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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday: HP Cloud Maps Help Navigate Server Flexing with BIG-IP

The economy of scale realized in enterprise cloud computing deployments is as much (if not more) about process as it is products. HP Cloud Maps simplify the former by automating the latter.


When the notion of “private” or “enterprise” cloud computing first appeared, it was dismissed as being a non-viable model due to the fact that the economy of scale necessary to realize the true benefits were simply not present in the data center. What was ignored in those arguments was that the economy of scale desired by enterprises large and small was not necessarily that of technical resources, but of people. The widening gap between people and budgets and data center components was a primary cause of data center inefficiency. Enterprise cloud computing promised to relieve the increasing burden on people by moving it back to technology through automation and orchestration.

As a means to achieve such a feat – and it is a non-trivial feat – required an ecosystem. No single vendor could hope to achieve the automation necessary to relieve the administrative and operational burden on enterprise IT staff because no data center is ever comprised of components provided by a single vendor. Partnerships – technological and practical partnerships – were necessary to enable the automation of processes spanning multiple data center components and achieve the economy of scale promised by enterprise cloud computing models.

HP, while providing a wide variety of data center components itself, has nurtured such an ecosystem of partners. Combined with its HP Operations Orchestration, such technologically-focused partnerships have built out an ecosystem enabling the automation of common operational processes, effectively shifting the burden from people to technology, resulting in a more responsive IT organization. image


One of the ways in which HP enables customers to take advantage of such automation capabilities is through Cloud Maps. Cloud Maps are similar in nature to F5’s Application Ready Solutions: a package of configuration templates, guides and scripts that enable repeatable architectures and deployments. Cloud Maps, according to HP’s description:

quote-badge HP Cloud Maps are an easy-to-use navigation system which can save you days or weeks of time architecting infrastructure for applications and services. HP Cloud Maps accelerate automation of business applications on the BladeSystem Matrix so you can reliably and consistently fast- track the implementation of service catalogs.

HP Cloud Maps enable practitioners to navigate the complex operational tasks that must be accomplished to achieve even what seems like the simplest of tasks: server provisioning. It enables automation of incident resolution, change orchestration and routine maintenance tasks in the data center, providing the consistency necessary to enable more predictable and repeatable deployments and responses to data center incidents.

Key components of HP Cloud Maps include:

  • Templates for hardware and software configuration that can be imported directly into BladeSystem Matrix
  • Tools to help guide planning
  • Workflows and scripts designed to automate installation more quickly and in a repeatable fashion
  • Reference whitepapers to help customize Cloud Maps for specific implementation


The partnership between F5 and HP has resulted in many data center solutions and architectures. HP’s Cloud Maps for F5 Networks today focuses on what HP calls server flexing – the automation of server provisioning and de-provisioning on-demand in the data center. It is designed specifically to work with F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) and provides the necessary configuration and deployment templates, scripts and guides necessary to implement server flexing in the data center.

The Cloud Map for F5 Networks can be downloaded free of charge from HP and comprises:

  • The F5 Networks BIG-IP reference template to be imported into HP Matrix infrastructure orchestration
  • Workflow to be imported into HP Operations Orchestration (OO)
  • XSL file to be installed on the Matrix CMS (Central Management Server)
  • Perl configuration script for BIG-IP

White papers with specific instructions on importing reference templates, workflows and configuring BIG-IP LTM are also available from the same site. The result is an automation providing server flexing capabilities that greatly reduces the manual intervention necessary to auto-scale and respond to capacity-induced events within the data center.

Happy Flexing!

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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.