HP makes a case for the private cloud

Hewlett Packard announces at HP Discover that its CloudSystem software for managing hybrid clouds has gotten a makeover

Hewlett Packard is making the case for private and hybrid clouds in Barcelona this week at its annual HP Discover user conference.

"We're seeing a significant amount of traction today in the hybrid world," said Kerry Bailey, an HP senior vice president for HP cloud services.

Last month, during its own annual user conference, rival Amazon Web Services mocked the idea of private and hybrid clouds, claiming that they offer none of the scalability and cost advantages that a public cloud does.

Enterprises customers don't see it that way, Bailey said in an interview.

"It is a hybrid world. There is not a situation where the enterprise will move all of their workloads to a big public cloud," Bailey said. "Yes, enterprises want cloud economics, but no one wants to be locked in."

Organizations are interested in using cloud services, but they have existing infrastructure in place, and the only feasible way of moving to the cloud is to use as many of the current tools in place to hook into cloud services, rather than adopting an entirely new public cloud architecture, Bailey argued.

A private cloud is a full cloud implementation that runs entirely within an organization's own infrastructure, using software such as OpenStack. A hybrid cloud extends a private cloud with additional capabilities from a public cloud. HP is encouraging its enterprise customers to consider the private and hybrid cloud models, namely by extending their own IT infrastructure software to work with public clouds, such as HP's own.

HP estimates that about five percent of enterprises are currently adopting cloud operations of some sort. The company has thus far attracted 1,900 enterprises for its cloud software and services. These customers are predominately setting up private clouds, Bailey said.

Business unit managers may contract a cloud service because it delivers IT capability more quickly than the internal IT department can, Bailey said. And by setting up a private or hybrid cloud, an organization can act as it own service provider, he added.

HP's emphasis on private or hybrid clouds seems to be a safe bet: According to 2012 survey from IT analysis firm Coleman Parks research, 75 percent of IT executives are planning on running some sort of hybrid cloud deployment. And in a November report, IT research firm Forrester praised HP for its long-term strategy and current product and services portfolio for running private clouds.

Just in time for HP Discover, the company announced it is updating its private cloud CloudSystem package with a new user interface and additional capabilities.

"CloudSystem will provide you with a single view of your on-premise private cloud services and your off-premise cloud services as well," said Steve Dietch, who is the vice president of worldwide cloud operations for the HP Enterprise Group.

This will be the first edition of CloudSystem that runs on the HP Cloud OS, an OS based on the open source OpenStack distribution. By using OpenStack, HP is making it easy for customers to move workloads between private clouds and public clouds that support OpenStack, such as those offered by Rackspace and HP itself.

The CloudSystem 8 software will include new graphical user interfaces (GUI) for the administrator, the cloud architect and the end user. Each individual has an entirely different set of needs, and the user interface is customized to those needs, Dietch said.

"With the administration tool, you can not only configure cloud systems, but you can use the same GUI to manage the infrastructure," Dietch said.

The number of public cloud providers CloudSystem is linked to has also expanded.

The current version offers the ability to move (or "burst" as Dietch called it) workloads to AWS, HP and Savvis public clouds. The new edition will also be able to burst to Microsoft Windows Azure, and well as to French cloud provider and telecommunications firm, SFR (SociA(c)tA(c) FranASSaise de RadiotA(c)lA(c)phone).

Another advantage that the new upgrade will bring is that it will reduce the amount of time needed to get a new CloudSystem running, Dietch said. A new deployment can take as little as a few hours whereas one from another provider could take as long as weeks to complete. Dietch declined to name which provider's offering would take that long.

CloudSystem comes in two editions, HP CloudSystem Foundation and HP CloudSystem enterprise. The updated CloudSystem 8 package will be available in March 2014.

In other news at the conference:

-- HP unveiled a consulting practice, called HP Hybrid Cloud Design Professional Services, which can help organizations design their hybrid clouds.

-- It has upgraded its Cloud Services Automation software so it is able to manage Cloud OS deployments.

-- It has augmented its virtual private cloud (VPC) portfolio with self-service capabilities.

-- HP updated its HP Flexible Capacity Services, a hosted infrastructure offering.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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