This week we rolled out the new Hitachi Management Automation Strategy to deliver modern infrastructure management software to enable customers to simplify and automate the delivery of infrastructure and application services supporting current and next-gen applications. As customers transform their IT architectures to enable higher level of IT agility and support the business as part of digital transformation projects, the ability to automate infrastructure to allow IT to focus resources on business innovation becomes key pillar as part of that strategy. As part of the new Hitachi Management Automation Strategy announcement, we added the new Unified Compute Platform (UCP) Advisor to the growing portfolio of automation-focused software.
In a nutshell, UCP Advisor delivers simplified, smart converged management for individual and multiple UCP 2000 (rack-scale, rack server based converged system) and UCP HC (Hyper-converged) systems. With the recently expanded UCP systems options now supporting deployments between 2-128 nodes with the UCP 2000 converged all-flash/hybrid systems or 2-64 nodes with our UCP HC systems, the ability to automate the lifecycle of this infrastructure to support VMs becomes paramount.
So what’s covered when we say “lifecycle of that infrastructure”. For the first release, we put initial emphasis on VMware ecosystem so I’ll use some example from it but some of the services equally applicable to other ecosystems and/or roadmap items.
Essentially, when it comes to converged infrastructure supporting a virtualization environment or private cloud environment, there are 3 essential areas that are top of mind in most customer conversations
- Manage the lifecycle of the software/firmware upgrades and expansion of that infrastructure in reliable repeatable fashion consistent with change management best practices
- Enable administrators to manage/automate the delivery of infrastructure resources to support VM and application workloads
- Monitoring and remediation of that infrastructure with familiar toolsets.
I will cover some of these aspects in greater detail in subsequent blogs but first some snippets of screenshots to convey what to expect from UCP Advisor when it goes general availability in the coming weeks.
First, the deployment environment for converged/hyper-converged UCP systems varies and can often involve deployments in the datacenter and multiple individual systems deployed in remote branch offices. UCP Advisor can manage disparate UCP systems through vSphere taking advantage of vCenter enhanced linked mode where necessary.
UCP Advisor provides visibility to the infrastructure resources (compute, network and storage) of UCP systems and provides specific information and actions against that underlying infrastructure from within vSphere.
In addition to physical resource management actions, there are a set of virtual/logical resource actions that are exposed via UI, PowerShell or API*. Some examples are deploying brand new ESXi nodes from infrastructure pool ready to consume VMs, provisioning datastores (FC, NFS or iSCSI) end to end or synchronizing VLANs from distributed switches to uplink top of rack switches. These type of services are essential infrastructure services for customer's layering on cloud architectures such as vRealize Automation (see Hitachi Enterprise Cloud) to enable a dynamic environment.
One of the harder challenges for infrastructure automation software is the ability to manage the firmware upgrade path of the underlying components that comprise a converged or hyper-converged system. UCP Advisor provides the necessary workflows to accomplish this directly from vSphere ensuring availability of services as components across compute, network and storage are upgraded.
We've also integrated data management services, starting with VM or datastore level hardware snapshot protection through optional recommended integration with Hitachi Data Instance Director virtual services to enable administrators to cover that essential aspect of infrastructure lifecycle. With the ability to backup and recover TB VMs in real time, it assures customers they can reduce the risk of impacts to the business of unforeseen events. Stay tuned for more on in this area as we'll exploit these hardware snapshots of production data to offer additional data management services to support devops use cases.
So a short introduction but in subsequent blogs, I’ll expand on the additional aspects of UCP Advisor including its native vRealize Orchestrator for distributed automated operations, vRealize Log Insight integrations with ability to analyze infrastructure logs for security intrusion and other feature value aspects we are enabling to deliver on our automation strategy and fast track our customers to realize their operational needs for their next-gen cloud architectures.
[update]: Follow-on Blogs