In a webcast today HP announced its new cloud brand – HP Helion. The event was largely scripted, not sure why it was so formal – and for all the fans of a no slide presentation – take a look at it and let me know what you think – you can find it here.


So let’s dissect the news from the press release:

HP today introduced HP Helion, a portfolio of cloud products and services that enable organizations to build, manage and consume workloads in hybrid IT environments.

HP Helion incorporates existing HP cloud offerings, new OpenStack® technology–based products, and professional and support services under a unified portfolio to help meet customers’ specific business requirements.


MyPOV – So it’s about a brand name for bundling HP products and services together.

HP also is extending its commitment to OpenStack technology and hybrid IT delivery—spanning traditional IT, public, private and managed clouds. HP plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next two years on cloud-related product and engineering initiatives, professional services and expanding HP Helion’s global reach.

MyPOV – So the Billion will be stretched out over two years (see Cisco, too) and spend in R&D, Professional Service and global rollout. Probably the number HP would have planned to invest anyway into cloud – but still good to make the case, given all the 1 Billiom investment announcements around cloud.

As a result of more than three years of running OpenStack cloud services at scale in enterprise environments, HP understands that organizations require solutions that are open, secure and agile. As a founding platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation and a leader in the OpenStack and Cloud Foundry™ communities, HP has taken a central role in developing technologies that are built to meet enterprise requirements and to deliver OpenStack technologies and Cloud Foundry-based solutions to the global marketplace. […]

MyPOV – And here is the cue on how HP plans to pitch HP Helion – as the enterprise ready hybrid cloud. Build from a vendor who understands enterprise and offered to the enterprise. Certainly worth the differentiation versus Amazon and Google, not sure how well it works against IBM, Microsoft and Oracle who can claim a similar enterprise pedigree. HP certainly deserves credit for being an early and significant investor into the progress of OpenStack.

As part of the HP Helion portfolio, HP is introducing several new cloud products and services, including:

· HP Helion OpenStack Community edition—A commercial product line of OpenStack that is delivered, tested and supported by HP. Available today, the community edition is a free version ideal for proofs of concept, pilots and basic production workloads. An enhanced commercial edition that addresses the needs of global enterprises and service providers will be released in the coming months.

MyPOV – Very smart move of HP to make a free community version of HP Helion OpenStack available. It proves two things that matter to HP: For one that HP can leverage its large investment in OpenStack and that investment pays off in faster time to market, or at least HP enriched OpenStack code earlier in HP customers hands. And earlier access can be translated into speed, that can be translated into go to market and with that into a competitive advantage. If HP can upkeep the pole position of making new community editions of the latest OpenStack versions (this one is 3 weeks after GA of OpenStack Icehouse), it certainly becomes part of perception and with that value HP can leverage as a differentiator with against OpenStack competitors. Of course we need to wait when the usual suspects will deliver their OpenStack Icehouse versions. And secondly it’s a commitment that HP wants to enable developers by getting them a free community edition as early as possible. And with support of up to 30 nodes it’s not a low capability freebie, but a reasonable edition to test and create larger loads.

· HP Helion Development Platform—A Platform as a Service (PaaS) based on Cloud Foundry, offering IT departments and developers an open platform to build, deploy and manage applications quickly and easily. HP plans to release a preview version later this year.

MyPOV – Not a surprise move by HP, given its investment into Pivotal / Cloud Foundry. Little was said about how that offering will differentiate itself, apart from running on HP hardware and cloud software. HP did not even mention if and how (we certainly expect) other HP software assets can be leveraged in the HP Helion Development Platform – which effectively is a PaaS.

· HP’s OpenStack Technology Indemnification Program—Protects qualified customers using HP Helion OpenStack code from third-party patent, copyright and trade-secret infringement claims directed to OpenStack code alone or in combination with Linux code.

MyPOV – This is a first, and clear differentiator for HP (for now). Not only conservative CIO and CFOs balk at the potential liability issues resulting from IP infractions from Open Source software they use. HP raises the ante on the other OpenStack competitors in this regards, and with entering an unlimited liability guarantee (as mentioned in the webcast) – shoulders a lot of potential risk. And in my view this is a very attractive offering, that prospects and customers will likely force HP competitors to offer too.

· HP Helion OpenStack Professional Services—A new practice made up of HP’s experienced team of consultants, engineers and cloud technologists to assist customers with cloud planning, implementation and operational needs.

HP Helion OpenStack–based cloud services will be made available globally via HP’s partner network of more than 110 service providers worldwide and in HP data centers—HP operates more than 80 data centers in 27 countries. HP plans to provide OpenStack-based public cloud services in 20 data centers worldwide over the next 18 months. HP will also enable HP PartnerOne for Cloud partners to deliver and resell OpenStack-based cloud services.


MyPOV –  No surprise that HP will offer Professional Services for all its products where they are applicable, HP Helion makes no exception. HP gives an interesting insight in regards of the 80 data centers in 27 countries it has today, which is a large footprint. But then OpenStack services will be available in only 20 data centers in 18 months from now – so a far step from e.g. the 40 locations announced by IBM. It certainly is a good move to use partner data centers and include partners in the rollout. Partners can even resell HP Helion, certainly an acknowledgement to the key role partners play for HP.

The new HP Helion cloud products and services join the company’s existing portfolio of hybrid cloud computing offerings, including the next-generation HP CloudSystem—recently ranked as the leader in the Forrester Wave report for Private Cloud Solutions(1)—HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software for managing hybrid IT environments, HP’s managed virtual private cloud offering and a range of cloud professional services.

MyPOV – Good to mention how HP Helion fits in with HP CloudSystem and CSA, something only addressed in the Q&A of the webcast. Needless to say it all fits together.


Overall MyPOV

With little less than 4 weeks before HP Discover, one has to wonder why HP had this event now, but HP certainly stole a significant portion of Discover thunder. There was no surprise in the announcement, HP did what HP was expected to do – an enterprise emphasis, a security emphasis and a leading position in supporting OpenStack and a good position with CloudFoundry.

I missed how HP Helion ties together with the products announced last year with HAVEn – as all these software assets need to work seamlessly together. Not announcing and presenting them together and not seeing Fink and Kadifa together at a cloud announcement is a surprise to me. Customers and partners of HP bet their business on these software assets to tightly work and operate together and not mentioning and presenting them together begs a big question ‘why?’

The IP indemnification is a smart but aggressive move that will likely be appreciated by customers and with that find imitators. Good for OpenStack customers. A good event for HP that now needs to deliver in product and on the customer success side.

More about HP

  • A tale of two cloud GAs - Google & HP - read here
  • The cloud is growing up - 3 signs from the news - read here
  • To HAVEn and have not - or: HP Bundles away - read here
More about IBM
  • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and IBM is off to a good start but the road is long - read here
  • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
  • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
  • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
  • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
  • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
  • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
  • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read her

More about Microsoft:
  • Event Report - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here
  • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
  • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
  • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
  • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
  • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
  • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
  • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.