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

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Doug Dineley: Is it fair to say that all PaaS offerings on the HP Cloud will be through partners, or is HP going to provide some of its own PaaS services, such as relational database as a service?

Singh: Let's break down platform services as follows. There is a notion of PaaS in terms of development tools and IDEs. We're working with partners there. Eventually, HP will also have an offering -- but we're not trying to control languages and frameworks. We think our job is to host as many in a meaningful way and give our developers and our IT ops folks choices.

The second part of it is doing things like database as a service. We've launched MySQL as a service, which our team has built and is a really important offering. And I think, if you really boil it down ... the value prop of what a successful PaaS offering should be for a developer or IT ops folks ... all they really care about is their runtime and the elastic database behind it. But they also want everything else, like autoscale, load balancing, security, identity management, billing, and so on. So we're doing that.

The third thing is analytics as a service. The ability for developers and IT ops folks to very quickly and in real time tie in all the work and the workloads that they're building and do real-time analysis of that. Then when you add in things like management, monitoring, security as a service, billing as a service, storage as a service, all of a sudden the platform that we're talking about starts becoming a much more vibrant offering.

Knorr: Where does OpenStack come in?

Singh: With OpenStack, we're using Nova, Swift, Quantum -- we've done a heavy curation of it, not a distribution. We did it on the Diablo code stack. Our next big curation release will be on Folsom [a more complete version of OpenStack due this fall]. So we're running our public cloud today, it's in thousands of nodes, it's one of the largest OpenStack implementations out there, and we're going to go pretty heavy with Folsom. But I'm also building a private cloud reference architecture that I've integrated on top of HP's service storage networking, and we're going to have a completely integrated stack.

Knorr: Would you characterize those as proprietary extensions to OpenStack?

Singh: No, I would not. I'd characterize those as OpenStack API, EC2-compatible, API-driven extensions of HP's hardware service storage networking running the OpenStack distribution that HP has curated. We are opening up our APIs for everyone to basically subscribe to. We are going to support the OpenStack API, as well as EC2, to again give choice and there's nothing "proprietary" about it.

Knorr: When you use words like "curated," are you saying what you're doing is based on the OpenStack bits themselves, or is it really mostly about API compatibility?

Singh: It is actually built on the OpenStack bits. We've added a bunch of things on top of that. For example, we've done a whole bunch of work on the Nova compute platform as part of OpenStack. The Keystone service of OpenStack (which is essentially sort of the control services layer, you do things like identity management, security, billing, metering integration), we've done a whole bunch of work there to meet the needs of the enterprise and service providers.

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