For traditional hardware vendors who have strong relationships with information technology departments, the idea that cloud computing, one of the hottest trends to ever hit the technology space is being purchased without the consent or guidance of IT is quite scary. If you’ve been selling servers to a company for decades and all of a sudden the employees within that organization start to buy their own resources, effectively sidestepping an established relationship, you can rapidly see yourself disintermediated.
In fact, 50% of organizations use non-IT sanctioned clouds according to research sanctioned by HP. Moreover the company found 18% of companies were unsure if their users were using cloud computing services without the knowledge of IT. Finally, they anticipate private and public cloud growth to double by 2020 meaning this is a problem that isn’t getting smaller.
But for a vendor like HP the challenge is how do you become a cloud provider of consequence in a field which has other major players like Amazon and a bevy of data centers and other companies providing hosted platform and software as a service products?
The HP answer is a converged approach, offering a public cloud – HP Cloud Services which will provide platform as a service as well as a MySQL service as well as a block storage service. In addition, to manage hybrid delivery environments the company’s Cloud Maps utilizes customer application templates which work with HP CloudSystem to improve application deployment speed.
In addition, the company’s Service Virtualization 2.0 allows the testing of cloud and/or mobile services to be done without production system disruption through the use of a simulated, virtualized environment.
The company has also announced solutions to help deliver cloud services over legacy networks, solutions for enhanced cloud security and network cloud optimization services. There is also a solution for private cloud customers which includes unified communications.
In a conversation with HP’s Marc Hamilton, VP of HPC Sales at the company, he pointed out this announcement is more than just competition to Amazon as many news outlets reported, it is the first cloud announcement under Meg Whitman and under this umbrella news, all the various HP groups are working together to provide a solution far beyond just a public cloud.
Asked if IBM is the real competitor here, he responded that it isn’t clear that IBM has a single stack, hardware, software and services which can be used across the spectrum of the cloud – traditional IT infrastructure, private clouds, managed cloud services and the public cloud.
In terms of cloud standards, Hamilton points out that there won’t be a single standard for cloud but he is happy to have a number of cloud vendors supporting HP’s Cloud Matrix including AT&T and IBM.
Interestingly, the cloud market isn’t too unlike telecom when it comes to emerging markets meaning that many parts of the world skipped copper and POTs and went directly to IP communications over fiber or even skipped that and went to wireless. Similarly, there will be a huge opportunity to deliver cloud-based services to parts of the world where they will skip purchasing their own infrastructure and may not even have the local power available to build a data center. We also discussed how in the tech world, the same trend is taking place where companies like Instagram jump right into the cloud without the need to deploy their own hardware.
And thus the massive growth predictions for the cloud market.
As HP becomes a more significant cloud computing provider, we can expect its extensive high performance computing or HPC expertise to come into play. The company has already built a top 5 supercomputer and is working with ARM processors, the latest 3-D Intel SandyBridge chips as well as GPU processors.
Point being, the company is well positioned from a hardware perspective to provide massively scaling horsepower to its customers… Now the question is will their holistic approach to providing hybrid cloud solutions as well as their desire to work with carrier partners will accelerate their position in the market allowing them to take advantage of opportunities in the enterprise space where security and the need for hybrid public/private solutions will only grow.
Certainly the hope is that the company will not only be successful but in the process get companies to rely more on their IT departments for their cloud computing needs so the decades-long HP relationship will be retained and solidified.