Hewlett-Packard Tuesday kicked off the first day of its Discover conference by launching the Helion Network, a global open network aimed at fostering a new generation of open-standards-based hybrid cloud services.
Based on HP's OpenStack Helion Cloud platform, HP said the new member-governed organization will provide a secure open-standards network with data sovereignty, workload interoperability and high quality of service around the globe with workload portability in on-premise and off-premise cloud environments.
As part of the Helion Network offensive, HP also is significantly increasing its contributions to Neutron, an OpenStack project to provide networking as a service. The company plans to launch a pilot program for the Helion Network in the fourth quarter simultaneously with general availability for its HP Helion OpenStack distribution and Helion Development Platform.
Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys Solutions, a Concord, Calif.-based HP Platinum partner, said he sees the Helion Network driving opportunity for partners as a result of HP's big investments to drive workload portability in federated clouds around the world.
"Now that I can expand my conversation with customers globally, my opportunities for sales and profits expands exponentially," he said. "The combination of things that are happening with Helion are going to open up all kinds of opportunities from a sales, consulting and services perspective. The ability to create annuity-based services for my customers increases with this because Helion is a hybrid, on-premise and off-premise conversation that allows us to be more strategic with our customers."
Strohl predicts that Helion products and services could conservatively account for 20 percent of his sales and services over the next several years.
"This is going to be a core part of our strategy," he said. "HP has a really good story to tell that puts us in the position of being a thought leader for our customers. This is going to allow us to become a strategic partner for customers, defining collectively from an architectural standpoint how they build out their journey to the cloud."
Al Chien, executive vice president of Dasher Technologies, a Campbell, Calif.-based HP Platinum partner that has been selling HP public cloud services for the past two years, said he sees the open-standards-based workload portability for Helion as a big differentiator.
"For us, one of the biggest selling features is the ability to move pretty transparently from public to private or vice versa because of OpenStack," he said. "That allows customers that have a private cloud to easily burst into the HP OpenStack cloud."
Many customers don't realize what kind of lock-in they face if they choose a proprietary cloud provider, said Chien. "It's like a set of handcuffs," he said. "It can be pretty painful. You've got to hire a lot of smart engineers to get out. It is very expensive."
HP Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink told CRN that HP's commitment to open standards is more than just lip service. He pointed to HP's standing as the No. 1 contributor to OpenStack, according to the latest measurements from Stackalytics, which measures OpenStack contributions.
"I want to be clear this is more than just putting a network pipe between two service providers and saying it is all good," said Fink. "This is really about having that common technology platform at the cloud layer with the Helion OpenStack [distribution] allowing all of the service providers and channel partners to be able to leverage our investments so that we can build a network of customers that can interoperate together."
Fink envisions an organization built on the same principles as the open-source movement. "This will be a unique commercial operating model with a permanent steering committee of network members to manage the alliance in order to drive future commercial and operating model improvements," he said.
NEXT: The Global Reach Of The Helion Network