Just weeks after throwing in the towel on its own public cloud project, HP Enterprise is going to resell a service it was prepared to compete with: Microsoft Azure.
CEO Meg Whitman told analysts on the company's quarterly earnings call last week that HP had reached an agreement with Microsoft to sell Microsoft Azure as its "preferred cloud provider." In return, HP will become a preferred cloud services provider when Microsoft customers are looking for consulting or other help.
"Microsoft shares our view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises and we both see opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure for our customers," she told analysts.
HP announced in late October it would shutter Helion Public Cloud, its public cloud service, at the end of January 2016. Its OpenStack-based Helion CloudSystem private cloud and managed and virtual private cloud offerings will live on, though.
HP first announced plans for a public cloud service in 2011 but didn't launch Helion until last May. By that point it had largely lost its chance to compete with pure cloud competitors like Azure, Amazon AWS, IBM Softlayer, and Google. It reflects just how hard it is to compete in the pure cloud marketplace and the massive investment that is needed.
But the real action is with the hybrid cloud anyway, a mix of public and private cloud services for enterprises, and that's what HP Enterprise wants. They want to offer internal, private cloud services for the firms that may need them – healthcare and finance come to mind, since they are heavily regulated and highly unlikely to put data in the public cloud – and use public services when they can.
So for now, HP Enterprise can focus on selling services, like its recent jump into the container market.