Several days after HP seemed to announce that it was going to stop offering public cloud services, the company is now stating that it will continue to offer its OpenStack-powered Helion public cloud.
In a blog posting, HP's SVP of Helion Product Management Bill Hilf now states that "a quote of mine in the media was interpreted as HP is exiting the public cloud, which is not the case." When asked for clarification, HP public relations simply replied, "Bill's quote was interpreted as HP is exiting the public cloud, which is not the case. HP's commitment to its cloud strategy remains unchanged since our launch of HP Helion nearly one year ago."
This turnaround comes six days after The New York Times reported that Hilf had said, "We thought people would rent or buy computing from us. It turns out that it makes no sense for us to go head-to-head."
The Times assumed, as did everyone else covering the story, that this meant that HP was no longer going to compete with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, or the other public cloud giants. At the time, HP did not reply to ZDNet's request for more information about HP's cloud strategy change .
This isn't the first time HP has sent mixed messages about its strategic plans. In 2011, HP announced that it was going to leave the PC market. Michael Dell at the time quipped that they could always call the PC spin-off business Compaq. As we all know, HP decided not to leave the PC business.
Today, Hilf reaffirmed that "HP operates one of the largest OpenStack-based public clouds" and it's not going away. He added, "The HP Helion Public Cloud provides us with the unique ability to develop and test our technologies at significant scale, contribute IP [intellectual property] back to open-source communities, and leverage that expertise to benefit our customers. Our Public Cloud Services are also used by customers that require them as a component of their overall cloud and hybrid delivery strategy."
As for HP's public cloud rivals, Hilf played the compatibility card: "Of course, developers and IT operations increasingly want a variety of services and options, often driven by cost and resource availability. In addition to our own public cloud, enterprises often use a combination of providers, such as: AWS, Google, Azure and Alibaba. We believe the ability to support and integrate different public cloud environments and services is an essential part of hybrid delivery for the enterprise."
Hilf concluded his main theme : "Today, we are building a portfolio of offerings in support of hybrid delivery for enterprise internal service providers, including the ability to partner with public cloud providers - spanning pure public clouds, telecom providers and local managed services companies. We are not doing pure public cloud only. We are not changing our strategy."
Personally, I'm still confused. Did HP had second thoughts because they heard loud and clear from customers and partners that they wanted a HP public cloud option? Or, did Hilf simply fail to speak clearly the first time? If it's the latter case, why did HP wait so long to clarify the company's public cloud message? The delay can't possibly help HP's cloud marketing.