black pit has more to offer business in the future.
[eSecure] So how does HP's 'business driven adaptive infrastructure' help meet end-user needs?
[KB] By reducing the volume of servers, and centralising the storage you oversee, means you can optimise the systems you have - improving performance and maximising the availability of applications and data, while lowering operating costs overall. Server integration cuts back on the number of systems when more powerful servers of the same architecture host a single application or multiple instances of a single application.
For more information contact Kevin M. Barnard, HP Unix and Itanium product manager, HP South Africa, 011 775 5715,

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