HP Expands Cloud Computing Strategy

At their HP Discover 2011 event, HP executives outlined new products, features, services and financing programs all aimed at helping customers migrate to the cloud.

Hewlett-Packard is expanding its cloud computing offerings for service providers and enterprises and is putting up $2 billion to help customers move in that direction.

At the HP Discover 2011 show in Las Vegas June 7, HP officials rolled out new services and extensions of its CloudSystem offering that was first unveiled in January, as well as financing plans designed to make it easier for businesses to embrace cloud computing.

The idea is to help businesses not only reach their cloud computing goals, but also to become agile enough to handle the various delivery solutions, whether from public, private or hybrid clouds, or from traditional data centers. This flexibility is crucial because cloud computing is growing rapidly, according to Jan Zadak, executive vie president of enterprise sales and marketing for HP.

"The cloud is happening," Zadak said during a press conference at the company's show in Las Vegas. "The cloud is not just ... in the design books. It's happening today."

HP added dual-bursting capabilities to its CloudSystem platform, which enables clients to better manage, provision and scale resources up and down through public or in-house private clouds based on demand. At the same time, HP executives unveiled CloudAgile, a program that includes CloudSystem and is designed to offer service providers direct access to HP's worldwide salesforce and 143,000 channel partners, said Steve Deitch, vice president of cloud solutions and infrastructure at HP. It also gives service providers the tools to add new cloud services to their portfolios.

Some service providers already taking advantage of the program include Verizon and OpSource, according to HP.

HP also is adding to its cloud services through its Hybrid Delivery services offerings. Support Services for CloudSystem gives customers a single point of accountability, Deitch said. It offers around-the-clock integrated hardware and software support and automated remote support. Through their CloudStart services-which Michelle Weis, vice president of technology services market at HP called the "on-ramp to the cloud"-HP service professionals help customers start the migration to the cloud, from defining private cloud services, implementing such services as chargeback, and ensuring that the cloud technologies fit in with a company's existing policies.

HP also is offering courses from its Education Services to give customers a better understanding of the cloud and how to move in that direction.

As part of the cloud push, HP also is rolling out cloud-based security services, including Vulnerability Scanning and Vulnerability Intelligence. The first service scans a company's network nodes-such as services and networking devices-for vulnerabilities. The second service provides businesses with information on potential threats that were discovered and outline what companies should and shouldn't do about them to prevent problems or outages.

To help customers migrate to the cloud, HP is creating a number of financing programs, according to Irv Rothman, president and CEO of HP Financial Services. Making the move to a new computing platform is not only difficult technically, but also financially, Rothman said. In all, the programs set aside about $2 billion for the effort.

Such programs include one where HP buys a customer's computing assets, and then leases it back to the customer, freeing up money that the company can then invest in its cloud efforts, he said. Rothman also talked about programs through which customers can buy used equipment or acquire it through short-term rentals.