HP's Cloud Assure Looks to Compete Against Google, Amazon, Sun

Hewlett-Packard announces a software-as-a-service offering for the business community that integrates security, performance and availability applications and analytics into a complete package. Microsoft, Google, Sun Microsystems, Amazon and other major companies are also competing with HP within the cloud computing space, as the enterprise continues to embrace the concept as potentially the way of the future.

Hewlett-Packard further increased its presence in the cloud computing space with HP Cloud Assure, a software-as-a-service offering that incorporates a variety of security, performance and availability applications and analytics. In doing so, HP moves deeper into a competitive arena also occupied by Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Sun Microsystems and other players.

The HP solution is available starting on March 31. The company declined to mention a specific price point, except to say the solution will be available for one price on a ratable basis.

HP Cloud Assure integrates HP Application Security Center, HP Performance Center and HP Business Availability Center as SAAS. The solution scans networks, applications, middleware layers and Web applications for security threats; it also boosts performance by ensuring that cloud services meet end-user bandwidth and connectivity requirements.

Through the monitoring of cloud-based applications and analysis of performance issues, HP also hopes the solution will provide an increased amount of service uptime.

HP envisions early adopters of the product falling into three categories: startups, midmarket and lines of business within companies. "Startups, all their IT is running on a series of SAAS providers, and their actual business is run on cloud services hosted by a third party," Robin Purohit, vice president and general manager of Software Products for HP Software & Solutions, said in a March 31 presentation. "Midmarket is driven for efficiencies and look to the cloud as a way to simplify their IT environment."
The third category, lines of business within companies, can utilize cloud solutions as a way to work both with and around their central IT.
HP has been taking cautious steps into the cloud.
On Feb. 10, the day after IBM announced its cloud computing development and marketing strategy, HP noted that there was still much work to do to make the cloud dependable and secure.
Nonetheless, HP has been developing technology for the cloud even before the March 31 announcement, including the development of open-source cloud computing test beds along with Intel and Yahoo.
"I don't think from HP we're going to see a delivery system like Microsoft's Azure," Robert Mahowald, an analyst with IDC, said in an interview, referring to Microsoft's cloud computing platform and SAAS provider currently in testing. "But among the customers they had in trial [for Cloud Assure], getting more and more people to use the SAAS applications within the organizations ... it's assurance that HP is bringing to those organizations."

"I think HP's primary message is that their company's challenge is the broad adoption of SAAS services within businesses," Mahowald added.