Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) has significantly elevated its efforts to become an indispensable full-service supplier to cloud computing aspirants, especially telecommunications, mobile and Internet service providers.
At Software Universe in Hamburg, Germany, HP Wednesday announced three new offerings designed to enable cloud providers and enterprises to securely lower barriers to adoption and accelerate the time-to-benefit of cloud-delivered services.
Timing here is critical. As the end users of cloud services seek flexible infrastructure, IP voice, unified communications and call center automation, cloud providers need a fast-track to such low-risk cloud capabilities. HP is also wasting no time as it competes yet more broadly against Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) in the race to become the mainstream means to cloud services.
Among the new offerings:
- HP Operations Orchestration, which will automate the provisioning of services within the existing infrastructure, allowing businesses to seamlessly increase capacity through integration with such things as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (NASDAQ:AMZN). Look for other public cloud providers to offer this as well.
- HP Communication as a service (CaaS), a cloud program that will enable service providers to offer small and mid-size businesses services delivered on an outsourced basis with utility pricing. CaaS includes an aggregation platform, four integrated communications services from HP and third parties, as well as the flexibility to offer other on-demand services.
- HP Cloud Assure for Cost Control, designed to help companies optimize cloud costs and gain predictability in budgeting by ensuring that they right-size their compute footprints.
Cloud Assure was introduced by HP last Spring, and Wednesday's announcement moves it to the next level. Neil Ashizawa, manager of HP's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Products and Cloud Solutions, recently spoke with me about Cloud Assure for cost control. He told me:
"When we first launched Cloud Assure earlier this year, we focused on the top three inhibitors, which were security of applications in the cloud, performance of applications in the cloud, and availability of applications in the cloud. We wanted to provide assurance to enterprises that their applications will be secure, they will perform, and they will be available when they are running in the cloud.
"The new enhancement that we're announcing now is assurance for cost control in the cloud. Oftentimes enterprises do make that step to the cloud, and a big reason is that they want to reap the benefits of the cost promise of the cloud, which is to lower cost."
He then explained how Cloud Assure for cost control works:
"Cloud Assure for cost control solution comprises both HP Software and HP Services provided by HP SaaS. The software itself is three products that make up the overall solution.
"The first one is our industry-leading Performance Center software, which allows you to drive load in an elastic manner. You can scale up the load to very high demands and scale back load to very low demand, and this is where you get your elasticity planning framework.
"The second solution from a software’s perspective is HP SiteScope, which allows you to monitor the resource consumption of your application in the cloud. Therefore, you understand when compute resources are spiking or when you have more capacity to drive even more load.
"The third software portion is HP Diagnostics, which allows you to measure the performance of your code. You can measure how your methods are performing, how your SQL statements are performing, and if you have memory leakage."
These HP-driven means to attain cloud benefits sooner than later come in response to recent surveys in which industry executives clearly stated a need for more flexible computing options in the face of uncertain economic times. They want to be able to dial up and down their delivery of services, but without the time and cost of building out the capital-intensive traditional delivery models.
The market is also looking to cloud services -- be they on-premises, from third-parties or both -- to provide:
- Elasticity – the ability to rapidly respond to changing business needs with automated provisioning of cloud and physical services
- Cost control – by optimizing efficiency and gaining predictability of costs by ensuring cloud compute resources are “right sized” to support fluctuating business demands
- Risk reduction – through automated service provisioning that reduces manual errors, non-compliance snafus, and downtime of business services and processes.
I think HP has correctly identified a weakness in the SaaS and cloud markets. In many cases, applications and productivity services came to market first, but lacked the enterprise-caliber infrastructure, management, and auditing and fiscal control mechanisms. Now, HP is bringing these traditional IT requirements to the cloud domains, and making them available to the large market of existing providers.
The cloud horse is now in front of the cart, which means the providers can do their jobs better, and more end users can adopt secure cloud services in ways that reassure their managers and adhere to their governance policies.
Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.