Grounded in the Cloud
HP Helion brings together all the speed, agility and cost benefits of cloud computing, and with all the possibilities and interoperability of open source. Providing the cloud practitioner in you, the flexibility, reliability and security that enterprises need to move forward with confidence.

In this blog, we will explore the unique challenges and solutions of enterprise cloud deployment and usage. And in so doing, help you on your way to design, build and manage enterprise-grade infrastructure, platform and application services for the Cloud. Come join us now on this journey….

HP SaaS and the Cloud: Seeing the Light

Wouldn’t it be easier if you kept all of your lights on in your house all of the time? Think how cool that would be. No more getting out of bed to turn lights on. No more fumbling around aimlessly for a light switch. No more banging your shins on furniture. By keeping every light on, you’d be assured that whenever you need light, you’ll have light. 


Sure you’ll be over-provisioned 99% of the time, but hey, who’s getting tired of bruised shins? 


Well, if home lighting worked like traditional IT, this actually wouldn’t be a bad model. You could keep all the lights on to avoid extensively long light procurement cycles when demand increased. You’d pay for the lighting in a large, one-time capital investment so budgeting would be predictable. And, you’d have the peace of mind knowing that no matter the circumstance, each of your house guests would have light when they need it, ensuring lifestyle continuity and house guest satisfaction. 


Of course, the reason why we don’t use this capacity planning model is that home lighting is provided in an on-demand, pay-as-you-use service model.  


Sound familiar?



Elastic resources is an old concept  


Lighting is very similar to cloud compute resources – it’s elastic. The reason is obvious – the demand on lighting fluctuates to extremes and in condensed timeframes. Consider the following demand drivers: 



  • Time of day

  • Occupancy of the rooms

  • Need for lighting, e.g., sleeping or reading

  • Time of year (Christmas lights vs. daylight savings)



Fortunately for us, our homes come with power switches so that we can regulate our lighting consumption and manage the utility-based cost of electricity. In essence, we do our best to optimize our electricity bills by using lights only when needed and using energy efficient light bulbs to further minimize the cost. Also, if you’ve owned your home for a few years, you instinctively understand when your budget needs to increase depending on the situation, e.g., higher electricity bills during certain times of the year. After a while, you really aren’t surprised by the electricity bill as it becomes very predictable. 


Transforming Capacity Planning to Elasticity Planning 



So, when it comes to home lighting, you’ve instinctively used an ‘elasticity planning’ model in lieu of a capacity planning model. 


Pretty cool, huh?  


Interesting side note on elasticity planning in action… 


My sister’s family just came back from a week long vacation and their home power bill was 25% less than normal due to lower power consumption. 


Back to blog… 


If only optimizing the cost of cloud compute resources was that easy. Hmmm, well maybe it is that easy. After all, it seems like doing our best to minimize the cost of cloud would be paramount since lower costs is one of the cloud’s promises: 



  • How can we optimize the resources that are already in use?

  • How can we optimize the amount of resources depending on the fluctuating demand?

  • How can we make the variable pricing model of the cloud predictable? 


… and The BIG question is… 



  • How can we change from traditional on-premise capacity planning to cloud-based elasticity planning? 


The irony of the cloud 


What makes elasticity planning even more important to cloud is that elastically expanding more cloud compute resources doesn’t necessarily result in meeting more business demand. For example, if your application in the cloud is slow due to inefficient methods, expanding compute resources will not allow you to meet greater business demand. 


These types of performance problems will impact both low and peak usage.  The cloud creates what I refer to as a ‘business value trap’ – it beckons you with promises of lower cost, but may actually result in higher costs… oh the irony.


Making the cloud deliver on its cost promise 


The first step in elasticity planning is to tune your application, thereby optimizing the required compute resources. This is equivalent to using an energy efficient light bulb – higher efficiency leads to less electricity, which results in lower costs. 


Tuning the application means that method call chains and SQL statements are efficient and optimized. It also means that there are no memory leaks, so that all required CPU and memory resources are minimized to support maximum business demand. 


Once you’ve tuned the application in the cloud, you need to right-size the application’s compute resource footprint. In essence, you need to know the optimal compute resource footprints to support fluctuating business demands. 


Keeping a huge compute resource footprint deployed in the cloud to service low business demand makes about as much sense as keeping all of your lights on in your house during day time. 


So, if you benchmark properly through performance testing, you’ll know the various compute resource footprints needed to support low usage (off-season), medium usage (mid-season) and peak usage (holiday season). This results in two valuable outcomes – one, you’ll validate your application’s global class scale; and two, you’ll make your variable costs in the cloud extremely predictable. 


HP Cloud Assure for cost control 


Performing true elasticity planning in the cloud requires the proper toolset and expertise. HP Cloud Assure for cost control is a service provided by HP SaaS and is meant to help you with your elasticity planning transformation. Its intention is to assure you the right size of your cloud compute footprint, at the right cost.  


I actually had a great conversation with Dana Gardner, Software Productivity Analyst and Social Media Producer, on Cloud Assure for cost control. You may read a transcript or listen to the podcast. 


Avoid the business-value-trap of the cloud. Perform proper elasticity planning! 

IT X-Games: Spike Load Testing

"It scared me to death. It just doesn't make sense. You're still on your motorcycle at the height of the jump going 'this thing's not going to rotate around.' I knew it was possible. It just doesn't seem logical."


- Travis Pastrana, motocross rider quoted after trying his first back flip


If an IT executive or QA manager were asked if  a member of their load testing team do a midair back flip on a motorcycle, judging solely by their views on load testing, I’m pretty sure their response would be something like:



“Sure. They can start out on a leisure ride, and then they can gas it up the ramp and when they hit the apex, they’ll execute the back flip, then land safely, and then be on their way.”



Why do IT execs and QA managers believe that they can execute a successful spike load test by simply starting a traditional load test, and then ramping up the number of virtual users until they have a large spike load test? Very often, much to their disappointment, it’s not that simple. Spike load puts the extreme in load testing.


Like extreme sports, spike load testing raises the stakes of successful outcomes. The great news though is that when those outcomes are met, the results are amazing. Let’s review the attributes of a spike load test:




  • Uses tens and maybe even hundreds of thousands of virtual users (puts the rapid acceleration into the leisure ride)

  • Requires the orchestration of an extra-large, on-demand test bed with the compute power to generate the spike load (puts the ramp into the leisure ride)

  • Requires robust data planning and data refresh strategy (puts the airborne into the leisure ride)

  • Is bounded by a non-negotiable deadline because large load testing prepares for  the peak load of a specific event (puts the back flip into the leisure ride)

  • May involve Web 2.0 / RIA front ends, which invalidates previous benchmarking and adds complexity to the technical preparation (puts a flaming hoop into the leisure ride)

  • May involve load testing during a maintenance window, which means you must have a successful spikeload test without the possibility of a second chance (puts the Grand Canyon into the leisure ride)


The stakes rise with each added challenge that spike load testing brings to the table. Because the scale of a company’s business and reputation are directly tied to the scale of their websites, the extreme stakes must be dealt with for extreme business results.



There are three things that you absolutely need in order to successfully perform spike load testing and protect your business and reputation:




  1. An elastic test framework which can expand in an on-demand fashion to generate large loads

  2. An easy way to create virtual users for both traditional websites and for today’s rich-internet-application technology such as AJAX, Flex and Flash

  3. The experience, knowledge and best practices to streamline the large load testing processes to ensure your outcomes are met


Note that all three focus on not just ensuring outcomes, but also expediting the time-to-value.


Now, you may be thinking that I’m overusing the terms, ‘best practices’ and ‘experience’.  Quite frankly, I feel they are often overused, especially in the IT world. But when it comes to spike load testing, experience cannot be over-valued. Here is a list of questions that an experienced spike load tester should be able to answer with confidence:




  • How are virtual user scripts created so that they are ultra-scalable?



  • How are virtual users ramped up during a large load test?



  • What run-time settings should be set during a large load test?



  • What are the special data handling considerations for large load testing?



If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then your chances of successfully pulling off a large load test are greatly diminished.


Check out the new solution from HP SaaS called, HP Elastic Test. It’s architected and priced in a cloud compute, elastic fashion:



e-las-tic
- adj
A common expression used to describe the ability to expand and contract compute resources in an on-demand fashion. The purchasing of elastic compute power is utility-based or otherwise known as ‘pay-as-you-go.



Example: Validating the performance of internet, global-class applications requires an elastic load testing solution.



It’s also backed by 9 years of spike load testing experience. HP SaaS performs the scripting and spike load test orchestration, using all of their experience and best practices.


Validating the scale of your website represents business stakes at extreme levels. If you think about it, load testing is all about risk mitigation and protecting your business and reputation. Why not extend your risk-mitigation strategy by going with a proven vendor with industry leading technology?



Or put in another way…



This is load testing…


 


This is load testing with HP Elastic Test….


 


 Any questions?

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About the Author(s)
  • Archie delivers strategic solutions focused on today’s critical and evolving business needs, linked to the growing list of Strategic Enterprise Services including Hybrid Cloud, IM&A including Social Media, Security and Mobility from BYOD to mobile applications. Archie is the author of 4 books so far, and a founding director of the Australian Cloud Security Alliance chapter.
  • Lending 20 years of IT market expertise across 5 continents, for defining moments as an innovation adoption change agent.
  • Global Marketing Manager at HP in the Converged Application Systems organization, ESSN for Cloud Maps Solution which is a key part of HP’s Converged Cloud and CloudSystem strategy. Responsible for leading marketing for Cloud Maps with a focus on creating internal & external awareness, sales & partner enablement, and demand generation. You can follow me on Twitter @BelaniDeepak
  • HP Software Cloud and Automation solution architect serving largest customers in Europe, now leading the Community team for HP Operations Orchestration.
  • I've devoted more than a decade to writing about technology products, solutions and services.
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • I am on the WW Cloud and Big Data Solutions Team. I help our customers adopt HP advanced solutions that are made up of products and services from across HP. I have over 30 years experience in the technology business including 17 years of business ownership.
  • Matt is a Master Engineer leading the development of CLIs and SDKs for HP Cloud. Prior to this Matt led the development of the HP public cloud marketplace and developed the HP public cloud websites. He is a regular open source contributor having contributed to wide variety of projects in numerous languages including PHP, JavaScript, and Go. Matt is a published author and conference speaker.
  • Mike has been with HP for 30 years. Half of that time was in R&D, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, solution marketing. .
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Ortega has been working for HP for 7 years across their Global Marketing organization. "Tega" is an HP Cloud Senior Marketing leader accelerating messaging around HP Cloud Solutions. Her professional passions range from but are not limited to: globalized messaging on cloud solutions, learning from, interacting with, & influencing enterprise executives in their IT & business model investment strategies. Tega enjoys sharing her social media voice, global network experience, and innovative thoughts. In addition, she keeps her followers connected on world events, industry trends, & global demands that impact the need for technology solutions. Her professional passion stems in outreach to decision makers from startups to enterprise who want to change the world. Tega offers inspiration to her followers that they embrace becoming or comtinue to expand as "forward thinkers". Let's do this! Your enterprise is counting on you.
  • René J. Aerdts is chief technologist and leader of the Strategic Pursuits and Cloud Enablement organization within the Chief Technology Office for HP Enterprise Services. René is responsible for creating and delivering direction and content for consultative driven thematic pursuits, where leading edge technologies and offerings are part of the solution.
  • Roger has been trying to get out of Information Technology since programming COBOL on mainframes in the late '80's. But no matter in which continent he awoke, or whom employed him, his passion to enable people with technology was constant. So now he enables businesses to determine their strategy using the latest technologies like cloud computing, mobility, and big data. HP calls these Strategic Enterprise Services, Roger calls them "another day in the office."
  • Stephen Spector is a HP Cloud Evangelist promoting the OpenStack based clouds at HP for hybrid, public, and private clouds . He was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and Xen.org at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, he founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow Stephen at @SpectorTX
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