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HP: Enterprise customer experience gives edge over Amazon's 'consumer' cloud

Matthew Finnegan | April 15, 2013
HP can stake a bigger claim in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market by creating an enterprise-friendly rival to Amazon’s ‘consumer’ cloud, according to the head of the firm’s Converged Cloud unit, Saar Gillai.

HP can stake a bigger claim in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market by creating an enterprise-friendly rival to Amazon's 'consumer' cloud, according to the head of the firm's Converged Cloud unit, Saar Gillai.

HP is in the process of reimagining itself in what it terms the 'new style of IT', with its traditional businesses are coming under threat while attempts to move into new areas such as the Autonomy acquisition have proved problematic.

Targeting cloud revenues is top priority for CEO Meg Whitman, as the company attempts to find other avenues of growth says Gillai. According to HP figures, total cloud-related revenues, including sales of cloud services and hardware used to setup clouds, were almost $4 billion for 2012, and this is targeted to double by 2015.

However, while the IaaS market is expected to grow rapidly - with revenues up 47.3 percent this year according to Gartner - the large, traditional IT suppliers lag behind, particularly in comparison to Amazon Web Services' (AWS) scale and breadth of services, while the market gets more crowded.

Gillai told ComputerworldUK that the creation of the Converged Cloud business - a pan-HP unit to lead on the delivery of projects across its public, private and managed cloud and traditional IT businesses - is a key element of reforming the company.

"HP is investing a tremendous amount of effort into this, people, revenue, focus," Gillai said. "I talk to Meg and Bill [Veghte] daily about these things and it is definitely seen as a very critical piece, because it goes across all four businesses."

Gillai argues that there are greater concerns for CIOs than cost as enterprise customers move more mission critical workloads into public clouds, and the ability to draw on HP's relationship with enterprise customers - many of whom have had some form of relationship with the company, Gillai says - will be key as the IaaS market grows.

"We are not competing with Amazon - I am not going after the non-SLA, all-you-can-eat, very cheap stuff. Not because we can't do it, but because there is only so much you can do and we are focused on enterprise," he said.

According to Gillai, as the cloud market matures, enterprise customers are more likely to focus on confidence in the secure delivery of cloud services, whether through SLAs or the openness of architecture.

Although analysts have scrutinised HP's SLAs in the past, it is an area where it can offer an alternative to Amazon.

"You are going to see over the next few years, and we have already started seeing it, that there will be a fragmentation of public cloud," he said. "People are going to have tiering, they are going to want public cloud that has these security capabilities, and they are willing to pay for that. Enterprises are looking for solutions, not adventures."


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