HP, enterprise giants fill up OpenStack bandwagon

HP says its OpenStack approach will be true to the kernel, but will that pitch be enough to differentiate it from the other enterprise vendor bear hugs of the cloud platform?

Enterprise technology giants have aligned behind OpenStack, an open source cloud computing platform, and Hewlett-Packard is just the latest to hop on the bandwagon to integrate the software across its product line.

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The big question is when these vendor efforts will filter through data centers and hybrid cloud deployments.

OpenStack, an effort first championed by Rackspace and NASA, has made great strides, but production deployments on a large scale have been hard to find. There are many pilots in the field.

HP and its Helion cloud lineup aim to change that equation. HP will invest $1 billion in cloud computing and drop OpenStack in 20 data centers over the next 18 months.

In many ways, HP's riff on Wednesday about the cloud sounds familiar. First, there's an OpenStack foundation so vendors look like they aren't locking you in. Then there are technologies around Openstack---sold by hardware, software and services vendors---to optimize deployments.

Add it up and the pitches all revolve around hybrid cloud deployments where enterprises meld their own data centers with public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services. HP promised that its OpenStack distribution would be "true to the kernel" and indemnify customers from any intellectual property liability.

"Like Linux in the enterprise we believe OpenStack will do the same thing for the cloud," said HP CEO Meg Whitman. HP aims to make Helion OpenStack tested, supported and easy to install. The company launched a community edition for proof of concepts and basic workloads.

HP will then surround its OpenStack with its hardware and data center applications. OpenStack will also be in the middle of its own cloud services, which will compete with Oracle and IBM to challenge Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Consider the following OpenStack vendor hugs:

It's clear that the enterprise IT landscape has aligned behind OpenStack. What's muddled is whether one stack around OpenStack---blue from HP and IBM, Oracle's red stack or some other combination---emerges victorious and threads that needle between selling hardware and becoming a cloud juggernaut.

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