HP's Helion Public Cloud Bursts, Set To Shut Down Jan. 31

Hewlett-Packard Cloud Business Unit General Manager Bill Hilf has declared the death of HP's Helion Public Cloud.

"We will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on January 31, 2016," said Hilf in a blog post. "As we have before, we will help our customers design, build and run the best cloud environments suited to their needs -- based on their workloads and their business and industry requirements."

HP intends to focus its resources on its managed and virtual private cloud offerings, said Hilf. "These offerings will continue to expand, and we will have some very exciting announcements on these fronts in the coming weeks," he said in the blog post.

[Related: HP Denies It Is Exiting Public Cloud Market]

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"HP's Helion Public Cloud has just burst," said Jamie Shepard, senior vice president for health care and strategy at Lumenate, No. 145 on the CRN Solution Provider 500. "This is HP refocusing in a good way on what they do best to take market share in the industry."

Shepard said HP lacks the strategic virtualization software and cloud software-defined assets that have powered EMC-VMware to establish a new 50-50 jointly owned cloud services business to challenge Amazon Web Services. "It's a software world right now, and HP does not have the software to make a go of public cloud," he said. "Without the software, companies didn't care that HP had a public cloud." In contrast, Shepard said, VMware with vSphere provides EMC-VMware with an on ramp to the cloud.

The CEO for a top SP500 HP enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified, said he sees the Helion Public Cloud exit as just another one of a number of fits and starts that hampers sales efforts for partners.

"There has been constant change at HP," said the CEO. "They are constantly reshuffling executives and changing the strategy. They are pursuing servers, storage and compute, but they are not selling enough software with us. That has hurt our sales traction in large accounts."

HP's decision to throw in the towel on the public cloud business comes just five months after HP denied it was exiting the public cloud market in response to a New York Times article that it was "ceding" the public cloud market to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google.

It also comes just three weeks after Hewlett-Packard moved its Cloud Go-To-Market to the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Group where it will be combined at the regional level with Converged Data Infrastructure Go To Market. Under that shift, Hilf and Mark Interrante, who heads Cloud R&D, moved to the software group reporting into Executive Vice President and General Manager of Software Robert Youngjohns.

Hilf said that for customers that want access to large-scale public cloud providers, HP has added greater support for Amazon Web Services as part of a hybrid delivery model with HP Helion Eucalyptus. HP has also worked with Microsoft to support Azure and Office 365, he said.

"We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform -- in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure," said Hilf.

Hilf said customers are "consistently telling us that in order to meet their full spectrum of needs they want a hybrid combination of efficiently managed traditional IT and private cloud, as well as access to SaaS applications and public cloud capabilities for certain workloads.

"With these customer needs in mind, we have made the decision to double-down on our private and managed cloud capabilities," wrote Hilf. "For cloud-enabling software and solutions, we will continue to innovate and invest in our HP Helion OpenStack platform."

Hilf said HP Helion OpenStack has seen "strong customer adoption" running HP's Helion CloudSystem which is delivering "strong double digit revenue growth."