UK-based infrastructure takes the fight to Amazon and Rackspace
HP is making its biggest move into cloud computing with the introduction of private and public cloud infrastructure and services hosted in the UK.
Unveiling Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute, the company said the new technology allows UK businesses to store and process data in HP datacentres in hosted private clouds or in a multi-tenancy public cloud environment.
"We see a lot of customers who are nervous about going in a big leap all the way to put mission-critical apps out in the cloud and be multi-tenanted - that seems big and scary. We see a lot of people who are looking at perhaps a shorter step initially, perhaps a private cloud where they are not multi-tenanted," David Chalmers, HP's UK and Ireland CTO of enterprise servers, storage and networking, told silicon.com.
According to Chalmers, organisations can use infrastructure-as-a-service functionality similar to that offered by Amazon Web Services, but can also adopt a more sophisticated platform-based approach to run large-scale mission-critical applications.
The technology supports the Windows, Red Hat and Suse Linux operating systems, and HP's UX platform will be added in the next few months.
Citing customer feedback about the importance of the geographic location of customer data, HP has made its cloud services available in two UK-based datacentres in the North East.
"[Customers will] get to the point where they say: 'Tell me, where is the datacentre? Can I come and see it? Can I actually look at the technology that will be supporting my business? I need to know for either compliance, regulation or simply for trust where, physically, the data is'. And that's why we've put datacentres in the UK, to provide those services," Chalmers told silicon.com.
Rather than providing cloud infrastructure for customers, HP has, until now, focused more on helping firms develop inhouse private cloud technology, but is now branching out with its Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute technology.
"Unlike a lot of companies that leapt in, announcing all sorts of cloud-based services last year and even before, we spent a lot of time talking to customers, talking to partners looking at our own research, looking at what we've been doing for quite a long time. And one of the things we worked out was that having a single answer for every single problem is just not going to work," he said.
As well as its cloud infrastructure, HP has launched software to cater for a hybrid infrastructure approach, which it describes as the use of on-premise technology, internal and external private clouds and public cloud computing.
With HP CloudSystem, the company has updated its Blade System Matrix automation and management technology to make it more suitable for use with cloud technology.
HP CloudSystem allows businesses to provision services and manage security, governance and compliance across various cloud and non-cloud systems. The technology is also able to integrate non-HP technology that businesses might already be using.
HP has also stepped up its customer education programme with its Cloud Discovery Workshop, which provides businesses with information about cloud computing and how they can benefit from it.
Experts predict that 2011 will see a significant increase in activity in cloud computing as businesses take advantage of the greater flexibility and efficiency provided by the technology.