HP Cloud Exec: We Are Not Exiting Public Cloud Market

Bill Hilf

Bill Hilf, Hewlett Packard senior vice president of the HP Helion cloud business, on Monday reaffirmed the company's commitment to remain a public cloud provider.

"In the past week, a quote of mine in the media was interpreted as HP is exiting the public cloud, which is not the case," said Hilf in the blog post. "Our portfolio strategy to deliver on the vision of Hybrid IT continues strong."

Hilf said HP's hybrid cloud strategy remains unchanged. "Today, this strategy and vision continues full-force," he said.

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The HP public cloud affirmation comes just eight weeks after Marten Mickos, a widely respected open source cloud proponent, handed over day-to-day responsibilities for the HP public cloud business, to Hilf and two other HP executives.

"Today, we are building a portfolio of offerings in support of hybrid delivery for enterprise internal service providers, including the ability to partner with public cloud providers -- spanning pure public clouds, telecom providers and local managed services companies," said Hilf in the blog post. "We are not doing pure public cloud only. We are not changing our strategy."

Hilf's blog post comes after he was quoted in The New York Times on April 8 saying HP was prepared to cede the public cloud market to infrastructure giants like Amazon Web Services.

’We thought people would rent or buy computing from us,’ said Hilf in The New York Times interview. ’It turns out that it makes no sense for us to go head-to-head (against the major public cloud companies).’

Hilf's comments in The New York Times had some questioning whether HP's cloud strategy could change as it splits into two companies with the formal launch of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, its new $57.6 billion enterprise services, systems, software and infrastructure business, set for Nov. 1.

Hilf, a former Microsoft Windows Azure product management executive, said in his blog post that customers interested in public cloud are looking for a variety of options including Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba.

"Public clouds can play an important role for an Internal Service Provider in an enterprise," wrote Hilf. "Of course, developers and IT operations increasingly want a variety of services and options, often driven by cost and resource availability. In addition to our own public cloud, enterprises often use a combination of providers, such as: AWS, Google, Azure and Alibaba. We believe the ability to support and integrate different public cloud environments and services is an essential part of hybrid delivery for the enterprise."

Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based HP Platinum partner Entisys Solutions, which ranked No. 253 on the 2014 Solution Provider 500, said he was pleased that the confusion around HP's robust hybrid cloud strategy has been cleared up.

"This gives HP an opportunity to reaffirm their total commitment and focus in this space, and that is good for us because it allows us to reaffirm with our customers that the solution track we are taking them on is the right one," said Strohl. "I feel very comfortable with the HP strategy."

Strohl, who said he expects his HP cloud consulting business to double over the next several years, said he sees HP's hybrid cloud strategy with a robust commitment to OpenStack and open standards commitment as a big differentiator versus competitors.

"HP's OpenStack approach is creating open standards for everybody in the industry," he said. "That is going to in one way or another bring all cloud providers into the HP world and HP into their world. That is critical. HP has the right strategy, the right plan and the right standards they are working with. That is the message that has to get to customers."

Strohl said he expects HP to invest more in the hybrid cloud strategy as the company steps up its enterprise offensive under Hewlett Packard Enterprise. "Part of what gives me comfort is that HP is about constant and never-ending improvement," he said. "They continue to invest, make acquisitions, and listen to customers and partners."