HP, Microsoft ink cloud partnership

Redmond will offer Exchange, SharePoint and Office 365 as key applications for bundling with Hewlett-Packard's private and hybrid cloud computing offerings in four-year collaboration.

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have agreed on a global, four-year deal to deliver Redmond's communications and collaboration applications via the latter's private, public and hybrid cloud services.

In a joint press release issued Thursday by both companies, HP's enterprise services division and Microsoft said: "[The partners will offer] private and public cloud solutions designed to help organizations rapidly scale new users, shift IT resources from maintenance to innovation and change IT from a capital to operating expense."

As part of the agreement, HP will provide Microsoft's Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 and Lync Server 2010 as part its Enterprise Cloud Services, delivered as a private cloud service from its global network of data centers.

For hybrid deployments, the IT vendor will resell Office 365--Redmond's collaboration and productivity tools--with the Enterprise Cloud Services. HP will push Office 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online services hosted publicly via Microsoft's data centers.

These offerings will launch later this month, with initial availability in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States, the companies revealed.

"Large organizations, particularly those in regulated industries like financial services and public sector, have demanding functionality and service level requirements," said Brandt Faatz, vice president of workplace services at HP's enterprise services, in the statement. "HP and Microsoft help meet these needs with a flexible range of global, cost-efficient, cloud-based productivity solutions running on the latest technology," he said.

Mark Hill, Redmond's vice president for enterprise partner group, added that this alliance with HP would broaden the software giant's geographic reach and give customers maximum flexibility to choose a cloud computing deployment that meets their "specialized messaging and collaboration needs".

Vendor competition in the cloud computing arena has been heating up. Software vendor, SAP, last weekend bought SuccessFactors, maker of cloud-based employee management software, for US$3.5 billion to reboot its cloud strategy, while IBM also opened its wallet and parted with US$440 million to acquire Web-based analytics software company DemandTec on Friday.


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