​What the heck is HPE up to with its cloud?

HPE's cloud story remains complicated. While the company has left the public cloud behind, it will continue to offer its OpenStack-based Helion 3.0 as a private cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

I'm confused. HPE's cloud story has more plotlines than Game of Thrones, but without anything like as much action.


Most recently, HPE closed down its Helion public cloud. HPE CEO Meg Whitman had reason. The Helion public cloud simply wasn't that good.

In addition, as Bill Hilf, SVP and GM of HP Cloud, said when he announced that the company would be sunsetting its Helion public cloud, "Customer tell us that they want the ability to bring together multiple cloud environments under a flexible and enterprise-grade hybrid cloud model. In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers."

The easiest way for HP to do this would be to use HPE Eucalyptus and Amazon Web Services (AWS). After all, Eucalyptus is best known for being compatible with AWS application programming interfaces (API). It's the bridge between private and hybrid clouds and AWS.

What did HPE do? HPE quietly announced, at barely over a whisper at OpenStack Summit, that it would be releasing HPE Helion OpenStack (HOS) 3.0. For those of you keeping score at home, HPE now has Helion OpenStack 3.0, an infrastucture-as-a-service (IaaS), cloud and HPE Helion Stackato, its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud. When HP puts them together, you get the HPE Helion CloudSystem. Finally there's Helion Eucalyptus, HPE's AWS compatible hybrid and private IaaS cloud.

While Eucalyptus 4.1 now enables firms to build clouds on AWS, that's not really the kind of top of brand change I'd been expecting from HPE. I don't know why we're not hearing more about Eucalyptus. I guess we'll find out more in the next episode.

In the meantime, HPE OpenStack 3.0 is based on OpenStack Liberty. Mark Interrante, HPE Helion's SVP of engineering, said it has a "strong focus on enabling greater flexibility in configuration and deployment. With HOS 3.0, we expand hypervisor support to include Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) KVM support for compute nodes as well as adding the ability to run multiple hypervisors in the same cloud. HOS 3.0 also introduces Boot from SAN support to enable customers to leverage existing investment in blade environments, and expands bare metal support."

HOS 3.0 also includes security improvements to support Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). It also now encrypts data communications between internal and external APIs.

Interrante added that "we have also focused heavily on fundamentals -- specifically, performance and scalability. We have doubled our out-of-the box scalability to 200 compute nodes per region and have achieved higher levels with the support of our professional services teams."

So, for now, it appears Helion OpenStack is still -- sort of, kind of -- HPE's top cloud. Just don't ask for it to be a public cloud. That ship has sunk.

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