HP Launches Helion Cloud Platform for Government

The solution builds off HP's larger efforts in the cloud, including the $1 billion being invested in R&D.

cloud government

Hewlett-Packard is rolling out a private cloud offering for government agencies that is based on the Helion cloud platform the tech vendor announced three weeks ago.

HP's Helion Managed Private Cloud for Public Sector is designed to give governments on all levels—federal, state and local—a managed and dedicated private cloud solution that enables them to create a shared service model across multiple departments, with the agencies essentially playing the role of IT brokers. The agencies can manage and monitor the use of resources via a Web-based portal. The technology enables the cloud platform to rapidly scale, direct services to their users and effectively control costs by letting agencies pay only for what they use.

The Helion solution—a highly automated private cloud offering that comes pre-engineered and pre-tested—also will improve the overall security for the agencies and will manage the various certification and regulatory requirements that are placed on them, according to HP officials.

The offering, announced May 27, is available immediately.

HP, which has struggled with the downturn in the global PC market over the last couple of years, is in the middle of a multi-year turnaround effort to bring the company back into stable profitability. Executives on May 22 reported that sales and income during the first three months of the year were flat, and announced that the company will cut another 11,000 to 16,000 jobs this year, bringing the total layoffs at the company since 2012 to as many as 50,000.

Still, the company is continuing to pursue growth areas, including the cloud. The company on May 7 announced its Helion platform, based on HP's work around the OpenStack open-source cloud orchestration technology, and an effort to build its own platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology called Helion Developer Platform.

HP also is investing $1 billion over the next two years in R&D around the cloud, OpenStack and the Helion initiative.

"Helion is an umbrella brand across all of our cloud portfolio," Kerry Bailey, senior vice president of sales at HP, told eWEEK when the solution was announced. "Not that a brand like Helion will replace the word 'cloud,' but we need to begin to think beyond cloud and what these business solutions do. We need to rise above the whole cloud hype that is pervasive across our whole industry."

On a May 22 conference call with analysts and journalists to discuss the quarterly financial numbers, CEO Meg Whitman said Helion is an example of the innovation that will help HP regain its once-strong financial footing.

"Helion is changing the game in cloud by allowing the integration of public, private, managed cloud and traditional IT environments on an open and secure platform," Whitman said. "We are addressing a major pain point for the enterprise customers with Helion and the early interest has been very positive."

Analysts expect government spending on cloud computing to increase over the next few years. IDC analysts said last year that while government investments in cloud were slowed in 2012 and 2013 due to such federal issues as sequestration, spending on private clouds could hit $1.7 billion in 2014 and grow to almost $8 billion by 2017.