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HP Debuts Helion, Invests $1B in Open-Source Cloud Tech
HP Debuts Helion, Invests $1B in Open-Source Cloud Tech

By Jennifer LeClaire
May 7, 2014 10:34AM

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As part of its Helion rollout, HP is making a $1 billion investment in OpenStack. To convince customers to deploy OpenStack, HP has also put in place an indemnification plan to protect “qualified customers” using HP Helion OpenStack code from third-party patent, copyright and trade secret infringement claims.
 



HP is betting over $1 billion on a portfolio of open-source cloud products and services that work to help enterprises build, manage and consume workloads in hybrid IT environments. It’s called Helion and it brings something old and something new to the CIO’s tool chest.

Indeed, HP’s Helion puts the company’s current cloud offerings in a bag with new OpenStack technology-based products, then peppers in professional and support services. Altogether, the technology giant hopes to fill the bill for IT departments with specific business requirements.

“Customer challenges today extend beyond cloud,” said Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer at HP. “They include how to manage, control and scale applications in a hybrid environment that spans multiple technology approaches.”

Choosing the Best Deployment Model

HP is positioning Helion as a solution that helps enterprises choose the best deployment model for their needs -- and see the greatest return on their investments.

As part of the Helion rollout, HP is making a huge financial commitment to OpenStack, a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a data center. HP is a founding member of OpenStack and has run OpenStack cloud services at scale in enterprise environments for more than three years.

HP is also investing in hybrid IT delivery across traditional IT, public, private and managed clouds. Over the next two years alone, HP plans to invest more than $1 billion on cloud-related product and engineering initiatives, professional services and expanding HP Helion’s global reach.

Important: Indemnification

We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the Helion cloud portfolio. He told us what turned his head most was the indemnification aspect of the announcement.

HP’s OpenStack Technology Indemnification Program promises protection for “qualified customers” using HP Helion OpenStack code from third-party patent, copyright and trade secret infringement claims directed to OpenStack code alone or in combination with Linux code.

“It’s fair to say that HP has been among the most aggressive companies pushing OpenStack. It’s also fair to say that OpenStack adoptions are fairly light,” Kerravala said. “Much like we had a number of lawsuits 10 years ago or so around Linux code violations, some customers are afraid the same thing could happen with OpenStack. HP has put in place an indemnification plan so customers can feel free to deploy OpenStack without worrying about lawsuits down the road.”

As he sees it, this type of indemnification is a bold move but also one that may be necessary for OpenStack’s growth. At the same time, he noted, there is some concern among large customers that HP is creating its own distribution with CloudStack. Specifically, the concern is there may be too many distribution channels. Customers are going to have to choose between HP, Red Hat, IBM and others.

“That is something to keep in mind. Customers are going to have to choose a path and work on the interoperability issues down the road,” Kerravala said. “The good news for customers is that those companies, especially HP and IBM, tend to focus more on service than the code itself. That should give some assurance that interoperability will be there.”
 

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