The project is called the HP Hybrid Delivery Cloud, and consists of four main parts. HP will offer businesses and governments leased space on HP’s own data centers, with fast provisioning and uniform service, security and privacy policies. Another part, called HP CLoudSystem, is essentially HP’s data center offering, hardware and management software, for individual use by enterprises. The management software is also sold sold separately in a “Cloud Service Automation” package, eventually for use in more heterogeneous hardware environments (right now it just works with HP gear.) Lastly is a service offering, the Cloud Discovery Workshop, which enables prospects to figure out strategies and financial metrics in intensive, executive-level workshops.
“We’re focused on (providing) a foundation of infrastructure and assets,” said Thomas Hogan, HP’s executive vice president of Enterprise Sales. “Within the next few years one-quarter of all information will be delivered by private clouds, and one-quarter by public clouds — by 2014 the commercial ecosystem around the cloud will be worth $100 billion.”
The biggest enterprise hardware and software companies all want more than their fair share of that number, of course, and they all strive to show their offering for cloud computing is everything they were, and more. HP appears to be leveraging its comprehensive product portfolio, but also repackaging parts of it to show a flexibility to accommodate other products. That is a contrast to Oracle’s more “one-stop” approach. The workshop, with its focus on services and process insight, creates a product competitive with IBM’s services-led approach. The one-stop approach contrasts with the EMC-Cisco offering of many parts from supposedly “best of breed” suppliers.
In addition, Hogan said, putting more software and services in the mix means HP may be able to take better quality contracts in the future by taking over some of its customers information technology hassles. “There is a margin opportunity here for us, by leveraging together services, hardware, and software, along with HP Financial Services” to finance customers.
In addition, the prospect of renting out a lot of corporate computing assets emulates Amazon’s Amazon Web Services offering for both computing and storage. Most early customers for AWS were smaller companies and startups, but an increasing number of large businesses have grown comfortable with picking up computing resources on the fly. Hogan said the service, which will allow companies to claim servers colocated in HP centers, would be available in February in Europe and the U.S., and this summer in Asia.
HP is primarily targeting its 2000 largest customers, who account for well over half of corporate revenues, for the workshops, but it is not ignoring smaller clients. The turnkey Cloud System can start as small as a cage of eight servers, or scale up to what Hogan termed “a level to make your head spin.” HP has established centers in Switzerland, Texas, or Singapore where prospects can experiment and figure out their needs.
The automation offering, for both mapping and managing computing needs, is targeted at critically important independent systems vendors, who often resell other gear besides HP. Longer term, Hogan said, ”the strategy is to make it a stand-alone product, so ISVs can manage in a complex environment.”
When you’re going into a $100 billion battle, it’s good to have as many allies as possible.