HP's Converged Cloud Services: A Very Big Bet on OpenStack
While Citrix's moves ahead with CloudStack and its abandonment of the OpenStack cloud computing platform dominated the news this week, there was a lot of big news surrounding OpenStack. IBM and Red Hat are among the many companies backing the upcoming, non-profit OpenStack Foundation, which will have substantial money and resources behind it. And, Hewlett-Packard announced its Converged Cloud services and platform tools, based on a "hardened" version of OpenStack. HP's plans could mean a lot for the company during a time when it's perceived by many to have lost its way, and HP is betting big on an open source platform with its cloud strategy.
One of the centerpieces of HP's Converged Cloud strategy is a public, open source IaaS cloud service based on OpenStack (dubbed HP Public Cloud). Like Amazon's cloud services, it will offer simple cloud tools and services, online storage, virtualization features and more, with beta instances available on May 10. Here, HP's pricing and support will matter a lot.
HP's coud strategy also involves tools for those who manage cloud deployments, through its Cloud Maps inititative. As ZDNet reports:
"HP launched Cloud Maps, software to manage private and public clouds...HP also launched software dubbed Service Virtualization 2.0, to test cloud environments, and Virtual Application Networks, to deploy networks across the company’s networking stack...Meanwhile, HP outlined services to set up these converged cloud pieces as well as security and optimization offerings."
Clearly, HP's OpenStack-based strategy stretches far beyond what Amazon is doing with its cloud services. HP's strategy appears to be a comprehensive attempt to provide end-to-end, flexible cloud tools and services. In that regard, it will join Rackspace, Red Hat, Cisco and IBM in attempting to appeal to large organizations focused on the cloud.
And, it's worth noting that HP's strategy relies heavily on the KVM hypervisor and virtualization, which will help it deliver hybrid cloud solutions without favoring one operating system over another. As GigaOM has reported:
"HP’s also putting more weight behind the KVM hypervisor in what is seen as a swipe at VMware."
How big is the pie that HP and the big cloud-focused companies that it competes with want to potentially divide up? Forrester Research has forecasted that cloud services will make up a $61 billion market by the end of 2012. The challenge for HP will be to successfully manage its cloud business even as it pushes forward with its huge printing business and its status as the number one PC maker. As it does so, it is placing a huge bet on open source.