HP is having its yearly HP Discover conference right now in Las Vegas, and (finally - we have been waiting for some time) has clarified its cloud plans.
The press release can be found here - let's dissect the press release in our usual commentary style:

LAS VEGAS – June 2, 2015 – Today at HP Discover 2015, HP announced updates to the HP Helion portfolio that will help enterprises realize the benefits of transitioning to a hybrid infrastructure. HP introduced HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0, the next release of its flagship integrated enterprise cloud solution, and enhancements to HP Helion Managed Cloud Services to manage enterprise workloads in a secure hosted cloud environment.

MyPOV – It has been quiet around HP Helion for a while – so it is good to more activity, right in time for HP Discover 2015. The wording with ‘help to transition to a hybrid infrastructure’ is interesting – as most enterprises already live and breathe in one today. But certainly there are a number of (HP customer?) enterprises left that are only looking at this.

Enterprises today spend the majority of IT budgets – by some estimates as high as 90 percent – on maintaining existing systems. HP estimates enterprises can reduce IT maintenance costs by approximately 40 percent by migrating existing systems to a cloud-based architecture. This can free-up the capital enterprise IT departments need to modernize application development and pursue new revenue generating opportunities.

MyPOV – A very good pitch for cloud in general, let’s read on if HP can make it tangible / unique why customers should use Helion.

“Enterprise customers have a range of needs in moving to the cloud—some need to cloud-enable traditional workloads, while others seek to build next generation ‘cloud native’ apps using modern technologies like OpenStack®, Cloud Foundry® and Docker,” said Bill Hilf, senior vice president, HP Helion Product and Service Management. “The expanded support for multiple hypervisors and cloud environments in HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 gives enterprises and service providers added flexibility to gain cloud benefits for their existing and new applications.”

MyPOV – Hilf mentions what is making this announcement unique – support for multiple hypervisors and cloud environments (aka IaaS providers).

A single, flexible cloud solution for diverse cloud requirements
HP Helion CloudSystem is an integrated, end-to-end, private cloud solution, built to help customers realize the benefits of a hybrid infrastructure—designed for traditional and cloud native workloads, enabling automation, orchestration and control across multiple heterogeneous clouds, workloads and technologies.

MyPOV – First time it comes across to me that HP Helion Cloudsystem is a private cloud solution (only). But then HP says it is more allowing cross cloud orchestration. So it is actually a hybrid cloud management system.

HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 expands support for multiple hypervisors and multiple clouds to provide enterprises and service providers with maximum flexibility. Additionally,

HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 integrates HP Helion OpenStack and the HP Helion Development Platform to provide customers an enterprise grade open source platform for cloud native application development and infrastructure. […]

MyPOV – So CloudSystem 9.0 will orchestrate loads across IaaS providers, hypervisors, can use OpenStack and finally integrates with the HP PaaS. Hope got it right.

HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 features/benefits include:

· Simultaneous support for multiple cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, HP Helion Public Cloud, OpenStack technology and VMware, with the ability to fully control where workloads reside

MyPOV – When HP will deliver this, it will be very attractive to enterprises.

· The latest release of HP Helion OpenStack, exposing OpenStack software APIs to simplify and speed development and integration with other clouds and offering developer-friendly add-ons with the HP Helion Development Platform based on Cloud Foundry

MyPOV – So we have support for OpenStack environment and for the HP PaaS, which uses Cloud Foundry (note that CloudFoundry itself is also bringing cross cloud capabilities, just last week it announced support for Microsoft Azure).

· Support for multiple hypervisors, now including Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat KVM, VMware vSphere, as well as bare metal deployments, offering customers additional choice and avoiding vendor lock-in

MyPOV – Equally a good move – allowing support for a number of leading hypervisors. For now we notice the absence of AWS XEN hypervisor.

· Support for AWS-compatible private clouds through integration with HP Helion Eucalyptus, giving customers the flexibility to deploy existing AWS workloads onto clouds they control

MyPOV – That should take care of AWS XEN support.

· Support for unstructured data through the Swift OpenStack Object Storage project

MyPOV – Good to integrate another OpenStack initiative. Underlines HP’s commitment to OpenStack.

· The latest version of HP Cloud Service Automation, providing the management capabilities to control hybrid cloud environments and a built-in path to support distributed compute, efficient object storage and rapid cloud native application development

MyPOV – Good to see an automation offering to tie this all together, this is an offering with substantial complexity and enterprises will need at least a good automation tool to pull this hybrid cloud offering off.

· An intuitive setup model delivered as a virtual appliance, allowing for installation in hours

MyPOV – Good move, let’s not forget HP sells hardware, customer buy hardware from HP – so appliances make adoption and setup significantly easier.

HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 is available as standalone software supporting a multiple vendor hardware environment or as a fully-integrated blade-based or hyper-converged infrastructure with HP ConvergedSystem. Availability is planned for later this year. […]

MyPOV – Interesting – would be good for HP to name the ‘other’ hardware environments and what kind of support customers can expect, compared with running CloudSystem with HP hardware. This is the ‘seam’ for hardware vendor based OpenStack offerings, and it will be key to see how far HP goes here.

HP Financial Services’ IT investment and consumption offerings are available to help enterprises acquire HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0, in line with their hybrid IT transformation strategy.

MyPOV – Always a good move and a substantial part of HP hardware sales.

“The digital age is disrupting the entertainment industry. Consumers want entertainment on demand, where they want it, on any device. To address this challenge, IT must take the lead on the digital journey,” said John Herbert, executive vice president and CIO, 20th Century Fox. “The Fox Media Cloud is built on HP Helion CloudSystem, supporting the distribution of broadcast quality TV episodes and full length feature films. HP Helion CloudSystem has helped our transition to an internal service provider model, enabling the delivery of hybrid cloud services while maintaining control, to provide new services faster, while ensuring high reliability and performance. This has provided us the ability to support the tremendous growth of our digital businesses while saving millions.”

MyPOV – A nice and good quote from a blue chip customer, but (sorry 20th Century Fox) not the A+ player in the streaming media space. Interesting how media companies and IaaS / Cloud providers search and find each other. The media companies need to rebuild their IT infrastructure for the new streaming and on demand business model, and the cloud elasticity is a great solution towards this. A great challenge, too – so will be good to get some live stats from 20th century Fox and HP in a few quarters.

Customers increasingly rely on experienced channel partners to help guide them on their cloud implementations. With 56 percent of enterprise and mid-market customers working through a partner to build their private clouds, HP CloudSystem 9.0 presents a significant opportunity for HP partners.

“Comport is automating many operations required to support hospital IT infrastructure,” said Jack Margossian, president and CEO, Comport Healthcare Solutions. “It’s the beginning of an important transition in the data center, from a cost center to an efficient service center. IT can spin up and manage applications and data that support patient care in minutes instead of months, using toolsets they know. Using HP Helion CloudSystem, we are able to free up IT resources and reduce costs, enabling us to build new services while still providing for public cloud or SaaS resources. We look forward to introducing HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 to our customers, with its additional flexibility and manageability.”

MyPOV – It is clear that HP needs (and wants) partners to support Helion. The business of many of the traditional hardware partners is in turmoil and most of them are getting into some kind of cloud business. As such they are looking for cloud operating systems that are widely connected and enable to run on many different IaaS platforms. That’s where Helion certainly is an attractive value proposition. But it does not allow HP by itself to compete e.g. with AWSCloud, Azure, Google Cloud Platform as it will be a partner offering and levels of service and economies of scale on the purchasing side are challenging in this go to market approach.

An enhanced enterprise-grade virtual cloud environment
HP Helion Managed Cloud Services provides enterprise security and high availability capabilities needed to run mission critical business applications, while meeting customers’ data sovereignty, regulatory and compliance requirements, and backed by enterprise grade service level agreements.

MyPOV – Data residency is a key aspect and consideration, HP needs to show which locations and jurisdictions it will support when. IBM has thrown down the challenge to all IaaS providers here with the goal to be present in 48 locations by end of 2015.

To broaden this offering and deliver greater value and flexibility to customers, HP Helion Managed Cloud Services will launch into beta HP Helion OpenStack Managed Private Cloud and HP Helion Eucalyptus Managed Private Cloud, both of which will be consumable as a service via an easy access portal.

In addition to these new beta offerings, HP Helion Managed Cloud Services will support the development of cloud native applications within a managed cloud service via the HP Helion Development Platform and automation of select virtual private cloud services.

MyPOV – Seems repetitive on the press release – and HP will have to explain when to use which Managed Private Cloud offering. Especially when Eucalyptus capabilities are also desired, and how to combine the two offerings. I am not sure why HP has not combined them already.

HP Helion Managed Cloud Services features/benefits include:

· New automated provisioning capabilities through a self-service portal based on HP Cloud Service Automation, enabling clouds to be deployed more quickly

· Support for multiple platforms to enable hybrid cloud proof-of-concepts using HP Helion OpenStack and HP Helion Eucalyptus

· Cloud native application development capabilities through integration with the HP Helion Development Platform, allowing enterprises to rapidly develop, deploy and deliver cloud native apps

HP Helion Managed Cloud enhancements are planned for availability later this year.

MyPOV – Another good recap what can be down across HP Helion OpenStack and / Eucalyptus and what you can build on HP’s PaaS.

Global enterprise support when it counts
HP offers Global Datacenter Care and Support in over 130 countries. Customers can call 24x7x365 and receive support in more than 30 languages, for any hardware platform, OS or hypervisor.

MyPOV – This is an important service that enterprises clearly value. It is not clear if this extend to partner data centers and which countries are covered by this service by HP owned data centers. That is what HP competes on and it will be key to clarify sooner than later.

Overall MyPOV

A very functional reach and ambitious plan by HP to make Helion a ‘Switzerland’ for cloud services – from a support of competitor IaaS, different data center deployment options all the way down to the hypervisor. But it is an announcement and we look forward to HP deliver all of this, which certainly can’t be easy, but will make HP an attractive player for cloud. Enterprises that have been slow to adopt cloud will certainly take notice as the offering seems low risk as it keeps many deployment doors open.

On the concern side – HP will need to deliver and reach similar economies of scale like its competitors. By being open to 3rd party IaaS HP creates value for customers, but loses load, which is critical to reach economies of scale in the cloud market. The partner bases approach is key for HP, too – but has its challenges when it comes to consistent level of service and delivery.

On the bright side it looks like HP has found its running shoes and is racing towards an attractive goal / location. But it needs to get there, get partners on board, get customers to adopt and build next generation application on its cloud. It’s a long way, but good for HP getting there.




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