HP Cautious About How It Approaches Cloud Services, Infrastructure

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-02-11 Print this article Print

UPDATED: After IBM establishes its own cloud computing development and marketing strategy, Hewlett-Packard indicates that there's still a lot of work to do to make cloud computing systems work dependably and securely-much more than is apparent from media coverage.

SAN FRANCISCO-One day after IBM established its cloud computing development and marketing strategy by instituting a new division and spotlighting a key networking partnership, longtime nemesis Hewlett-Packard made darn sure that it got some face time to explain its stance on this important new market.

HP told a group of journalists and analysts here Feb. 10 that the cloud computing structure is certainly viable and an important trend heading into the second decade of the new century. But it also indicated that there's still a lot of work to do to make these systems work dependably and securely-much more than is apparent from media coverage.

"See this diagram?" said HP CTO and Vice President of Cloud Services Strategy Russ Daniels, as he drew a series of overlapping circles on the chalkboard. "These are systems that overlap but don't fundamentally work well together. They're all from different companies [and] time frames and being run in different levels of quality. This is the way the world works now."

Drawing a series of circles, each inside the next, resembling a target, he continued, "Now see this one; here is where we want to go at HP. We want to line up all these systems according to open standards and best practices. This is the way we will get to ubiquitous computing, on-demand and dependable, for whatever business needs we have," Daniels said.

HP has shied away from the generalized term "cloud computing" since it began being used regularly in fall 2006, when Amazon.com instituted its cloud services.

"There's a reason we haven't been referring to the term 'cloud computing' all that much [in the past]," an HP marketing executive said. "We've been calling this 'adaptive infrastructure' all this time, because that's what our clients understand. 'Cloud computing' is still an unclear concept to many people, and it's still in evolution. We are at the forefront of this, but we are also realistic about how it's going to be implemented."

For the record, cloud computing, also called utility computing, serves up computing power, data storage or applications from one data center location over a grid to thousands or millions of users on a subscription basis. This general kind of cloud-for example, services provided online such as Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), Google Apps and Salesforce.com-is known as a "public" cloud, because any business or individual can subscribe.

Systems like this that exist inside a firewall are called private clouds. Both IBM and HP are working on software and services that will connect these types of systems to work seamlessly in getting business done via the Internet.

Daniels, the former CTO of HP's software division, is the one running HP's cloud systems development; IBM has the newly appointed Erich Clementi in the same capacity, with Kristof Kloeckner as the new CTO. Clementi reports directly to CEO Sam Palmisano, while Daniels reports to HP CTO Shane Robison.

This very high-level corporate attention is a key indicator of how vital this market is, and is going to become, to these two companies and to the worldwide IT industry.

"For IBM to create another division specifically aimed at anything-hey, now that's a big deal," one analyst told eWEEK. "This company doesn't do that every day."

Nor does HP.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel