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HP cloud a red flag for enterprise customers

By choosing the open source OpenStack software to run its cloud, HP made a sneaky move to push more services that run on its software and hardware.

HP has been tweeting all week about its OpenStack-based cloud computing service, released in private beta. It claims spaces are limited, but you wouldn’t think so from the amount of noise the company has generated to gin up customers.

The service runs on OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure software, which has been written about in more press releases than there are actual users. The service includes HP Cloud Compute and HP Cloud Object Storage -- analogous to Amazon Web Services' EC2 and S3 offerings that were launched approximately five years ago.

HP services are based on the "Cactus" release of OpenStack, which includes virtualization, a bit of automation and a service catalogue. The "Diablo" release, which ships on Sept. 22, includes much more and suggests that HP's launch was mostly a marketing move. Cactus lacks key features and functions including distributed scheduling, metrics for billing, chargeback and monitoring and global firewall rules for DDoS (distributed denial of service) prevention, among other things.

But don't worry. HP noted in a blog post this week that both offerings include "HP's world class hardware and software with key elements of HP Converged Infrastructure and HP Software." Translated, this means HP plans to up-sell all this stuff, on top of OpenStack. It sounds like a loss leader to get people into HP services, on HP hardware using HP software.

Will HP's enterprise customers go for it?

Probably not. Big IT shops rarely rely on large chunks of open source software as you can't beat the open source community about the head like you can a single vendor, when things go wrong. HP's lack of control over this software will be a red flag to enterprise users.

It comes down to this: HP has no credibility in cloud yet. It played hot then cold with VMware vCloud and Microsoft Azure and instead chose to go with the open source alternative. This service appears to be a placeholder to sell more HP software and hardware while the company figures out what cloud computing is all about, what its customers actually want from a cloud service and who it is as a company in this new era of IT.

Jo Maitland is the Senior Executive Editor of Contact her at

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