HP Brings Cloud Storage Out Of Beta, Offers 99.95 Percent SLA

Hewlett-Packard this week plans to exit the public beta of its HP Cloud Object Storage and HP Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) storage clouds and will be offering them to customers and partners with a 99.95-percent uptime service-level agreement.

HP's new cloud storage offerings are coming out of public beta even though the HP Cloud Compute offering remains in beta, because the company feels they are ready for production, said Marc Padovani, director of product management, HP cloud services.

"The storage service was pretty robust even before the public beta," Padovani said.

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That robustness is reflected in HP's SLA of 99.95 percent uptime, Padovani said. "Our objective is 100 percent uptime," he said. "But, we set the SLA at 99.95 percent. Amazon S3's SLA is only 99.9 percent."

An SLA of 99.95 percent equates to a promise that a customer will lose at most under 22 minutes of access to data in an average 30-day month. To enforce the SLA, HP will provide a credit to a customer's monthly bill of 5 percent if availability drops to between 99.9 percent and 99.95 percent, a 10-percent credit if it drops to between 99.5 percent and 99.9 percent, a 20-percent credit if it drops to between 99.0 percent and 99.5 percent, and a 30-percent credit if it drops below 99.0 percent.

HP Cloud Object Storage replicates objects stored in the cloud three times across physically separated availability zones. It has native support for object sizes from 1 byte to 5 GBs, or even larger-sized objects if they are "chunked," or broken up into smaller sizes.

For security of the data, customers can set up public or private containers and control access as needed. Each object has its own unique security key, and access to data stored in the cloud requires the use of tokens or private keys.

HP Cloud CDN is powered by Akamai technology to globally cache and distribute content so that users from anywhere get local access to it. HP Cloud CDN provides HTTP compression to improve performance of delivery from content in the cloud and encrypts that content using SSL encryption technology.

The HP cloud is based on OpenStack technology. "We decided to go with OpenStack because of the momentum of that community," Padovani said.

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While HP offers other SaaS services, including an online backup service through its Autonomy acquisition, this is the first time HP has offered a public cloud on which third-party partners can build additional Web services, HP's Padovani said.

HP already has over 80 technology partners developing products and services for the HP cloud, including partners developing applications and databases, as well as technologies for development and testing, monitoring and management, mobile, security and storage, he said.

HP developed its public cloud offering as part of a strategy to make it easy for customers to use both public and private clouds based on HP technology, Padovani said.

"Some companies are looking for a public cloud to burst data into," he said. "Others start with data in a public cloud and then move it into a private cloud. Customers like the idea of being able to use HP technology to move one way or the other."

HP is also currently working on programs for channel partners who bring HP cloud storage to customers and plans to unveil details by the end of the year, he said.

HP is also continuing to run other cloud offerings, including HP Cloud Block Storage and HP Cloud Relational Database for My SQL, in private beta.