HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

Summary: HP CEO Mark Hurd is big on cloud computing, but acknowledges its limits. For instance, HP "wouldn't put anything material in nature outside the firewall.


HP CEO Mark Hurd is big on cloud computing, but acknowledges its limits. For instance, HP "wouldn't put anything material in nature outside the firewall." The message: The cloud has its place, but there's a vast difference between private and public computing.

Credit: Larry Dignan

Hurd's talk, a Q&A with Gartner analysts David Cearley and Donna Scott at the IT Symposium, came amid a weak enterprise technology spending forecast for 2010, the integration of EDS and a scrum over the architecture of the next-generation data center. Hurd chose to stand during the interview and dabbled on a white board to make his points.

The HP chief covered a lot of ground, but his comments on cloud computing were the most interesting. Here's a guy who was speaking as a CEO running a massive company that happens to sell infrastructure that'll revolve around cloud computing.

Hurd said he was talking to CEOs about the cloud and representing the tech industry overall. He got jeers. Simply put, the term cloud computing isn't so clear. CEOs want it broken down into more tools, said Hurd. The disconnect occurs due to business users that don't quite follow cloud computing and vendors that view the technology as an attractive model.

The company plans to layer cloud services on its infrastructure in the future, but there will be a vast difference between private and public clouds.

"It's a very attractive model that can drive a lot of innovation into the market," said Hurd. But there are hurdles. CEOs do question the cloud sometimes and you can add Hurd to that club. For instance, if HP CIO Randy Mott had a big idea and wanted to put general ledger and accounting in the cloud Hurd said he "would send him back to work."

Hurd clarified that the difference is between internal and external cloud. "We have 1,000 hacks a day and I can't tell you why, but they keep showing up. We wouldn't put anything material in nature outside the firewall," said Hurd.

On other topics:

  • Catching IBM. Hurd said "he doesn't follow them that closely" in an obvious joke. Hurd said HP will compete on a combination of products and services. "You can't do any part of the stack as a hobby," said Hurd. The buzzwords: "Integrated capabilities." Hurd pointed out that if HP sold off its PC business---"not saying that we would"---you lose scale. "Even if you don't like the margins you better be prepared to go all in," said Hurd, in a not-so-veiled dig at IBM.
  • Credit: Stephen Shankland, CNet News

    Credit: Stephen Shankland, CNet News

    On Oracle-Sun. Hurd said he expects HP to be a great partner to HP no matter how the Sun deal works out.

  • HP's focus will be services on vertical industries and the processes aligned with IT, said Hurd. Oddly enough, Oracle and IBM both target vertical industries like financial services and telecommunications.
  • Hurd said the company is trying to improve its customer experience and make it easy to buy from HP.
  • Hurd said he wants HP's software business to be larger, but wasn't going to put a number on market share. He noted that HP's software business is the sixth largest in the world. Analytics and automation are central to the software business and the primary focus. "In that context, we clearly want to be number one," said Hurd. HP will focus above the database level on analytics and data modeling.
  • The role of the CEO is strategy, the operating model to execute that strategy and finding the people to deliver it. "You have to get those three core things right to make it work," said Hurd.
  • Hurd ducked the culture theme when it comes to HP. He noted that an old HP saying was that if it creates great products customers will find them. Hurd put an addendum to that saying highlighting his approach. "We also want to sell them too," said Hurd.
  • HP's vision beyond devices. At its core, HP is a $68 billion dollar supply chain. Networking, PCs, servers, storage are all part of the mix. "These markets have very different characteristics," said Hurd. "We see converged infrastructure." Hurd talked up software and services as layered capabilities on top of the core. "One of services biggest assets is the software business," said Hurd, who noted that the company's business is to be an infrastructure company.
  • On HP's brand messaging, Hurd said the company is moving up the brand ratings. Innovation and trust is at the core of the HP brand, said Hurd. The game plan for HP is to continue to interrupt the status quo in the verticals where it plays. Hurd's big plan is to provide an integrated stack, a goal that's popular these days (IBM, Oracle and others for instance).
  • The company's IT spend. Hurd walked through HP in 2005 when the company had a bloated IT budget. Hurd said that the company had more IT people than sales people and too many data centers and applications. IT spend is now down 42 percent. "I hate to make this sound simple," said Hurd. "This caused us a lot of unpleasant conversations." Processes were revamped and "we met the apps in the middle."
  • The company has 2,000 apps today, down from about 7,000. Hurd said the goal is to get HP down to 1,000 apps to run the business.
  • Is it a disadvantage to focus on the IT customer instead of the business customer? Hurd said that the EDS deal changed that. Part of the value HP can provide is aligning business and IT so CEOs can carry out plans. "When CEOs say they have bad IT it's more likely that there's a bad CEO than the IT department," said Hurd.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Security, Virtualization

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  • Now here's a ringing endorsement of cloud computing...

    ..."HP "wouldn?t put anything material in nature outside the firewall." "

    Sure gives one confidence, doesn't it?

    And this company is trying sell people on the cloud...but its CEO doesn't trust it? Nice. :-(
    • He's a smart guy...

      It's nice to finally hear from a CEO who has looked past the manic obsession with "the cloud" to see the cold hard reality. Businesses who use the cloud will STILL need to maintain their important data internally, if they want to minimize their risk. So, rather than split budgets trying to implement BOTH, why not just focus on minimizing the costs associated with your internal data practices. This should be obvious to anyone who has given it real thought. Hurd obviously has.
  • Translation: We make a lot of money selling overpriced, under utilized

    servers to stupid customers that still want to do it
    themselves when it is not their line of business.
    • You're confusing them with Apple Donnie

      Oh and I have a HP server running MS SBS 2003 for our main internal server and it's been running fine for 2 years.

      • .

        I don't think he meant they didn't work, but that they're overpriced and under-utilized. There are less expensive solutions out there. That said, anyone that trusts their data to "the cloud" is a FOOL. Linux on an old PIII-500 anyone?

        : o )
        Jack-Booted EULA
  • The cloud will ruin privacy.


    This is just one example and you can bet if you store any private data in the cloud it will end up for public consumption. I'm sure competitors will welcome you using the cloud.
    • Yes because...

      Your TCP/IP address is known to no one but yourself, the web server where you just posted your message couldn't possibly have recorded anything and the 48 bit unique identifier known as a MAC (Media Access Control) address associated with your Ethernet controller couldn't possibly be seen by anyone but you, never mind that some software has used this to generate keys and/or embed it in documents. You're on dialup you say? You call into a bank of modems all of which are intended for anonymous users? Must be nice.

      Anyway, you keep believing in your privacy.

      I got news for you - privacy doesn't exist if you participate in the wired world.

      'Nuff said,
      • (NT) It can exist,If your really into encryption.

        : o )
        Jack-Booted EULA
      • Privacy is necessary in the business world.

        In 'consumer space,' Google can get away with selling your data, I'll concede, but in 'business space,' that's a recipe for disaster: suppose there's an employee performance review embedded into a Google Doc...suppose there's mention of a harrassment case that needs to be kept under wraps, or it'll ruin the company. Suppose you've got a GMail letter with payroll data inside it, say, an SSN and an employee's checking account number. Suppose you've got, in the Google cloud, sensitive customer complaint correspondences...maybe a customer complained about an engineering defect that you'd rather Google not divulge to the masses or to the press. Maybe your customer data on Google's servers might expose your customer to stalkers, the IRS, to political embarrassment, or even to criminal assault (your customer just bought your $20,000 big screen TV and a Google-sniffing burglar would love to know the exact address of that juicy morsel).

        I can think of a hundred other reasons...privacy is good business. If you can't trust the cloud in that regard, it's worse than useless to you.
  • Hurd is talking out of his a**

    HP recently acquired EDS. The downside of cloud computing for large consulting organizations is that it will drive prices DOWN and *will* eat into lucrative consulting projects when companies wake up and start using cloud computing like the electrical grid. In a word -- commodization. HP has never been a vanguard in any software space and Hurd can't admit he doesn't have anything in the cloud computing space.

    Likewise Balmer recently called Amazon's cloud computing efforts a curiosity:


    Yeah sure Steve-o, that's why Electronic Arts is only "curious" when it wants to pay $250 million for the PlayFish social gaming site all of which runs on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). You keep on eating your own dogfood and tell me in 10 years where that got you.



    My 2 cents,
  • Comments should be read by all those

    who trust Google with all their personal information. Millions let Google know everything about themselves . . . until they get hacked.
  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

    I'm sure CEO's will be glad to hear that HP's Hurd thinks "if they have bad IT it's the CEO not IT."

    There is lots of good IT and some bad IT out there. A CEO's job is to make sure that he's getting the good IT he needs and is paying for. Not by being a great technical genius (there are a few CEO's like that, but it's not a job requirement), but by being a great visionary and manager.

    Note: not understanding the opportunity of the new cloud computing model, private and public, is a sign of an IT department that is not staying up to date with technology, clearly one of its job.
    • Is "cloud computing" really new?

      To an old programmer like me, "cloud computing" is yet another word for stuff that's as old as the hills...

      On the Seinfeld sitcom, cast members perused that salsa was popular just because people like to say the word "salsa." I think "cloud computing" as a phrase has that certain cache to it, too...it's really a 'cool-sounding' buzzphrase! Now, if they called it by its old names (client-server, mainframe-terminal, etc.), all the hype would go away overnight.
  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

    Information in this seems connected. Don't expect any rain from this cloud, its just hype and proponents of this architecture will turn out to be white elephants soon.


  • Partner?

    Did he really say, "Hurd said he expects HP to be a great
    partner to HP..."? If that's what he said, then I should hope
    he's right! ;-)
  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

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  • Don't move key business operations to someone else's servers!

    Yes, there are uses for so-called cloud computing, which is really nothing new: it's mainframe/dumb-terminal in a modern hyped-up wrapper. I suppose the phrase "client-server" looks old now, too...so they call it "cloud computing" to give it a certain ring.

    No firm invests in host servers without some prospect of a quid pro quo: Google, with its Chrome and Android, with its 'cloud' servers,...Google expects to use your data to make $$$, big time. That means selling it to someone, or bombarding your workers with endless ads....

    Why all this fussing over a stripped-down Linux distro that's not even complete and won't be for another year? Chrome offers less, not more, yet all the Google hypesters would have you believe that it's going to make the sun set in the east.

    Yesterday, I turned two of my cheap systems into dual-boot Ubuntu 9.10 and Win 7 Home Premium machines (one a laptop, the other a desktop both combined worth less than $500). For less than what you'll pay for a Chrome system, I get all Google's stuff, plus lots of Ubuntu stuff, plus lots of Microsoft stuff...I get more for less. You can too. Chrome does offer Google stockholders the possibility of monopolistic control over the PC space; it's designed to bring eyeballs to advertisers. Which is what Google is really about: it's a marketing company, not an IT firm. But, ask yourself, what does that do for you...not very much.

    Google used to be somewhat useful, but, today, its search results are overwhelmed with advertising flotsam and jetsam. Its Google Docs apps are weak compared to MS-Office and OpenOffice. And, GMail competes with similar offerings from Yahoo and Microsoft...it's not a big deal. Google is not going to run your mission-specific business apps for you, either: it'll do a few primitive business functions...you can do simple spreadsheets and simple letters on Docs, but, again, that's no big deal. Expect Google to sell that data to advertisers or to the NSA or to the IRS,...do you really think Google works for free? Then, there's that GMail outage recently...what if an outage grinds your business to a halt?
  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

    Everything has a limit, just a matter of how you take advantage of it to fit into your needs. You will never find or invent a thing fits everyone's need.
  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

    I cannot believe that there are people expect Cloud computing to a solution to everything. It certainly can do a lot of things for you.

  • RE: HP's Hurd: Cloud computing has its limits (especially when you face 1,000 attacks a day)

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