Bill Hilf, Senior Vice President, Product and Service Management, HP Cloud, stopped by recently to discuss what his group at HP is doing. Hilf and I go way back to when I was with IDC and he was with Microsoft. I always enjoy our conversations because he always offers deep insight into open source software, cloud computing, what his company is doing and why.
Bill joined HP from Microsoft over 15 months ago. He was recruited to help direct HP's cloud technology and service offerings.
HP uses the "Helion" brand when talking about the company's cloud offerings, as well as cloud-based applications, such as test and development or "legacy" application cloud migration. Also under that brand, HP will offer Autonomy and Hadoop as application services and a number of storage as a service offerings for data archiving, backup, collaboration and disaster recovery.
When I asked Hilf about the past announcements and why today's offerings are executing on OpenStack, his answer was just about what I expected. From a pragmatic point of view, HP needs to be involved with all of the major cloud offerings, regardless of who the sponsor is if it's going to be able to fulfill its customers' requests. OpenStack, he pointed out, is getting quite a bit of media and customer attention.
HP has always prided itself on its professional services offerings. Cloud, he pointed out, is a place where HP can add significant value.
What's HP focus?
HIlf pointed out that HP want to focus is on enterprise customers rather than try to be everything to everyone.
HP, in the past, was known for careful and deliberate development and support. Unfortunately, this sometimes meant the company produced excellent, full-featured products that were considered very late to market. This gave the impression that HP was an industry follower rather than a leader.
Hilf claims the company has tried to keep a great deal of its careful and deliberate approach, but now is focused on a strategy that is vastly accelerated. Hilf said that he used to think that Microsoft had a fast moving culture, but, in his experience, HP is moving faster.
Is this going to be enough to win the hearts and minds of the industry? That remains to be seen. VMware, Microsoft and Amazon have clear ideas of where they want to go and are working very hard to offer products and services to customers. HP works with those suppliers, but isn't the only supplier of hardware and professional services competing for the business.
The OpenStack community is moving rapidly and nearly every major hardware, software and professional services company is doing something with OpenStack. HP will have to be very clever to get in front of that wave.
It will be interesting to watch how HP acts, what products and services it will offer, and to learn how it is going to fare in the cloud computing market. With Hilf at the helm of its cloud services products, it will likely succeed in its target markets.