Last month I attended HP Discover (disclosure: my participation was supported by Ivy World and HP, just a week after I attended the disruptive AWS re:Invent conference. It felt like a retreat from the future of cloud. HP stands still, not taking the initiatives and real risks expected of a true industry leader. At the Discover conference, I learned why some companies don’t last and why this IT giant is at risk of losing in this new era IT battle.
HP Washes the Cloud
I attended the “HP Converged Cloud” session led by Biri Singh, SVP and GM for HP Cloud Services. Biri opened his presentation by saying that “The cloud is just another data center”. Dear CloudAve reader don’t get him wrong, Mr. Singh understands the cloud and the business concepts of pay-per-use, “capacity meets demand”, etc. HP’s lack of capabilities harms their integrity and led them to try to slow down the paradigm change driven by cloud computing. It seems that this giant decided to leverage its influential force and postpone the market understanding of what the cloud really is – will that work? Hell No! Is devaluating your customers really an option?
If you have a business model that in part relies on your customers being misinformed or let’s just say incompletely informed, you better work on changing your business model,” said Amazon chief Jeff Bezos in the re:Invent main keynote session.
Cloud in Different Forms
Biri presented three options of HP cloud services –
- Cloud Systems – private on-premise “cloud”
- Managed Cloud for Enterprise – HP managed enterprise cloud grade
- HP Public Cloud – supported by Openstack
While hanging out on the Expo floor and schmoozing with a bunch of HP reps, I heard terms such as “Private hosted single tenant cloud”, “Private managed service”, “HP’s Platform as a service”, as well as “cloud comes in different forms and shapes”.
Are you confused? I am sure that most of the HP guys are.
At one of the cloud coffee talks for bloggers, the discussion around HP’s public cloud centered on how does HP compete with Amazon cloud? HP recognizes Amazon as a new player, but the HP guys seemed to really struggle with this question; their confusion was reflected in responses ranging from “our hardware is the best” all the way to references to the “enterprise cloud grade”.
HP differentiates its cloud based on its level of security, global scale, consistency and SLA. Although significant, these are purely technical issues. Amazon has already proved that these can be solved and managed inside its public cloud. And things will continue to improve as Amazon clearly intends to fulfill the needs of the enterprise. Can’t a private environment leave inside a pull of endless amount of resources, what currently we call the “public cloud”? I disagree with the view that migration to the public cloud will take decades, simply based on the exponential growth of AWS. In the next few years, the enterprise will migrate most of its resources to the public cloud and enjoy an advanced, reliable and secure environment, together with the business benefits stemming from removing the uncertainty of traditional IT with its major inefficiencies and risks.
The Onion Presents: HP Offers ‘That Cloud Thing Everyone Is Talking About’
On an Optimistic note
HP announced the availability of several great features, such as the block store. The text in yellow on the slide spotlights the vast contribution of HP to the Openstack opensource. Lots of traditional IT giants joined the Openstack community, making it a strong candidate to compete with the AWS cloud. It seems that HP is a leading force behind the Openstack initiative. Not surprising, since HP is the natural player to rule the cloud computing domain. It has both smart people and the means to create a leading public cloud offering. The potential is awesome but, all things considered, I still have my doubts.
HP is trapped in a perception that its current market share and its relationships with customers will sustain its IT business. HP needs to adapt to the rapid changes in the market. I have followed the company’s development over the last 2 years, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem that they have really rolled up their sleeves and run to close the huge gap. I don’t see the internal integrity and a recognition of the need to “bet the company” like Microsoft did.
In one of his interviews, Biri noted:
We’re not necessarily the first place a startup is going to look for in getting going. But I can assure you we’ve also got the type global footprint and an SLA and a business-grade point of view that understands the enterprise. That’s what we’re betting on.”
I strongly suggest HP leaders take care. These types of statements remind me of the “long lasting Kodak” – they claimed to have a stronghold on the market, they were trapped in their belief that in the digital age people shoot more photos and eventually will print more. In January this year, the 131-year-old company filed for bankruptcy.
Note: This is a concise shorter version, I invite you to check the `director’s cut` on IAmOnDemand.com.
- HP Discover Europe and the Viability of HP’s Cloud Play (cloudave.com)
- Hewlett Packard: a tale of many clouds (cloudave.com)
- This week in cloud: Amazon gets mobile, HP reopens old wound; Dell delays – Cloud Computing News (gigaom.com)
- What HP’s cloud chief wants you to know about HP’s cloud [GigaOM] (gigaom.com)
- HP: Too Many Clouds (cloud.dzone.com)
- Gartner: Amazon, HP cloud SLAs are ‘practically useless’ (infoworld.com)