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HP takes on Amazon in the Cloud Comping Platform - for Businesses....
two months, Hewlett-Packard will offer a large and powerful cloud computing service similar to Amazon Web Services, but with
more business-oriented features, according the head of the project.
“We’re not just building a cloud for infrastructure,” said Zorawar
“Biri” Singh, senior vice president and general manager of H.P.’s cloud services. “Amazon has the
lead there. We have to build a platform layer, with a lot of third-party services.” Among the first software applications
available as part of the Hewlett-Packard cloud, he said, will be both structured and unstructured databases, and data analytics
as a service.
won’t pull (Amazon’s) customers out by the horns,” he said, “but we already have customers in beta
who see us as a great alternative.” He did not say how much the computing services would cost, but said “we are
not coming at this at ‘8 cents a virtual computing hour, going to 5 cents.’” Amazon recently cut its prices,
and its lowest cost computing is 2 cents per hour, though with extra features it can cost more. While Amazon tends largely
to have a self-service model, Hewlett-Packard’s cloud will also offer more personalized sales and service, Mr. Singh
H.P. also plans to
offer a number of tools for developers to use popular online software languages, like Ruby, Java, and PHP, as well as ways
for customers to provision and manage their workloads remotely. The service will also include an online store where people
can offer or rent software for use in the Hewlett-Packard public cloud. Mr. Singh said the company would take precautions
to ensure the quality and security of these software offerings from third parties by providing services like user authentication
alternative to A.W.S. has been underway for over a year, and is likely to be the most ambitious project yet under Meg Whitman,
who became chief executive of the Palo Alto, Calif., technology company last September. While seemingly focused on Amazon,
the company is also looking at the project as a new way to compete with its traditional rivals.
“We want to make it hard for an I.B.M. or an Oracle
or anyone to come in,” he said. By offering a lot of tools for developers and business-ready software to corporations,
H.P. could find ways to undercut existing enterprise offerings, while surviving against Amazon, a notoriously low-margin competitor.
Though the data centers presently supporting
H.P.’s cloud are located only on the East and West Coasts of the United States, H.P. plans to scale the program by installing
small data centers across the globe. This small and dispersed approach is a break from the goliath data centers run by cloud
companies like Amazon and Google. The project will run almost entirely on Hewlett-Packard technology.
As ambitious as the program sounds, Mr. Singh said the revenue
from the public cloud business will have little initial impact on H.P.’s annual revenue, which are in excess of $100
billion. His project will be judged, he said, as much on how well it helps other parts of Hewlett-Packard’s business
as it is on its own revenue. “We do everything from laptops to cloud computing,” he said. “This will leverage
our whole sales channel.”
The analytics Hewlett-Packard will offer will be derived from its earlier purchases of Vertica and Autonomy. H.P.
has previously talked about offering these pattern-finding capabilities in its computer servers. In addition, it hopes to
use the public cloud, which like other clouds will interoperate with the computing resources inside companies, as a way to
showcase its latest servers, which Mr. Singh said outperformed cheaper commercial offerings in areas like power usage and
computing capabilities when H.P. was designing the system.
for its entry into the market for IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), Hewlett-Packard on Thursday launched a second beta program
of cloud computing services it plans to offer commercially.
The company's HP Cloud Compute, HP Cloud Object Storage and
HP Cloud Content Delivery Network services can now all be accessed by the public. All the services will be offered on an hourly pay-as-you-go model.
This beta program expands upon a smaller, free beta portfolio of cloud services offered by the company last September.
The company will be marketing these services for organizations that want to run
large-scale Web services from the cloud. HP Cloud Compute offers virtual servers. HP Cloud Object Storage offers object-based
storage, and the HP Cloud Content Delivery Network provides a globally distributed caching layer to speed the delivery of
For these services, HP has assembled an
impressive roster of over 40 partners to offer
individual technology components and complementary offerings. For instance, EnterpriseDB provides a version of the PostGres
open source database. CloudBees provides a platform for running Java applications. Engine Yard provides a similar platform
for Ruby on Rails and PHP. Spirent provides development tools and RightScale, ScaleXtreme and Smartscale Systems provide management
The company also offers services for block-based storage and for hosting data on MySQL deployments, though those
remain closed as private betas.
The company did not reveal when all these services would be available commercially.
Hewlett-Packard says cloud computing's
Big Bang, which started with the launch of Google Apps and Amazon EC2, is coming to an end and the
cloud ecosystem of the future is taking shape.
Instead of turning into an expanding universe of hundreds of diffuse clouds, the cloud market will eventually settle
down and we'll have 10 to 20 global cloud providers whose offerings can be counted on to be interoperable and meet certain quality-of-service benchmarks.
HP expects to be one of those major cloud providers. Below that level will be industry-focused
and geographically-distributed clouds.
Business users of the next-generation global services will want hybrid cloud models that operate in complete concert
with their back-end systems, said Biri Singh, senior vice president and general manager for HP Cloud Services.
The users of these services will want access via the cloud to systems as complex
as business analytics and as simple as an app development widget, he said.
The incentives to contribute to a cloud marketplace that HP plans to build will
be a little different than Apple's app store model, Singh said. When a developer puts a widget in the cloud that can, say,
help build a better Ruby application, he or she could get paid for each API call, said Singh.
"We think just standing up virtual machines is so 2009,"
said Singh. Developers will want tools and services from the cloud. "They need a marketplace," he said.
Users will also want an open environment,
has signed on only to the open-source OpenStack cloud standards effort, Sing nonetheless believes that federation across other
clouds is important.
investing our time not in trying to nail the one technology stack that will own it all, but in planning for a heterogeneous
environment," said Singh.
The marketplace will arrive later, perhaps this year.
Tuesday of a public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service
offering that's due next month is just part of a broader set of cloud offerings.
The marketplace will be a place where everyone in the ecosystem "can actually
run and build their services," said Singh.
James Staten, an analyst at Forrester Research, sees service providers as the major users of HP's services, in part
because of changes to the outsourcing market.
Companies moved away from three-to-five-year IT outsourcing contracts where they turn everything over to an outsourcer.
Users have grown more
particular and are more likely to keep some applications in-house or acquire them as services through a software-as-a-service
provider, said Staten.
see selective sourcing," he said.
The HP cloud will be different from Amazon's offering, say analysts. Amazon relies on an ecosystem of third-party
support to offer everything from infrastructure support to services.
Where Amazon only takes responsibility for providing basic cloud services, HP will
have the ability to maintain an operating system or monitor a network for users, said Staten.
Part of HP's cloud outlook is based on a view that IT will
shift to an operating expense model as users turn more to services and away from capital expenses.
Sing sees the shift unfolding over the next decade.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT,
said a shift to operating expense models has been long debated, and that approach could be -- and has been -- effective in
good times. But as soon as the economy hits a rough spot, users tend to pull back on the operating expense goals............
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