HP Spends $1 Billion On OpenStack-Based Helion Cloud Push

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Hewlett-Packard is to invest $1 billion as it seeks to bolster its cloud computing credentials

Hewlett-Packard has launched a more than $1 billion (£589m) public cloud programme, based on the open source OpenStack platform.

The move comes after a tough couple of years for the technology giant, which under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman is seeking to restore its former glory.

Cloud Push

The cloud  portfolio, known as HP Helion, is made up of a portfolio of OpenStack cloud products and services designed to help businesses build, manage and consume workloads in hybrid IT environments. To this end, HP said it will expand the availability of its cloud software from two data centres currently (out of a total of 80 data centres worldwide), to 20 data centres over the next 18 months.

234x134hpcloudHP  was already committed to OpenStack, which was created by Rackspace and NASA, and has strong backing from players including Red Hat, IBM and Oracle. The $1 billion investment over the next two years will be spent on cloud-related product and engineering initiatives, professional services.

The HP Helion portfolo will include both new cloud products and services, as well as existing ones. It will be made up of the following components:

  • HP Helion OpenStack Community edition – HP’s commercial OpenStack offering. A community edition is available for free, which is apparently “ideal for proofs of concept, pilots and basic production workloads”. An enhanced commercial edition is geared towards enterprise needs will be available soon.
  • HP Helion Development Platform – This is HP’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) based on Cloud Foundry, and a preview version will be available later this year. It is designed to provide IT departments and developers with “an open platform to build, deploy and manage applications quickly and easily.”
  • HP’s OpenStack Technology Indemnification Program – This scheme will protect customers using HP Helion OpenStack code from third-party patent, copyright and trade-secret infringement claims.
  • HP Helion OpenStack Professional Services – A new service that includes HP consultants, engineers and cloud technologists to “assist customers with cloud planning, implementation and operational needs.”

“Customer challenges today extend beyond cloud. They include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches,” said Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer, HP. “HP Helion provides the solutions and expertise customers need to select the right deployment model for their needs and obtain the greatest return for their investment.”

Enough investment?

HP’s extended commitment to the Openstack collaborative cloud computing platform will be welcomed by many, but the Wall Street Journal noted that HP’s $1 billion investment is not matching that of its rivals, such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

Those companies are spending $1 billion (£598m) to $2 billion (£1.2bn) a quarter to build data centres, on top of their existing R&D budgets. IBM, Microsoft, Cisco for example have all recently announced significant investments in the cloud.

And it seems that the $1bn investment could account for a substantial portion of HP’s shrinking research-and-development budget. In the last fiscal year, HP’s R&D budget has fallen 8 percent to $3.1 billion (£1.8bn).

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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