HP CEO Mark Hurd is big on cloud computing, but acknowledges its limits. For instance, HP "wouldn't put anything material in nature outside the firewall." The message: The cloud has its place, but there's a vast difference between private and public computing.
Hurd's talk, a Q&A with Gartner analysts David Cearley and Donna Scott at the IT Symposium, came amid a weak enterprise technology spending forecast for 2010, the integration of EDS and a scrum over the architecture of the next-generation data center. Hurd chose to stand during the interview and dabbled on a white board to make his points.
The HP chief covered a lot of ground, but his comments on cloud computing were the most interesting. Here's a guy who was speaking as a CEO running a massive company that happens to sell infrastructure that'll revolve around cloud computing.
Hurd said he was talking to CEOs about the cloud and representing the tech industry overall. He got jeers. Simply put, the term cloud computing isn't so clear. CEOs want it broken down into more tools, said Hurd. The disconnect occurs due to business users that don't quite follow cloud computing and vendors that view the technology as an attractive model.
The company plans to layer cloud services on its infrastructure in the future, but there will be a vast difference between private and public clouds.
"It's a very attractive model that can drive a lot of innovation into the market," said Hurd. But there are hurdles. CEOs do question the cloud sometimes and you can add Hurd to that club. For instance, if HP CIO Randy Mott had a big idea and wanted to put general ledger and accounting in the cloud Hurd said he "would send him back to work."
Hurd clarified that the difference is between internal and external cloud. "We have 1,000 hacks a day and I can't tell you why, but they keep showing up. We wouldn't put anything material in nature outside the firewall," said Hurd.
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