HP’s New Cloud Products Offer a Flashback to 2009

Hewlett-Packard (s HPQ) unveiled four new cloud products in what I view as somewhat of a comeback tour for the hardware giant after staying on the sidelines for much of 2010. However, the four new products, which range from an Infrastructure-as a-Service (IaaS) play to some cloud-optimized hardware, are pretty reminiscent of what competitors were launching two years ago.

At the least, this launch helps clear things up after a few years of uncertainty about HP’s cloud strategy, and while nothing here is terribly new, staid HP hardware customers probably don’t really want the latest and greatest whiz-bang cloud experience anyhow. Most of them want to avoid messing up their millions or billions of lines of code and profitable businesses that rely on IT. Perhaps HP is the tortoise to Cisco (s csc0))or IBM’s (s ibm) hare and may yet win the enterprise cloud race.

So what does HP have to offer? Let’s take a look:

HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute. This is the IaaS play from HP designed to compete with services from Savvis (s svvs), Terremark (s tmrk) and those from AT&T (s T) or Verizon (s vz). Sure it’s IaaS, but with HP offering service level agreements and 99.9 availability, this will appeal to those who have compliance officers to answer to.

HP CloudSystem. This is HP’s answer to folks that want to build their own cloud in-house, but don’t really want to figure out how to build their own cloud. The CloudSystem product will compete against Cisco’s V-Blocks and Acadia efforts as well as IBM’s CloudBurst gear and services. It contains the 3Par storage products and HP’s BladeSystem Matrix products. This also may compete with Dell’s Joyent tie up (s dell).

HP Cloud Service Automation. HP calls this a “management engine,” but it’s software that allows a user to provision and monitor their cloud, be it in-house and built on HP hardware, in HP’s IaaS or in another cloud entirely. This was announced last year and adds a sort of PaaS veneer for those that might need it.

HP Cloud Discovery Workshop. What cloud offering would be complete without a little helping hand? However, knowing that enterprises love it when vendors provide help in the form of consulting, HP has created these workshops so, “clients can make informed decisions that build the right path for their journey to the cloud.”

This isn’t earth-shattering stuff, but HP, while it may not have articulated a clear strategy, isn’t a stranger inside clouds. Some of the top cloud providers, such as Verizon, use HP hardware, so HP wins if someone buys IaaS from it, or from someone using its hardware. If it can sell some software or services on top of that, it’s a win.

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