Discover 2104: Network would allow enterprises to unite HP Helion deployments across multiple providers

LAS VEGAS – There are many ways technology companies to muscle their solutions into the increasing demand by customers for cloud computing. Hewlett-Packard Co.’s latest effort is to line up service providers around the world behind its platform.

At its annual Discover infrastructure conference here on Tuesday the company announced the HP Helion Network to give Internet providers the ability to create a secure hybrid IT environments for hosting services for enterprises that met local and global requirements.

The goal of the fledgling network, which hopes to launch its first pilot project by the end of the year, is to build an ecosystem of independent software vendors, developers, system integrators and value-added resellers to deliver open standards–based hybrid cloud services around HP’s OpenStack-based Helion cloud platform.

That includes bility to unite Helion OpenStack deployments across multiple service providers, including public cloud, managed and internal clouds.

So far AT&T, Hong Kong Telecom and Intel have committed to the group.

“Global enterprises grapple with a daunting array of cloud products and services across locations, which creates challenges that include security, data sovereignty, interoperability and quality of service,”  Martin Fink, HP’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in a statement. With its partners “we’re building a federated ecosystem that enables organizations to deploy services on the right platform at the right time and at the right cost.”

HP says for enterprises, Helion Network will offer an open, secure and agile hybrid IT environment with no vendor lock-in, which enables workload portability between on- and off-premises environments. By having a number of provides it will also meet regulations regarding local data sovereignty, retention and protection

For its system integrator partners HP says the network will offer the ability to drive new revenue streams and lower costs by offering differentiated cloud offerings that harness HP and partner technology and expertise.

In some ways the announcement is similar to Cisco Systems Inc.’s global Intercloud network, although it is aimed at selling Cisco applications like unified communications. The Helion Network would offer services.

Industry analysts were intrigued. “This is certainly a strong offering for HP,” Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research said in an email.  “It gives the company the ability to enable its service provider and channel partners to sell a wide variety of cloud services that interoperate with one another.  In many ways, it follows in the footsteps of the vision that Cisco laid out with their Intercloud announcement.  What I like about this announcement and Cisco’s Intercloud is that addresses hybrid cloud environments instead of assuming customers will want to migrate fully to the public cloud.  It also takes care of regional compliances issues since customers can leverage in country providers when needed.”

Gartner vice-president of research Neil Macdonald said in an interview that the Helion Network “holds a lot of potential” to build momentum around HP’s cloud platform and OpenStack.

Airlines have alliances, he argued, where passengers can move between carriers. Why can’t that be done for customers in the cloud, he asked.

However, he acknowledged that details are missing and a lot depends on the execution of the concept.

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