HP fine-tunes its multi-cloud pitch

It must be really interesting to work at Hewlett-Packard these days. Not only is the company breaking itself in half, it’s making multi-billion-dollar acquisitions and it’s balancing an array of cloud offerings. Oh, and it just shook up cloud management, with Marten Mickos turning key responsibilities over to three other execs, including Bill Hilf,  SVP of HP Helion product management.

As of now, [company]HP[/company] is fielding two private cloud frameworks. Eucalyptus (or, as reported last week, Helion Eucalyptus) is for people who want compatibility with Amazon Web Services APIs. Helion OpenStack is apparently for everyone else.

These two offerings got point upgrades this week. Helion OpenStack 1.1, for example, features better high-availability features, and better support for running Windows workloads (with Microsoft backstopping HP’s own support.) Helion Eucalyptus 4.1 gets an “AWS CloudFormation compatible service” to make it easier for customers to move orchestration templates from AWS to HP Helion clouds without rewriting or a ton of tweaking. And Helion Development Environment (aka HP’s version of the Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service) gets better logging, more dashboards to track usage quotas and system patches.

Bill Hilf, SVP of Helion Cloud product management for HP.
Bill Hilf, SVP of Helion Cloud product management for HP.

No AWS APIs for OpenStack

HP will not add AWS API compatibility to Helion Openstack, Hilf said in an interview Tuesday. Instead, he said, the company will offer Cloud Service Automation atop the various clouds — Helion Eucalyptus, Helion OpenStack, [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services, [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure, [company]VMware[/company] — that will give users the proverbial “one pane of glass” to manage them all.

As is usually the case, the rationale cited was customer feedback. “We sat in focus groups and customers said they didn’t want [AWS] S3 APIs embedded in OpenStack. They wanted an OpenStack cloud and an AWS-compatible cloud and a VMware-based cloud and to be able to move stuff between them,” Hilf said.

“So instead of burning huge time and resources in community debates, we decided, why not just let them build those different clouds and manage them all across the top?”

A public cloud, but not an AWS rival

[company]HP[/company] continues to offer public cloud, but the positioning of that has definitely changed. Its product was once positioned (a year or so ago) as an enterprise-worthy public cloud to compete directly with Amazon Web Services, but that’s no longer the sales pitch.

“We are not building a general-purpose cloud at that scale for any type of workload,” Hilf said. “We are focused on building private, managed clouds that can interoperate. We do have public cloud but we’re not aiming to compete with the big three. We want to interoperate with them.”