HP strengthens backing for OpenStack

Enterprises and service providers looking to investigate private clouds are increasingly checking out the OpenStack open source platform for building cloud infrastructure, which has some big vendors supporting it.

Now Hewlett-Packard has doubled up on its backing.

As part of an announcement putting all of its cloud software products and services under the Helion brand, the company said Wednesday it will release two versions of OpenStack for organizations, for which it will sell optional indemnification from any lawsuits launched for using open source code.

Other enterprise-class OpenStack distributions already come from Red Hat and Oracle.

HP also said that its public cloud service, only available so far in the U.S., will over the next 18 months be offered in 20 HP data centres around the world including Canada, for organizations sensitive to ensuring their data is hosted locally. No data was announced for the Canadian arrival.

The announcements are part of HP’s promise to spend US$1 billion on new open source cloud products and platforms.

The free Helion OpenStack Community Edition is available now, for running up to 30 nodes and 600 virtual machines. “It’s an installation that has been tested by HP, and allows organizations to develop proof of concepts and basic production workloads,” Kerry Bailey, senior vice-president of HP Helion said in an interview.

It will be based on the recently-released Icehouse edition of OpenStack. Baily said Helion OpenStack will be updated every six months.
Support and indemnification is can be bought for $750 a node.
The commercial edition of Helion OpenStack will be out “in a couple of months” which will include the ability to scale to more robust workloads for large scale production and service providers. “We’ve taken all the things we’ve learned from running OpenStack large scale on our public cloud, including how to automate management, and wrapped them into the commercial edition,” said Bailey. “So it can scale to millions of VMs. There will also be tools for provisioning on bare metal and security.”

Pricing of the commercial edition hasn’t been announced.

HP will also offer OpenStack professional services to customers who feel they don’t have the skills to implement the technology.

The Helion OpenStack version will also be pushed forward in other HP products. For example, today HP sells its CloudSystem, an integrated server/storage/networking node that runs OpenStack-based HP CloudOS. That software will be replaced with Helion OpenStack.

Increasingly servers and storage will also include Helion OpenStack, as well as the open source Cloud Foundry platform for developing and managing applications running on OpenStack.

Industry analyst Zeus Kerravala said in an interview that HP’s new OpenStack distributions should help remove some of the resistance organizations have to implementing private clouds. The indemnification is one of the strongest he’s seen, he added, and it also covers HP channel partners. Lawsuits hindered the growth of Linux in its early years, he pointed out. HP’s Bailey also said that’s the reason for the offer. “If customers buy a proprietary solution today they want that company to stand behind it. When it’s open source that’s hard to do.” The indemnification offer is aimed at showing Helion OpenSTack’s integrity, he said.

In cloud “open is the right answer, hybrid is the right answer,” Bailey said, “and our additional spending of $1 billion over the next couple of years in our technology and R&D to make sure we can expand these products is something that will give customers confidence that we’ve very serious about where we’re going.”

On bringing HP’s public cloud to Canada, Bailey said one reason is the interest in the service here. In addition, he added, HP (NYSE: HPQ) wants to go after the possibility of getting cloud business from the federal government.
Ottawa is building out its shared services model for IT, which includes taking advantage where possible of cloud technologies.

“We know the first phase of the Canadian shared service model was to consolidate data centres,” Bailey said. “Now they’re moving into something similar to what we’ve done (with governments) in Bejing, Singapore, U.K. to be a shared service provider and run truly in a cloud environment.”

HP’s integrator and solution provider partners will see benefits from this additional thrust behind OpenStack, he added. Helion OpenStack–based cloud services will be made available through the company’s partner network. It will also enable HP PartnerOne for Cloud partners to deliver and resell OpenStack-based cloud services.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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