Last week, HP announced its cloud point of view, called converged cloud. I had the opportunity to discuss the vision in some more details in a previous blog entry, but it’s always interesting to see what others think about what we came up with. So, let me do that in this blog.
Let me start with Dana Gardner. Having had the opportunity to discuss with him at a number of occasions, and knowing the astuteness of his questions, I really value his comments. He points to 10 ways HP is different and better when it comes to cloud computing. The first series of points discuss openness and giving customers’ choice. Those resonate highly with me and remind me of HP’s past history. As a number of you may know, I have been at HP for a long time and have lived through many changes in the company. But I still remember, as if it was yesterday, 1992, when HP officially took the decision to move to Unix. We felt the need to support standards and provide our customers with more than just what we could deliver. Although there was a lot of debate both internally and externally about that move, it became the start of an incredible growth for the company.
I believe we are again at a point where our customers expect us to give them the freedom to choose the best, and that is what we are trying to do by providing them an open environment. Interesting that Dana picked that one up straight away. He then goes on talking about the lack of sacred cows and the focus on security. As Dana concludes, one size does not fit all.
Now, when doing these announcements, you’re always a little nervous on how the industry analysts will react. Saugatuck puts it very simply “HP Cloud Update: Solid Strategy and a Top-down Mandate”. In a nutshell, a complete and consolidated HP cloud strategy was needed, has been developed and is being implemented. It’s the best news that HP employees, customers and partners could have received about cloud.
What really makes HP different consists in covering public, private and hybrid services. There are really two aspects to this that make a difference:
- Take advantage of the public cloud to perform stress testing for example, without having to maintain two full sets of configurations, one for testing and one for actual operations in a private cloud
- Facilitate bursting and repositioning of applications and services during their operational life. Indeed, new applications may require to sit in a private cloud, but over time, the functionality they represent may no longer be that unique and the application can be migrated to a public cloud.
Having the capability to move applications and services around is unique. Many people talk about hybrid clouds but frankly, little is said on how that works and what value it adds. HP’s Converged Cloud builds a clear roadmap to implement this capability and make it available.
Interestingly, Al Hilwa, Program Director Applications Development for IDC is quoted in a CRN article saying: ”HP is in a great position to be a player in cloud services. HP supports private clouds of its clients and can host their systems on an outsourcing basis. Providing a public cloud service complements these competencies and has the potential to make them a one-stop-shop for enterprises.”
Beyond the outsourcing element, managed cloud has a second aspect, often referred to as virtual private cloud. I’m actually astonished that not more people have picked on that one. Talking to CIO’s I keep hearing the wish to use cloud services on a pay-per-use basis, but at the same time, I’m hearing doubts about security, compliance etc. So, many have asked me to provide them a public cloud, but with the transparency levels needed to ensure they understood exactly what was happening.
Public clouds are probably as secure as any other cloud, or, according to some of them, more. And that might actually be true, but there is no way to know, because of the secrecy of security procedures, partners involved in the delivery of a service etc.
That’s why HP has been working on Enterprise Cloud Services, a service that can pretty much work like a public cloud, but with a number of specific differences:
- Before you start, you agree on a real contract with clearly defined SLA’s, not on scrolling down T&C’s embedded in a webpage
- You get to decide in which datacenter(s) your data is located
- You get a proper bill at the end of the month, no need to swipe your credit card
- You can review security and management procedures, you can actually fulfill a complete audit prior you subscribe
- You have real customer support, not twitter based
- You get to know what happens to your data when you delete it
- You can decide whether you want virtual or physical servers
- You can choose between a single-tenant or multi-tenant environment
Today, HP offers not only IaaS in a managed cloud approach, but also unified communication, continuity (disaster recovery) and a number of application services around e-mail, SharePoint, CRM, SAP development environments, communications as a service etc.
Managed clouds are very important as they are a stepping stone between private and public clouds. Indeed, they demonstrate the benefits of the public cloud, but with the transparence, trust and security of the private cloud. In doing so, they allow business and IT to gain full advantage of the flexibility of cloud without putting the enterprise at risk. HP’s converged cloud covers all three models, facilitating this transition.
HP’s Converged Cloud seems to have been well received. The first customers I talked to were interested in the approach taken and asked many questions on how it would be implemented. To show you how I framed it, let me share with you a short video of a conversation I had with Paul Muller (@Xthestream) on the subject. And believe me the conversation crossed the world half over.