HP Extends Public, Private Cloud Portfolio

Hewlett-Packard this week bolstered its private and public cloud portfolio, looking to extend its reach to enterprises of all sizes. As part of its rollout, HP for the first time is enabling infrastructure and application provisioning services to third-party cloud providers, initially Amazon's EC2.

At its annual HP Software Universe conference in Hamburg, Germany this week, the company launched three new offerings that will extend its ability to offer cloud services to large enterprises as well as small- and medium-business (SMB) customers. They include Communications-as-a-Service, aimed at helping telecom providers offer cloud service packages, HP Cloud Assure for Cost Control, and an upgrade of its HP Operations Orchestration to support EC2.

HP Operations Orchestration is the company's software offering for provisioning enterprise applications and automating functions such as configuration and change management, archiving, and managing of physical and virtual infrastructures. It also supports application development and testing. The latest tweak will allow customers to add EC2 to that infrastructure, said Paul Muller, HP's vice president of Software and Solutions.

"We have added pre-integration into Amazon EC2 to allow organizations to add and remove that additional capacity as part of their regular operational procedures integrating with their traditional and existing management tools as they are deployed," Muller said in an interview.

The decision to support Amazon's EC2 was based on customer demand, he said. Asked if there are plans to support Microsoft's forthcoming Azure service, due out in January, Muller wouldn't say.

"We would like to integrate to all cloud providers that are predominant in the marketplace -- we will be adding them based on customer demand," he said. Demand for cloud services is still emerging, and many enterprises are skeptical of using public cloud services for mission-critical applications.

Like other cloud providers and analysts, Muller said the primary users of public cloud services are those looking to add capacity for application development and testing. "But we are increasingly seeing simple Web services, that type of workloads," he said. "It could be something that is suited to an application that scales between internal or external infrastructures often as an adjunct to an application that's already been moved into a hosting environment that may require additional capacity to meet unanticipated demand," he said.

The second offering, HP Cloud Assure for Cost Control, is a SaaS-based offering that will let developers and administrators determine how an application built for an enterprise will behave in the cloud, Muller said.

While the benefit of the cloud is its elasticity in its ability to stretch workloads beyond what an internal enterprise infrastructure might allow, the Cost Control tool will help customers determine the cost implications of using cloud infrastructure, according to Muller.

"We can not only predict the consumption of cloud resources but help you understand why the application uses the resources it is using and therefore better right-size your cost and performance," he said. The Cost Control service is the second such service offered by HP under its HP Cloud Assure offering; back in March, HP launched Cloud Assure, allowing customers and partners to determine security and performance implications of migrating applications to the cloud.

HP is also looking to help telecommunications providers offer packaged cloud services, such as interactive voice response applications, universal messaging, contact center tools and video surveillance, said Tim Marsden, chief technologist for HP's Communication and Media Solutions.

Communications-as-a-Service is intended to enable telecom and service providers to add these and ultimately other SaaS offerings by providing a mediation layer between the telco, the SasS provider and the customer, Marsden said in an interview.

"If a telco is looking to build Infrastructure-as-a-Service or build a private cloud using HP's technology, the aggregation platform for SaaS would actually mediate between the private cloud and the public cloud, and would enable the telco to sell that private cloud infrastructure externally," Marsden said.

Marsden would not name any telecom companies who are evaluating the service other than to say that HP is in discussion with numerous providers looking to target SMBs, where they see opportunity for public and private cloud services.

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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