Cloud Compute goes GA

HP plays catch-up with public cloud

Elliot Bentley

At HP Discover conference in Frankfurt, the company unveiled new block storage and PaaS services – but is it enough to compete?

HP CEO Meg Whitman speaks onstage during the opening keynote.

Following AWS’ re: Invent conference last week, HP has come out swinging with new cloud announcements, including the general availability of their flagship Cloud Compute IaaS and public betas of new block storage and PaaS products.

HP Discover, which is this year based in Frankfurt, is the company’s showcase for both consumer and enterprise products – taking place around the world at different times of the year. This year, among Windows 8 tablets aimed at business consumers, the company also expanded its cloud offerings.

Yesterday, the company announced the general availability of Cloud Compute with an Amazon-matching 99.95% SLA and competitive pricing starting at $0.04 per GB per month. Launched back in April, HP Cloud Compute is a pay-as-you-go IaaS designed to compete with AWS EC2, Google App Engine and Windows Azure. As in all of their public cloud products, HP are attempting to differentiate the service from existing industry titans by adopting open standards and building on the OpenStack project, which has gone from strength to strength.

Meanwhile, the company continued to expand its range of cloud services with the launch of HP Cloud Block Storage and HP Cloud Application Platform as a Service, which both basically do what they say on the tin: the latter using technology from Stackato which is itself based on VMware’s open source Cloud Foundry. They will be joining existing CDN and database services, as well as HP Cloud Compute, in HP’s growing suite of public cloud offerings.

However, while the open source nature of HP’s cloud services might sway some enterprise customers wary of vendor lock-in (which, according to an HP-led survey, is around 65% of companies), they’re rapidly being left behind by Amazon’s expanding portfolio of innovative services like Glacier, DynamoDB and a new data warehousing service called Redshift, announced just last week.

The news also comes in the shadow of an impending lawsuit against British software company Autonomy, who were acquired by HP last year for $11.1bn. This week, HP claimed that it had discovered “serious accounting improprieties” within Autonomy, which would see the British company’s value just half of what HP had paid (founder Mike Lynch responded that the accusations were “utterly wrong”).

All of this won’t hopefully detract from the continued development of HP Cloud, which is building up nicely. Yet the question remains: is increased openness enough to compete with AWS?

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