HP Steps Up Cloud Lineup

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week stepped up its cloud computing effort by launching a portfolio of private cloud services, hardware and software and indicated plans to jump into public cloud hosting.

The company has lacked a strong cloud computing focus but now intends to move forward more aggressively, HP officials said. HP will do so by offering various private cloud services as well as on-premises hardware and software. Also, the company will offer hybrid clouds by bridging its on- and off-premises cloud offerings. And it will let its partners offer cloud services with its new hardware and software.

HP has trailed its rivals in the systems market such as Dell, IBM and the VCE Alliance consisting of VMware, Cisco and EMC, said Pund-IT analyst Charles King. "This is a welcome shift toward a more integrated cloud strategy for HP," King said. "HP's cloud strategy has gone through a number of iterations over the last couple of years."

Officials at HP said that's about to change. "HP is now a full cloud services provider," said Patrick Harr, VP of strategy and solutions for the company's enterprise business.

This week's launch consists of the HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute and CloudSystem. ECS-Compute is a cloud services offering for enterprise applications and CloudSystem is a portfolio of converged systems consisting of servers, storage and network interfaces. Those systems are loaded with software allowing customers and partners to run their own on-site clouds.

Specifically, ECS-Compute is an HP Services offering designed for those who want to put mission-critical applications into private clouds running in HP data centers. It's not intended for lightweight apps or for development, explained Harr. "We're bringing enterprise class capabilities with the benefits of cloud computing," he said.

The service is built on a common architecture such that customers can move core business apps into ECS-Compute, according to Harr. Customers can specify geographic locations where their data is hosted, he added, allowing them to address governance and compliance regulations.

Customers will have the option of provisioning their own bare-metal servers through ECS-Compute or buying their own virtualized Windows or Linux instances. By summer, the company will offer HP/UX. From an applications perspective, customers can run any software they would run in their own data center, said Kevin Karcher, director of product marketing for IT outsourcing in HP's enterprise services business.

"From a pure applications point of view the client can run whatever they choose in that environment although they would most likely bring applications that they've been accustomed in running in a virtualized environment," Karcher said.

Moving forward, HP will offer public instances of sandboxed applications for development and testing such as SAP and various security apps, such as an incident management and response program, according to Karcher.

Meanwhile, for those who want to run their clouds on premise, CloudSystem consists of a turnkey appliance based on HP's converged BladeSystem server, storage and network based hardware and loaded with the company's Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software.

CSA, launched last year, lets customers provision, manage, secure and govern cloud services in private clouds, or they can bring public cloud services into that same environment. "The customer can now really integrate traditional IT services, private cloud services and public cloud services into one single integrated services catalog," Harr said.

CloudSystem also supports HP's new Cloud Maps, a set of templates designed to launch specific cloud images, such as Microsoft Exchange, Oracle databases or SAP apps. "So as opposed to taking weeks or months to deploy that application in a highly optimized fashion, it can now be done in a matter of minutes," Harr said. Currently HP has 18 such templates, some for apps and some for infrastructure provided by Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. Harr said HP is also working with other third-party ISVs to create additional Cloud Maps.

HP will be offering CloudSystem through its network of channel partners who can either sell them to customers or become service providers themselves. The company has launched the HP Cloud Enablement Program aimed at helping channel partners run their businesses as a service. The program includes financial incentives.

In addition to offering the complete hardware and software stack with CloudSystem, HP is offering its CSA software separately, allowing customers to run it on any hardware in their shops.

As for its foray into hosting, HP would only confirm that it intends to offer such a service, though officials declined to offer timing or specifics. The company has hired Emil Sayegh as VP of marketing for cloud services. Sayegh was formerly VP and general manager of Rackspace Hosting's Cloud Computing division. "You will see us launch public cloud services," Harr said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.


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