from the cloud is no longer a secondary factor in application planning. 

In a growing number of enterprises, an application’s compatibility with cloud operation is a prime area of consideration.

Nonetheless, cloud operation is not a simple 'yes' or 'no' decision; for example, there are many types of cloud environments from which to choose.  

Hosted Private Cloud (HPC)

The findings of a Forester Research report, Adoption Profile: Hosted Private Cloud, North America and Europe, Q3 2014, derived from a survey of 2,255 business and technology decision-makers, gives insight into the HPC market today and a glimpse of HPC's accelerated growth potential. Forrester places HPC in the cloud-computing category of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), providing customers with discrete, dedicated computing resources.

There are basically two HPC operating models: off-premise, located in a third party provider’s environment, and on-premise, also known as internal cloud, housed within an organization’s own data center. As expected, on-premise HPC is highly compatible with corporate standards in terms of processes and security; however, it has size and scalability limitations when compared to off-premise private clouds managed by cloud providers.

hosted.private.cloudWhat did the survey reveal?

  • The market is expanding rapidly. In late 2014, the HPC market was comprised of over 3300 customers, up from 2100 in 2013, as published in a Forrester Wave evaluation of hosted private cloud.
  • 32% of the survey respondents identified HPC as their current or planned primary cloud environment, nearly double the 18% adoption figure reported for public cloud. 
  • The top drivers for adopting HPC include lowering infrastructure costs, improving ability to scale on demand, and expanding disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Security, privacy, and compliance continue to be top concerns. Data security safeguards was the No. 1 concern (30%), followed by the perceived risk of cloud operations in general to data thefts or breaches (26%).  No surprise, as the number and scale of cyberattacks has grown, the security of private clouds, once presumed, is now a capability to be investigated.
  • Another concern reported was vendor lock-in, though somewhat mitigated by the growth of Open Source architectures, such as OpenStack, which increase standardization and reduce the level of proprietary components.
  • Common problems reported with application implementations in HPC, include: readying current systems for operating in a hosted environment, poor interoperability with legacy systems, and a shortage of IT skills.

Hosted Private Cloud Advantages

  • The primary advantage of HPC’s over public clouds is security, since the enterprise’s assets are maintained on dedicated hardware accessible only over private and secure network links.
  • HPC’s also benefit from virtualization, which increases the value and utilization of physical server hardware.  In addition, when combined with a Storage Area Network (SAN), virtual servers provide improved protection against disasters and offer potential savings in time and money derived from pooled computing resources.
  • What’s more, HPC’s have become a popular option for utilizing OpenStack cloud infrastructure without the responsibility for designing, deploying or operating it.  In response to this trend, the OpenStack Foundation expanded its popular OpenStack Marketplace in 2014 to include a vendor comparison site featuring the Hosted Private Cloud category.

Heating Up

With improved agility and lower costs now widely accepted as key benefits of HPC computing, the market has been heating up and is now intensified by the commitment-to and easier adoption-of Open Source technologies. 

Evidenced by acquisitions of OpenStack cloud providers by IBM (Blue Box), EMC (CloudScaling), and Cisco (Metacloud).  Additionally, VMWare has announced its own version of an OpenStack distribution.

As more enterprises turn to cloud computing for competitive advantages, the HPC market is primed for accelerated growth.