HP Gets Down to Cloud Business

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Lots of IT organizations have spent the last year studying how they will go about adopting cloud computing and now a large percentage of them are getting ready to act on what they've learned.

To help turn all that research into something that provides tangible IT benefits, Hewlett-Packard today rolled out two new systems based on Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machine software and HP-UX software respectively that are backed up by an aggressive new financing option and a richer set of HP consulting services.

According to Flynn Maloy, senior director for worldwide marketing for HP Technology Services, IT organizations are looking to move beyond the pilot stage when it comes to cloud computing. The challenge they face is coming up with the initial capital in these tough economic times to fund cloud computing deployments that will ultimately lower their total cost of IT. To help customers overcome that hurdle, HP is making available new payment plans that allow IT organizations to make small payments for cloud systems and services that will grow as they scale up technology deployments.

In the same vein, HP is expanding its portfolio of turnkey cloud computing platforms to include an HP Virtual System for Microsoft and an HP Virtual System Superdome 2/HP-UX. The first Intel Xeon processor class system, says Jeff Carlat, director of industry standard servers and software marketing for HP enterprise storage, servers and networking, is a response to Microsoft's growing momentum in the virtual machine space, while the second platform is designed for IT environments that need a high-end platform that can support mission-critical applications running on top of Intel Itanium processors.

Carlat says that HP Virtual System lineup consists of a series of turnkey systems that HP is positioning as a rival to the Vblock systems being marketed by The Virtual Computing Environment Company, which is a joint venture between Cisco, EMC, Intel and VMware that promotes turnkey systems based on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform.

These platforms, when coupled with HP Cloud Bursting technology that allows these systems to transparently invoke additional processing horsepower running on a variety of public cloud computing platforms, give HP a unique set of cloud computing capabilities that rivals can't match, said Maloy.

Ultimately, Maloy says HP sees IT organizations evolving into brokers of cloud computing services. The only question is going to be determining which platforms are best designed to make that transition happen as seamlessly and painlessly as possible.