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HP details its cloud computing strategy at OpenStack

HP made its cloud strategy much clearer at the OpenStack Conference in April.

HP detailed its cloud computing strategy at the OpenStack Conference in San Francisco to an audience that had long been wondering when the Silicon Valley superpower would finally make clear its cloud ambitions.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech giant had a major presence at the conference, headed by Zorawar “Biri” Singh, HP's senior vice president and general manager of cloud services. Singh described HP’s plans for cloud computing services, described how its partnerships will work and talked about what he sees for the future.

It was a clear message that HP intends to compete in the cloud market at a high level.

“Standing up [virtual machines] is mildly interesting in today’s time," Singh said. "It’s really about differentiating on that to make sure you have an SLA-based cloud at scale on top of which you can deliver a whole bunch of services and tools with which people can make and build things and run applications on a secure cloud.”

Converged Cloud is the name HP has given to what Singh describes as the company's budding “cloud ecosystem.” That ecosystem won’t be tied to one cloud -- APIs will support both Amazon EC2 and OpenStack.

“What APIs really are to me is the final manifestation of the SOA world,” Singh said. “For HP, we’re big believers that the API is the on ramp for how to do orchestration and interoperability between clouds and workloads. We’re going to essentially back multiple APIs for multiple clouds.”

The new project, which enters public beta on May 10, has already attracted a litany of partners including some major forces in various cloud arenas.

“This is one of those [things] that’s in our wheelhouse,” Singh said. “I think a lot of partners look at it from the scale and reach that a company like HP can provide.  Truthfully, you probably saw one third the list of where I think we’ll end up here pretty soon.  There is no real end in sight, it’s just a limit of what we want to do.”

That one third of the list already includes cloud management partners like Rightscale, monitoring firm New Relic, security company Dome 9 and a multitude of Platform as a Service (PaaS) players including AppFog, CloudBees, CumuLogic, eXo and Zend. HP also stressed that the developer experience will not be tied to any single language and will be supporting Java, Ruby, PHP and .NET among others.

According to Singh, all this is building towards a future where there will be a small handful of global cloud computing ecosystems. Some, he believes, will be vendor-driven and focused around a closed, centralized architecture. Others, like HP, will be driven by the open source movement.

“My view is today, six months from now, five years from now, the HP cloud ecosystem is one where you’ll have thousands of partners on a global basis offering up services and the cloud marketplace is where they’ll get it monetized,” Singh said. “We don’t want to be the broker of that; we want the market to be able to interoperate and be fully automated.”

He said HP is committed to keeping its cloud open and transparent because innovation is happening under the Apache license and “it’s where we need to be.” He added that pushing out a standalone stack is not something HP is interested in doing.

“We couldn’t do it if we wanted to probably, honestly speaking.”

In his keynote speech, he touched on HP’s design considerations for the future of cloud computing, where he focused on several key areas including bring your own device (BYOD), interoperability between clouds and ‘backwards’ integration into the enterprise through private clouds.

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