Alexa, How Are My Cloud Providers Doing Today?

How open architectures let you simplify and customize multi-cloud management

Smart speakers continue to grow in popularity, promoted as must-have virtual home assistants. Voice activated, they let you play music, create to-do lists, search the web, and control smart products, all hands-free. But can these virtual assistants help you manage your multi-cloud environment at work? Believe it or not, the answer is yes.

The Alexa demo – a fun way to highlight an open architecture

Effectively managing your multi-cloud environment in today’s complex hybrid IT estate can be a Herculean task. But, according to a developer at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), it doesn’t have to be — just speak your request, wait a few seconds, and it’s taken care of.  All you need is a multi-cloud management solution and a virtual assistant.

That same developer wanted to show the importance of an open architecture, so he enlisted Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice-based home assistant, to help him. Using open standards, open source software, and an open API, he showed that integrating one application with another can be relatively simple. In less than a week, he had the demo up and running — ready to entertain an audience at an upcoming conference.

The importance of an open architecture

You may be wondering why the developer spent any time at all on this demo. Why is it so important that a multi-cloud management solution be extensible?

The answer is simple: it unlocks a world of possibilities that is only limited by your creativity. An open architecture lets anyone integrate one application to another, giving an enterprise unlimited opportunities to create custom experiences for themselves and their customers.

HPE recently announced HPE OneSphere, the industry’s first SaaS-based multi-cloud management solution for on-premises IT and public clouds. In this world of hybrid cloud, any multi-cloud management platform must be open and engineer friendly, and it must be able to easily integrate and work with other platforms.

The extensible and open API

In the case of the Alexa demo, the voice service receives a command that interacts with the HPE OneSphere API. Alexa interprets the voice commands and then translates them into API calls to HPE’s multi-cloud management solution. The open API and extensive documentation in HPE OneSphere makes it simple for developers to integrate the solution with many other applications. And because the HPE software manages your entire hybrid IT estate through APIs, anyone can take advantage of the APIs to interact with their whole environment.

When the open source Alexa/HPE OneSphere demo becomes available on GitHub, it will allow developers to take it and build additional skills to interact with their own hybrid infrastructure. By writing additional interactions and queries, developers can easily use modern scripting languages to extend the skillset by utilizing the HPE OneSphere APIs and other software-defined infrastructure elements. This capability allows hybrid IT management to be fully customized to meet the specific needs of any organization.  (To learn more about HPE open source innovation through collaboration and working with the HPE OneSphere API, check out the HPE Developer site.)

Three uses cases for Alexa and HPE OneSphere

Although the original purpose of the HPE OneSphere/Alexa integration was to demonstrate how open the HPE OneSphere architecture is, the integration proved useful. The demo highlights how Alexa or similar virtual assistants can integrate with HPE OneSphere to help enterprises better manage their multi-cloud environments. I’ve included some examples below of how three different users (IT operators, developers, and executives) could benefit from this hands-free, multi-cloud management application.

HPE OneSphere gives IT managers a better view of their entire hybrid IT environment and includes automation and proactive management tools for increased productivity.

IT operator: Alexa, how are my cloud providers doing today?

Alexa: Welcome to HPE OneSphere. Two out of two providers’ status OK. Amazon Web Services scores 702. Private cloud scores 751.

IT operator: Alexa, what is the utilization of my private cloud?

Alexa: The utilization score of private cloud is 336, using 6% CPU, 63% memory, 30% storage.

HPE OneSphere lets developers use the tools and apps they need when they need them — without having to wait for IT to provision new infrastructure. Using the SaaS web portal or through APIs, developers have instant access to a pool of IT resources.

Developer: Alexa, create a project named Experiment in my production environment.

Alexa: Project Experiment created in your production environment at your facility per organizational policy.

Not only can IT operators and developers benefit from a multi-cloud management solution like HPE OneSphere, business executives can make better business decisions because of increased transparency. Real-time, cross-cloud insights enable CIOs and lines of business to increase resource utilization and reduce costs, improving efficiency across the board.

Executive: Alexa, what is my total spend for the month across all projects?

Alexa: Total spend across all of your providers for the month is $33,495.

Not your father’s enterprise system

Today’s open architectures allow organizations to do amazing things. HPE open source API’s allows IT to manage clouds and infrastructure as code, so they can customize management of the entire hybrid IT environment in nearly unlimited ways – including receiving voice updates from a virtual assistant.

So what’s next? With the HPE OneSphere open architecture and API, you decide. Your creativity and imagination are the only limit.

To learn more about how to succeed in a hybrid IT environment, download the white paper from 451 Research: Eight Essentials for Hybrid IT.

About Gary Thome

Gary Thome is the Vice President and Chief Technologist for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in their digital transformation. Learn about HPE’s approach to managing hybrid IT by checking out the HPE website, HPE OneSphere. And to find out how HPE can help you determine a workload placement strategy that meets your service level agreements, visit HPE Pointnext.

To read more articles from Gary, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.