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

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"This is great for customers," said Jed Ayres, chief marketing officer at MCPc, the $262 million Cleveland-based national solution provider, ranked No. 89 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list of the top North American solution providers by revenue. "They are confused. This puts an architecture, framework and consulting around the cloud. It's also a big deal for partners because we can go into our customers now and start talking about OpenStack and the economics of OpenStack through a consulting framework that HP has already validated."

The "game-changer" for partners, said Ayres, is a proven HP consulting methodology that can be used to build out a comprehensive set of OpenStack cloud services offerings using MCPc technical talent or HP services professionals.

"Often vendors are guarded with their consulting methodology and refuse to share it with partners," Ayres said. "HP is saying, ‘Use our OpenStack intellectual property. We are going to let you have it. Come learn how to do this with a team of smart people we have here at HP.' "

Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based Entisys Solutions, one of the top virtualization solution providers in the country, said he sees Helion as an all-inclusive hybrid cloud offering that runs the gamut from public to private and managed clouds along with traditional IT infrastructure that will spark more customers to make the move to the cloud. 

"This positions HP as a leader in the cloud from a security and performance standpoint, tightly integrating private and public cloud so customers can extend their enterprise systems into the cloud," he said. "It's not the end of the story. It's the beginning of the story. Cloud is part of every discussion we are having with customers right now. They are struggling to keep IT operations running and reshape them with cloud at the same time to bring value to their business. They are looking for strategy and programs to help them move to the cloud."

Strohl said he was particularly charged up by HP's OpenStack indemnification—even if it doesn't cover security breaches. "That to me is the biggest deal," he said. "It takes away a lot of the unknowns around the cloud. It removes risk for customers. That, more than anything else, should get customers to move faster to the cloud. It would be wonderful if they could take it all the way, but I understand there are a lot of people and processes to consider with security [indemnification]."

Strohl predicted Entisys' HP cloud product and services sales will be up as much as 30 percent in 2014 and 100 percent in 2015 as HP ramps up its investment in OpenStack engineering and resources. "There is a lot of work that needs to be done," he said. "The $1 billion HP is spending on R&D, innovation and integration is going to lead to a lot of proof-of-concepts and customer testing and a lot more buying next year."

NEXT: 'A Watershed Moment For Solution Providers'

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