HP Takes Aim At Red Hat-Cisco With $1B OpenStack Helion Cloud Offensive

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Hewlett-Packard is stepping up its cloud offensive against the Cisco-Red Hat partnership with its Helion line of OpenStack offerings, including its own OpenStack distribution and Cloud Foundry-based Platform-as-a-Service, backed up by a $1 billion investment over the next two years.

The new open-source-based cloud products and services are aimed at providing customers faced with a politically charged technology landscape of competing cloud stacks a safe haven as they architect cloud strategies across hybrid IT environments.

Helion also took a direct shot at OpenStack vendor Red Hat and HP rival Cisco, which teamed with Red Hat earlier this year to develop a new go-to-market strategy called "Journey to the Open Cloud." Cisco and Red Hat have boasted they are driving an entire cloud stack with playbooks and reference architectures.

[Related: HP CTO Martin Fink: 12 Reasons Cisco's Intercloud Is A Bad Bet]

HP, which also launched an OpenStack professional services practice, is even offering an insurance policy of sorts—an OpenStack no-cap indemnification program that protects customers from intellectual property infringement claims. That protection could be critical given the technology patent infringement lawsuits that have plagued the open-source Linux operating system since 2003.

"This is about extending our leadership in hybrid IT delivery and cloud," said Steve Dietch, vice president of cloud go to market at HP, Palo Alto, Calif. "We believe the new style of IT demands openness and security and the industry working together, similar to the way Linux adoption spread in the enterprise. It is our intention to do exactly the same thing with OpenStack in the cloud. It's extending the same strategy we have had for the last three years, embracing an open, flexible and agile IT environment."

HP said it plans to provide the OpenStack public cloud services in 20 data centers worldwide over the next 18 months. What's more, HP said the OpenStack cloud services will be available through its partner network of 110 service providers and through HP partners.

An HP Helion OpenStack Community edition will be available immediately with a commercial release soon to follow. HP also plans to release a preview version later this year of its application Platform-as-a-Service offering based on the Cloud Foundry open-source platform. 

HP partners, for their part, said they see Helion-branded offerings increasing cloud customer adoption and even accelerating their own cloud business model transformation.

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