The Stack Archive

HP stakes $1bn to take its chair at the high rollers cloud table

Wed 7 May 2014

HP is to extend its own OpenStack technology and hybrid IT delivery with a $1bn investment over two years and which will lie at the heart of its newly-branded cloud position, HP Helion.

And in a novel move, the computer giant has offered to indemnify both direct users and services providers for the use of that code against any possible future IP disputes. HP says it understands customers want solutions that are open, secure and agile and that it has taken a central role in developing OpenStack technologies and Cloud Foundry-based solutions.

“Customer challenges today extend beyond cloud. They include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches,” said Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer, HP. “HP Helion provides the solutions and expertise customers need to select the right deployment model for their needs and obtain the greatest return for their investment.”

Within HP Helion there will be OpenStack Community edition; a commercial product line, Development Platform, a platform as a service (PaaS) based on Cloud Foundry; the OpenStack Technology Indemnification Program; and OpenStack Professional Services, a new practice which consolidates its existing consultancies.

HP Helion OpenStack–based cloud services will be made available globally via HP’s partner network of more than 110 service providers worldwide and in HP data centres. HP has more than 80 data centres in 27 countries and plans to provide OpenStack-based public cloud services in 20 of them over the next 18 months. HP will also enable HP PartnerOne for Cloud partners to deliver and resell OpenStack-based cloud services.

Other expert viewpoints from the international media on the announcement:

Giagaom  —  The idea is to reassure potential buyers that they can deploy OpenStack without risk even if they get sued over use of intellectual property in the OpenStack code. That level of comfort is key for corporations that may still be spooked over threats of lawsuits over their use of Linux a decade ago. Most of the major vendors added indemnification to Linux as a result.

As far as I can tell, this is the broadest protection from any OpenStack-affiliated vendor in that it covers not just companies who buy direct from HP but HP’s own service provider partners and their customers as well.”

The Register  — “Bill Hilf, HP’s vice president of converged cloud products and services, told The Reg his company is making a “bold bet” with the $1bn OpenStack investment.

“It’s a huge, huge part or our strategic initiative for Hewlett Packard and a huge part of HP’s turnaround, frankly,” he told us.

“So many vendors put these big numbers out there… As we were prepared for this, we wanted to be clear this is not some fictional thing.”

CRN  — The new open-source-based cloud products and services are aimed at providing customers faced with a politically charged technology landscape of competing cloud stacks a safe haven as they architect cloud strategies across hybrid IT environments.

Helion also took a direct shot at OpenStack vendor Red Hat and HP rival Cisco, which teamed with Red Hat earlier this year to develop a new go-to-market strategy called “Journey to the Open Cloud.” Cisco and Red Hat have boasted they are driving an entire cloud stack with playbooks and reference architectures.

Wall Street Journal — But the commitment pales in comparison with cloud investments from bigger competitors such as Google Inc. Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. which are spending $1 billion to $2 billion a quarter to build data centers and acquire the necessary real estate, on top of billions more in R&D each year.

In her effort to revive H-P’s fortunes after a period of turmoil, Chief Executive Meg Whitman has stabilized the company over the past two-plus years but has yet to bring back sales growth and a reputation for innovation.
Ms. Whitman is banking that the effort will bring a new class of business customers who prefer to rent computing technology and software rather than buy and maintain their own systems. In recent months, Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. have all touted aggressive efforts to move further to the cloud.

Geek Wire  — Helion will be centered in downtown Seattle, where the company employs about 70 people and is aiming to hire as many as 200 more over the next 18 months — positioning itself to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft and Amazon for cloud-computing engineers.

…./   It’s the latest sign of the Seattle region’s emergence as a center of cloud computing. The Helion project is led by Bill Hilf, HP’s senior vice president for cloud products and services, an open-source and cloud computing veteran who worked at Microsoft before joining HP last year.

“We’re hiring like gangbusters,” said Hilf, speaking from the HP offices at Seventh Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle. He cited the cloud talent pool as one of the main advantages of operating here, based on the existing concentration of cloud companies.

You can read the original HP statement here.


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