March 12, 2012
Hewlett-Packard has announced two initiatives in the European cloud marketplace, and there are signs that HP is finally making good on its promise to eventually counter Amazon Web Services (AWS) — while striving to elbow aside Oracle and IBM along the way. The big wild-card: Where do channel partners fit into HP’s public cloud equation?
About a year ago, former HP CEO Leo Apotheker vowed that his company would counter Amazon in the cloud. At the time Apotheker was short on details and offered no insights about when or how HP would actually counter HP. By September 2011, Apotheker was ousted and HP’s plan to counter Amazon fell off the media’s radar.
HP Still Going Into the Cloud
Fast forward to the present, and HP Senior VP Zorawar “Biri” Singh told The New York Times that HP is building a business-oriented cloud that will offer services for structured and unstructured data, plus analytics.
Instead of getting into a cloud price war with Amazon, HP told The Times that the IT giant will focus on value-added services and multiple languages — like Ruby, Java and PHP. To some of us here at Talkin’ Cloud, it sounds a little like Microsoft’s cross-platform strategy for Windows Azure.
Singh said the effort will leverage HP’s entire sales channel — though partner program details are still forthcoming. And it’s unclear how HP will ultimately try to build a niche that stands out against cloud initiatives at IBM, Oracle and Amazon.
Meanwhile, HP is showing some cloud momentum in Europe. With Swisscom AG, a major telecoms company in Switzerland, HP has launched a unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) program using HP’s private cloud infrastructure. Also, in the Netherlands HP announced IT providers Centric and Eshgro as the first certified HP Cloud partners for customers in Holland.
In addition to its nearly 6 million customers and 1.6 million broadband connections, Swisscom also offers managed UC&C services to corporate clients. Swisscom employs the HP Converged Infrastructure based on HP’s CloudSystem to provide managed unified communications for a fixed price each month.
With HP, Centric and Eshgro in the Netherlands are delivering secure, unified cloud solutions based on HP CloudSystem to help businesses benefit from cloud services. Through the HP CloudAgile Program, Centric and Eshgro have changed their business models to help clients achieve their migration to the cloud.
As we know, companies are increasingly turning to cloud providers rather than building their own data centers. Thus firms like Centric and Eshgro are enabled to provide cloud services that fulfill clients’ compliance and business needs in their national and regional markets. Through the CloudAgile program, Centric and Eshgro have access to HP’s local sales force, program incentives including support and financing, and expanded service offerings.
For channel partners, the HP CloudAgile Program includes certified partners delivering cloud services, and also service providers, service hosts, systems integrators and value-added resellers. For more information, visit the HP CloudAgile Service Provider page.
And stay tuned. An HP public cloud — or corporate cloud — is in the works.
Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri.
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