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Look Out Amazon: HP Unleashes First Commercial Helion OpenStack, Enterprise Cloud Storage

HP partners said the company's first fully supported commmercial release of HelionOpenStack, combined with Cloud Foundry and a new cloud storage offering, gives them the firepower they need to take on Amazon Web Services.

Hewlett-Packard is kicking its Helion hybrid cloud offensive into high gear with the launch of its first fully supported commercial release of HP Helion OpenStack with Cloud Foundry, along with an enterprise grade OpenStack-based private cloud storage offering.

Solution providers said the new HP offerings open the door for them to start to compete aggressively in the sales trenches against Amazon Web Services with a hybrid cloud offering that many enterprise customers are anxious to embrace.

"This creates a formidable opportunity for HP to legitimately compete against Amazon," said Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based HP Platinum partner Entisys Solutions, which ranked No. 253 on the 2014 Solution Provider 500. "We have been able to tell our customers a good HP Helion cloud story. Now we are are going to be able to show them how to put together a hybrid cloud solution that can be customized to their requirements. It is truly an enterprise play."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HP CEO Whitman On Dell, Autonomy, And Future HP Acquisitions]

Strohl estimated as many as 80 percent of customers are looking for hybrid cloud solutions rather than a pure public cloud offering like AWS.

The new offering does not yet include tight integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) through Eucalyptus, which HP acquired six weeks ago.

HP, in fact, has not yet set a timetable for that integration with Eucalyptus, a popular provider of software for building private clouds that support AWS application programming interfaces (APIs).

Up until now, Strohl said most enterprise customers have seen AWS grow its footprint inside large companies because lines of business want a fast way to deploy cloud-based applications.

"A lot of customers have private clouds running in their enterprise and then they use Amazon for their public cloud and there isn't a lot of automation and integration between them," Strohl said. "That has been a sore spot for a lot of customers. A lot of customers have gotten some economic advantages associated with utilizing AWS in a public cloud, but they have not had the opportunity to create line of business, strategic advantages associated with the ability to seamlessly move workloads across platforms."

That changes with HP driving a hybrid cloud offering made up of HP Helion OpenStack with EMC Pivotal Software's Cloud Foundry open source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and HP's new Helion Content Depot, a private cloud scale out, enterprise-grade storage offering based on the Swift OpenStack Object Storage offerings, Strohl said.

"This puts us in a position where we will be able to deepen the conversation as a return on value and return on investment to the customer," he said.

Entisys is capitalizing on the demand for next-generation hybrid cloud solutions in Fortune 500 companies with a division called Skycanvas. The division, which is experiencing triple-digit sales growth, is a high-level business, technical and leadership consulting organization focused on helping enterprise customers drive business value as well as greater returns on technology investment with cloud-based solutions.

NEXT: Marten Mickos Is Driving An Open Source Cloud Revolution At HP


"Skycanvas is working at the highest levels of some of the biggest companies and we are just warming up on this," Strohl said.

The all out HP Helion OpenStack offensive comes with new HP Senior Vice President and General Manager of the HP Cloud Business Marten Mickos accelerating the pace of innovation with Helion.

HP insiders said Mickos, a rock star in the open source community from his time as MySQL CEO, has HP moving much faster with regard to releasing new HP Helion cloud services like HP Content Depot. They said to expect a much more rapid release of such offerings over the next year.

Mickos is having a huge cultural impact at HP, said said Bobby Patrick, chief marketing officer (CMO) of the HP Cloud business unit.

"What he bring is a pure understanding of the open source movement," Patrick said. "He is used to a very nimble customer open source business model. The whole company is grabbing on to that. He presented to the company on the cultural requirements of a company for the New Style of IT. People are really thirsty for that."

That kind of "New Style" vision is in line with HP's Helion OpenStack offering as a next wave platform that will allow CIOs and IT departments to provide the "ease of use and ease of access" developers love in a public cloud with the "control and security you can't get on AWS as a CIO," Patrick said.

"What this means is now companies have an option to have a public cloud-like experience in a single platform they can maintain and control in their own data center or a partner's data center," Patrick said.

Both OpenStack and Cloud Foundry are growing fast and driving an unprecedented amount of cloud innovation, Patrick said.

"Our goal is to make it easier for a CIO or CTO to build a cloud infrastructure out that gives them the flexibility of different models, but the security, control and agility on an open standards platform so they can reduce vendor lock in a way that nobody else can," he said.

As for the AWS integration, Patrick said HP is currently building the "road map to integrate the innovation ecosystems" of HP Helion OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and Eucalyptus so they all "work together."

"The code behind this (HP Helion OpenStack) launch was developed" before the Eucalyptus acquisition," he said.

"We haven't given a date yet for the road map, but I promise you it is a big part of our everyday conversation," he said. "The message to partners and customers is: it is coming. We are working on bringing it all together right now."

A big differentiator for HP versus AWS is the Helion Network, a global open network aimed at helping partners build, deploy and market next-generation cloud services with an emphasis on helping partners monetize their offerings, Patrick said.

"The Helion Network is really a flanking strategy around AWS," he said.

HP Helion OpenStack is priced at $2,200 per server with 24/7 support. The HP Helion Development Platform is priced at $890 per server with 24/7 support. HP Helion Content Depot is priced at 13 cents per gigabyte for a one petabyte deployment for a three-year commitment without installation, deployment or support services.

PUBLISHED OCT. 23, 2014

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