HP's cloud guy: Why we're the enterprise cloud

In an exclusive interview, Biri Singh explains HP's cloud strategy and its focus on the needs of enterprise developers and operations

Just 16 months ago, Leo Apotheker, the short-lived CEO of HP, proclaimed that HP would be a leader in cloud computing. With little to show in the way of HP cloud products or services, no one was quite sure what Apotheker was talking about.

Flash-forward to today, and HP has not only a real cloud strategy, but also a public cloud IaaS (infrastructure as a service) play, HP Cloud, which might eventually rival Amazon Web Services. It also has Zorawar "Biri" Singh, senior vice president and GM of HP Cloud Services, to keep HP Cloud and various other cloud services and solutions on track.

[ Earlier this year, Eric Knorr discussed the cloud in an exclusive interview with Oracle's Mark Hurd. | Also check out InfoWorld's PDF special reports: Our "Private Cloud Deep Dive," our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ]

This is not Singh's first cloud gig -- prior to arriving at HP, he served as vice president of Cloud Computing for IBM. In his new position, Singh sees the opportunity to couple HP's pure-play IaaS cloud with private HP clouds that will "integrate very naturally" with each other. In that hybrid approach, Singh relies on OpenStack, the open source cloud operating system, to provide the underpinning for HP's public and private cloud offerings.

From the outset of our conversation with Singh last week, he made it clear that he felt the "real opportunity" for HP was in serving developers, so that's where this edited version of the interview begins. InfoWorld executive editor Doug Dineley also participated.

Eric Knorr: What sort of developers do you feel will be inclined to adopt HP's cloud offerings?

Biri Singh: We're going after the enterprise developer, where there are a bunch of expectations about which production workloads are going to end up on the public cloud. We happen to think there will be tens of thousands use cases that are ultimately going to be driven by the need for a secure, SLA-driven, enterprise-class quality of service. Our focus is the enterprise developer, but also IT ops.

For production workloads enterprises may consider running, they want the scale, they want the advantage of cost efficiencies. They want the security. But most importantly, they want a vendor who understands what they're about, who they've done business with, who understands the need for innovative services yet can balance out SLA, security, and customer service -- and who provides choices in terms of being an open architecture, partnering with other stacks and not locking in customers.

If you look at infrastructure clouds, AWS (Amazon Web Services) is obviously at one end of the spectrum, but you also have a bunch of telcos that have tried this, and their notion of cloud is -- well, stand up a bunch of VMs and let's see what happens. I think that's such a 2009 phenomena; we've passed that. What developers and enterprises are looking for, they're saying: Give me a set of services. I want to be able to run workloads in a secure cloud environment. And I want the best tools, the most modern languages and frameworks to build those. We're trying to address the needs of developers and IT ops with a particular emphasis on the kind of enterprise, production-grade workloads are going to be running.

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