HP Tries to Assure the Cloud

 |  Includes: HPQ, IBM
by: Jeffrey M. Kaplan

HP unveiled a new Cloud Assure program this week, in conjunction with SaaScon, which responds to the growing concerns among enterprise decision-makers about the availability, security and performance of today’s rapidly evolving cloud computing services.

I think HP’s announcement is timely because enterprise IT/business decision-makers are interested in taking advantage of the burgeoning cloud computing opportunities, but apprehensive re: the reliability, accessibility and security (NYSE:RAS) of these services. As a result, they’re looking for cloud computing services which give them a greater level of manageability, visibility and control.

HP (NYSE:HPQ) is betting that it can capitalize on its the web monitoring services and skills it acquired in its Mercury Interactive deal, and its corporate brand equity as a network/system management (NSM) vendor to establish a strong position in the cloud computing management market.

HP’s biggest obstacle to success is that it isn’t considered a leading cloud computing vendor and doesn’t have a lot of obvious experience in this market. In fact, HP isn’t even seen as a player in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and managed services markets which are often viewed as stepping stones to cloud computing.

Instead, HP is seen by many as a legacy software and services company who has made a big bet on the past ideas of traditional IT outsourcing with its acquisition of EDS rather than offering a comprehensive portfolio of services and solutions aimed at the new world of web-based services.

For instance, the Cloud Assure offering only utilizes the Mercury Interactive capabilities and doesn’t include its broader OpenView capabilities. Part of the problem is that HP is still trying to breakdown its internal silos to permit a more comprehensive set of solutions and services to emerge.

Until then, the company can be expected to announce a series of ‘point’ programs aimed at addressing various aspects of the cloud computing elephant.

The good news is that the growing involvement of established players, like HP, in the cloud computing market will give conservative enterprise decision-makers greater confidence that it is Ok to consider cloud computing alternatives.

The question is whether HP’s efforts to assert itself in the cloud computing management arena poses a threat to the rapid innovations which are being driven by others in the market, just like the potential threat posed by IBM’s Open Cloud standards initiative.