Blog Post

HP Confines the Cloud for Enterprises

Eventually the idea of cloud computing will become an accepted part of the information technology ecosystem — but it will be just one of many tools in the IT arsenal, according to HP (s hpq). To stake its claim on the idea of pooled commodity computing resources, HP is hosting a series of webinars for its customers that explain how it sees the cloud fitting into the corporate IT mix (see chart).

Aspects of the strategy are really compelling, notably the vision held by Russ Daniels, CTO of HP’s Cloud Service Strategy, of the cloud as a sort of unified, persistent repository for data that applications or people can access. But aside from some vague nods to the benefits of accessing information in the clouds (such as with web-based email) most of HP’s detailed talk of clouds in the first webinar was depressingly similar to the idea of service-oriented architecture. HP offered clouds as merely a means to deliver IT as a service inside the enterprise.

Rather than deliver an application that performs a specific function, and creates a set of data stored on a server, HP’s pushing the idea of using data already in the cloud as a way to offer IT as a service. So instead of getting the IT department to write an application for human resources, the IT department shows someone in HR the types of data he can access and builds a service around that.

This isn’t everyone’s vision of cloud computing, and HP is clearly offering solutions that will fly with its customer base of Fortune 500 companies. But I want to hear more about how HP is helping design software and workloads optimized for the cloud, and how it plans to limit who can access the data that’s stored in the cloud while managing how that data is used. Hopefully, those will be covered in Thursday and Friday’s sessions.


17 Responses to “HP Confines the Cloud for Enterprises”

  1. Actually, at HP we don’t advocate using the term “private cloud” at all. We think it muddies the water.

    Best way to look at this is through examples: Companies like FaceBook or eBay or name-your-cloud-service-provider have designed their multi-tenant services around a certain kind workload can that scale like crazy, built on a highly integrated (and often propriety) infrastructure stack that is designed push resiliency up into the software layer. This lets them use really inexpensive, commoditized components that can fail without bringing the whole service down. And, the multi-tenant software lets them avoid the costs associated with running multiple software instances (the ASP model).

    Contrast this with a typical enterprise, let’s say a multi-national manufacturing concern, who needs to execute a multitude of different workload types (think: supply chain, ERP, collaboration, etc) mostly inside their firewall, but of course accommodating supply chain partners, customer etc. It would be smart for this company to virtualize and automate their servers/storage/network as much as possible, consolidate app instances and the like. It would also be smart to provide their internal infrastructure as a service, so that they can efficiently provision configure-to-order infrastructure for their internal constitutions. They might also choose to use outsourced or hosting partners for this internally-consumed infrastructure.

    But by no means would they construct the same kind of single-purpose, massive scale out, global-class infrastructure as the big cloud service companies. It’s apples and oranges.

    The market wants to call both of these things “cloud” which causes the confusion.

    So, HP has settled on distinguishing global-class services (you might call it cloud-class services) from enterprise-class services. Both are necessary, both serve different purposes, both will live on.

  2. HP’s approach seems more realistic than the “three giant data centers” forecasts we occassionally hear from the cloud giants. Home Depot and Lowe’s have not put my local hardware store out of business. As a matter of fact, they are thriving since they’ve embraced their local, personalized role.

  3. Many enterprises have computing needs that allow them to achieve the level of scale where they can have significant cost savings over current operations by using cloud computing.

    I think you’ll find the first virtual machines and hypervisors were first provided by IBM and having more than 40 years of insight into virtualisation might be worth consideration.

  4. I am confused (and I think it is the desired effect) of these companies like HP and IBM promising internal enterprise clouds.

    Unless you use shared and off-premise (in HP terminology) clouds, You are not going to really rack up the cost saving or any of the advantages of true “cloud computing”

    Dedicated and on premise clouds is known by another name: “Virtualization” . Dont go to HP or IBM for that solution, go directly to the source which is VMware, Microsoft or Xen. They will happily sell you virtualisation software and tools to manage them …

    On premise shared clouds are hard to implement. Who are you going to share the data centre with and why is this any more “secure” than hosting your application on Amazon in the first place ??

    The only market with promise which has not fully been attacked is the off premise dedicated clouds. This is essentially the same as creating a cloud with a firewall in it blanketing everybody else from those machines … For cloud vendors like Amazon, Azure – Implementing that technology will be key to getting Enterprises on your platform anyway …

  5. HP’s ‘incremental’ SOA like messaging is based on lack of ‘cloud’ technologies in its stable. i think it needs to get far smarter about how the enterprise consumes the cloud. clouds inside the enterprise are going to need a way to deal with virtualization at the server layer and for various other resource layers including storage, networking (at least layer-2). HP’s management 1.0 view of a conventional system managing these dynamic data-center components is not scalable unless it is in-line + wirespeed and smart about slicing up application-defined set of resources on demand. somewhere in there they need to do virtualization aware load balancing that does better than dumb round-robin allocation of resources. there are several pieces they can buy (Allan had some good suggestions earlier) and some more that can be home grown but the current set of offerings don’t give me much hope just yet that they are moving in that direction.