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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Knorr: OpenStack has its own trajectory as it hammers out specifications. There have also been some defections within OpenStack, such as the departure of Citrix. And Nicira, which was central to developing Quantum, was purchased by VMware, which has not been a robust supporter of OpenStack ....

Singh: Got it. I understand where you're going with this.

First things first. OpenStack has a pretty large community. There are some large industry heavyweights -- you know, HP, AT&T, IBM, Red Hat, Cisco, Rackspace, Dell -- so I don't think OpenStack's going away. It has thousands of downloads, thousands of participants, a large community. We're an active member. We don't see it slowing down anytime soon.

You could say that VMware acquiring Nicira is a shot at Quantum, but I would counter that. If you actually talk to Nicira ... they are very adamant, they're tweeting this morning their support for OpenStack going forward. So when you say OpenStack has its own trajectory, with all due respect, it's a trajectory that's informed by the likes of HP, the likes of Red Hat, IBM, AT&T. We're certainly a big player in both the public and private part of that.

Knorr: Are you a big contributor of code to OpenStack?

Singh: We are the sixth-largest contributor -- the second-largest contributor in Swift and one of the top three contributors in Nova, Quantum, Keystone, and Glance. Go look at the code base. We're there. And if you look at the community forums, we're pretty active.

By the way, Rackspace, Red Hat, and Nebula have been there, too. You know, Red Hat put in a bunch of code around their model. Code speaks, and I'd invite you to go look at it.

I don't think OpenStack's going anywhere. Having said that, it's still early days, but we intend to absolutely drive the next-generation computer infrastructure, and we think OpenStack is an important ingredient. It's not the only one, but it's certainly a very important part of it.

Dineley: Have all your improvements to OpenStack for HP Cloud been contributed back to the project?

Singh: Yeah, by Folsom, you're going to see meaningful interactions. I think only literally a handful of people on the planet really know what they're talking about. We are one of them. And please don't take that as an arrogant thing. Community code is not the same as production code when you get to large-scale cloud deployment in the thousands and tens of thousands of nodes. You cannot take community code and go publish that. So we're going to contribute back; we already are.

Our design point is to run the HP Cloud for all the value properties I talked about earlier. I don't think that equates to saying: Oh, yeah, you can just take the latest Folsom and go stand up a 10,000-node cluster. It's not going to happen. There are a lot of unique things you have to manage in order to do that. That's where the breadth and depth of HP comes into play.

This article, "HP's cloud guy: Why we're the enterprise cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog. And for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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