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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If you look at our ecosystem play, we've built out a whole bunch of partnerships with over 80 companies that allow you to do things like PaaS deployments. Our view on PaaS is we want to offer choice.

But it comes down to a very simple premise: The CIO says, hey, it's great that you're building these new-wave mobile apps and these new Ruby apps or whatever, and rewriting traditional boring legacy stuff, but where are all these apps going to run and how do we have control over them? Where's the SLA? Where's the security layer? Where's the isolation layer? Where's my disaster recovery? If you're trusting Engine Yard or you're trusting CloudBees or you're trusting whoever to run those, how do we ultimately instantiate that for our needs? Ultimately, large-scale public clouds matter, SLAs matter, so we're working with PaaS developers -- not to be the end-all PaaS. HP has no interest in being a kingmaker of Ruby or Python or PHP or whatever.

Knorr: Is that part of the idea behind adopting OpenStack, to offer enterprises this kind of a parallel hybrid environment?

Singh: We're talking about two different levels of HP Cloud here. One is the HP Converged Cloud, which is our umbrella strategy for hybrid delivery of private cloud, managed cloud services, and public cloud. This is the notion of hybrid delivery for enterprises, for service providers, for customers across different environments.

We have private cloud solutions as a product, CloudSystem. We have managed cloud as a consulting services-driven model where we do CloudSystem as a service, essentially private cloud hosting, but also public cloud instantiation. It's where we go to our outsource customers and say, hey, if you want a bare-metal environment and just run Red Hat or Windows or Linux, I could turn that on for you. I can manage your applications for you. I can do application transformation for you. I can host Exchange, rewrite your CRM app, JVM app, etc.

Knorr: Certainly, that's not something you would fire up with a credit and a Web form on your own.

Singh: No, that's what the public cloud is for. You can go to HPcloud.com/partners and actually see our cloud ecosystem at work. We're working with folks like Active State and AppFog and Engine Yard and AppZero and CloudBees or on and on. We also offer storage and management and monitoring and data services and dev/test services. If I'm going to host a bunch of PaaS environments on the HP Cloud, it's going to be reasonably automated -- it's not a consulting services deployment. You can go on and actually turn on and fire up through a command line or through our management console. You can use a bunch of tools and offerings we've built up through ecosystem and third-party partners.

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