Cloud at 'chapter zero' presents opportunities

Full-scale cloud penetration among businesses still low and this gives Hewlett-Packard chance to become one-stop cloud specialist, says exec.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA--The cloud computing market is currently "super immature" and is awaiting massive innovation. As such, Hewlett-Packard (HP) wants to be the cloud specialist providing customers the whole gamut of IT services, from traditional models to private and public cloud deployments, one executive revealed.

According to Steve Dietch, vice president of marketing for cloud solutions and infrastructure at HP, pointed out that in terms of full-scale cloud penetration beyond just virtualizing one's data center, this remains minimal among businesses currently.

"We're in chapter zero of the cloud. [Hence] there's opportunity in front of us and the opportunity for innovation is gigantic," he told ZDNet Asia at a media briefing during the HP Discover conference Wednesday.

One such example could be that as public cloud vendors continually mull over and solve the existing security issues in order to assure and win enterprises over, there could be a point in the future when public cloud services are considered better than on-site, private cloud deployments, Dietch said.

He also dismissed the competition from niche cloud providers, saying HP's "tremendous innovation" and its portfolio of best-in-breed services sets it apart from its rivals.

"If I were a HP cloud competitor, I'd be afraid," the executive said.

Prith Banerjee, senior vice president of research and director at HP Labs, shed more light on the company's innovation roadmap. He said during his keynote speech on Thursday that cloud and security are just two of the many areas it is looking into to develop "solutions for the future".

"It's about [customers] having total confidence in the security, reliability, availability and performance of cloud. HP Labs is enabling cloud infrastructure and platforms you can trust with your enterprise," he added.

Meeting customers' cloud needs
In terms of products, Dietch announced a series of updates to its hybrid cloud delivery strategy. Of these, he highlighted the collaboration with network provider Alcatel-Lucent to integrate HP CloudSystem with the latter's telecoms system, which aims to help telcos create higher-value, differentiated services for their customers.

"This is where you meld IT assets and network assets in a unified, single pane of glass that's easy to deliver," he said.

Dietch acknowledged that the capability is not new to the industry, but what end-users are currently experiencing with such deployments is fragmented, inefficient and costly. "After selecting a service to meet its requirements, [the customer] pushes the 'go' button but that service takes weeks to get processed."

As for cloud systems management, Paul Muller, IT management evangelist for software at HP enterprise business, said the company is focused on providing customers with the ability to manage their software applications with an automated, unified management tool.

The executive said on Thursday during a separate media roundtable that monitoring applications and diagnosing where the problem is located is similar to trying to "solve a mystery with 5,000 clues--it kills the brain".

With automation software, organizations can look beyond the multiple layers of applications, platform infrastructure and network nodes to diagnose the issue, he added.

Jamie Yap of ZDNet Asia reported from HP Discover 2011 in Vienna, Austria.