HP Bets Big on OpenStack and Cloud Foundry

Mike Vizard
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Following through on previous commitments, HP today announced that it is investing a billion dollars to develop a broad range of products and services based on the OpenStack cloud management framework and the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) development environment.

Patrick Eitenbichler, worldwide director of product marketing at HP, says that going forward, every IT management product and application development framework that HP provides will be based on HP Helion, which collectively consists of an HP distribution of OpenStack and the PaaS environment that Pivotal, a unit of EMC, provided to the open source community.

To put some initial substance behind that effort, HP is releasing a free community edition of its OpenStack distribution that Eitenbichler says customers can use to get familiar with the cloud management framework. Down the road, though, HP does plan to charge to support its OpenStack distribution in production environments, says Eitenbichler.

Rather than deploy cloud computing environments using proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs) that lock customers into a particular cloud service, Eitenbichler says OpenStack and Cloud Foundry collectively provide an open framework that allows customers to mix and match cloud services as they please.

While both OpenStack and Cloud Foundry still have a way to go before they mature to the point where the average IT organizations can deploy them, it’s clear that just about every major enterprise IT vendor is supporting them. Of course, that level of support varies, with at the moment both VMware and Microsoft, for example, providing what might be best described as integration with OpenStack rather than full support for every component of the framework.

Meanwhile, the largest cloud service provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has thus far chosen to pretty much ignore OpenStack, while serving as one of the primary cloud hosting instances of Cloud Foundry. HP, meanwhile, has declined to support AWS APIs on its cloud service platform.

HP at the moment may not have the strongest position in the cloud, but it’s clearly willing to invest heavily to make up for lost ground. HP Helion OpenStack services will be made available globally via HP’s partner network of more than 110 service providers worldwide and in the more than 80 data centers in 27 countries that HP directly manages. HP plans to provide OpenStack-based public cloud services in 20 data centers worldwide over the next 18 months.

Couple that with an extensive network of channel partners that resell HP technologies and it may not be too long before HP becomes a force to be reckoned with in the cloud.

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