Hewlett-Packard Kicks Off Big Cloud Drive

HP's Converged Cloud is the company's latest cloud venture.

Hewlett-Packard’s latest cloud initiative seems tailored to challenge Amazon, Microsoft and other companies in the space.

The HP Converged Cloud unites products such as HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Converged Management and Security, Converged Information and hardened OpenStack technology. It offers new ways to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure, including HP Public Infrastructure as a Service, which will debut in public beta May 10.

“The convergence of cloud computing and mobile connectivity is changing the way infrastructures are built, applications are developed and information is delivered,” Bill Veghte, chief strategy officer and executive vice president for HP Software, wrote in an April 10 statement. He suggested that HP Converged Cloud would enable businesses to “create a seamless hybrid environment” of public, private and managed cloud services.

HP’s other new portfolio offerings include HP Enterprise Cloud Services, an outsourcing service for private-cloud management, and Cloud Maps, a selection of prepackaged application templates for creating customized application services.

HP’s cloud push comes at a particularly transitional moment in its history. In August 2011, then-CEO Leo Apotheker announced a strategic realignment that included the purchase of enterprise IT provider Autonomy for more than $10 billion. He also killed off the then-nascent TouchPad (an iPad competitor that ran the webOS mobile operating system acquired along with Palm) and publicly considered selling HP’s PC-manufacturing arm.

Had Apotheker executed his vision, HP would have evolved into more of a services company along the lines of SAP. However, widespread criticism and a plunging stock-price led to his ouster in September 2011. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman took the company’s reins, immediately moving to reassure employees and investors that HP would right itself.

First she announced that HP would continue to manufacture PCs in-house. Then the company moved to consolidate its printing and PC divisions, among other bits of corporate streamlining. A foray into cloud services—the hot, sorta-new thing for many IT companies—seems like a next logical step in that progression.

In plunging into the space, HP will find itself battling toe-to-toe against a number of seasoned competitors, including Amazon (which offers substantial cloud-computing power and storage for businesses) and Microsoft (with its “all in” cloud strategy, and products such as the Azure cloud-services platform). The big question is how HP will leverage its existing assets in hardware and software to push its cloud vision.

Image: HP