The hardware and service giant is making a big bet on the open-source software that it neither owns nor fully controls but can greatly influence.

May 7, 2014

2 Min Read
HP Commits $1 Billion to OpenStack Cloud Development

By TC Doyle

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HP is committing $1 billion and some its best talent to develop technologies and services that could make the Palo Alto, California, company a serious player in cloud computing.

This week, HP unveiled its plans for these services and technologies, which will be brought to market under a new HP brand, Helion. Within the Helion portfolio of products will be existing HP cloud offerings, plus new software innovations that leverage HP’s commitment to OpenStack, the open-source cloud platform currently under development by a number of parties.

In particular, HP is delivering the Helion OpenStack Community edition, which is a  commercial, OpenStack release that HP says is ready for proofs of concepts, pilot projects and modest production workloads. An enhanced version, it said, will be delivered in the coming months. In addition, HP also unveiled the HP Helion Development Platform, which is an application Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology that leverages the Cloud Foundry open source platform. HP plans to release a preview version of this platform later this year. 

HP’s commitment to OpenStack is considered a bit of a risk because it will undoubtedly rival what the company has in the way of proprietary technologies. Some have mused that HP is hoping to do with open-source software for the cloud what IBM did with Linux in the data center — namely leverage public code in a nimble and innovative way that preserves its position in the market, even at the expense of revenue growth.

HP may have no other choice, however. Its data-center business, after all, is under extreme pressure, and its cloud investments have not yet matched those of Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Cisco.

That said, HP is clearly taking a leadership position in OpenStack, which could one day revolutionize compute, storage and networking resources, especially when it comes to private and public clouds. Of the $1 billion commitment to cloud-related efforts that the company announced on May 7, the majority will be net-new investment, said Steven Dietch, vice president of Worldwide Cloud at HP.

Key to the success of the effort will be HP’s partner community, which HP expects to rally around this initiative, said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of Worldwide Product Marketing at HP. Among other things, HP will enable HP PartnerOne for Cloud partners to deliver and resell OpenStack-based cloud services.

“Helion offers a unique opportunity for partners to position themselves at the forefront of OpenStack and hybrid cloud development,” said Eitenbichler.

According to HP, Helion OpenStack–based cloud services will be made available globally via HP’s partner network of more than 110 service providers worldwide, and in the 80 data centers that it operates in 27 countries. HP plans to provide OpenStack-based public cloud services in 20 data centers worldwide over the next 18 months.

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