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HP to Field Public Cloud Soon

The widgetry’s been in private beta since September

Come May a better-late-than-never Hewlett-Packard is going to go into the multi-tenant public cloud business à la Amazon's infrastructure-as-a-service according to what the head of HP's cloud services Biri Singh told the New York Times the other day.

The difference is supposed to be more business-ready software with a lot of third-party services, not so different structured and unstructured databases and data analytics-as-a-service.

Naturally the analytics will be coming from HP's Vertica and pricey Autonomy acquisitions.

A year getting cobbled together - shades of Léo Apotheker - and based on the Nova compute piece and Swift object store borrowed from OpenStack, the Rackspace-NASA open source cloud project - the widgetry's been in private beta since September. Apparently it's not supposed to be exclusively self-service, which'll give HP's peddlers and support staff something to do.

Apparently it won't be cheaper than Amazon either. When the paper asked Singh about prices, he reportedly said, "We are not coming at this at ‘eight cents a virtual computing hour, going to five cents.'"

Make what you will of that. Amazon, Azure and Google just cut prices. A rudimentary Amazon can now be had for two cents an hour. How service providers buying gear off of HP react remains to be seen.

Anyway, the cloud revenues will get lost in HP's annual $100 billion revenue haul. Singh told the Times the project is supposed to a showcase for HP's widgetry like its servers. It will be "judged as much on how well it helps other parts of Hewlett-Packard's business as it is on its own revenue. We do everything from laptops to cloud computing," he said. "This will leverage our whole sales channel."

It's supposed to interoperate with the private clouds of HP accounts.

There will be the usual automated remote provisioning and managing, a platform-as-a-service cloud with tools for Java, Ruby, Python and PHP developers and an online store selling and renting apps for the cloud. Judging from what leaked last year there should be authentication, metering, auditing and billing.

Singh told the Times HP wants to create barriers of entry and "make it hard for an IBM or an Oracle or anyone to come in." Of course IBM has shown little inclination to mount a public cloud in the fashion of Amazon. And neither, come to think of it, has Oracle.

HP has reportedly earmarked only two of its data centers to house the venture, both in America, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. Otherwise it will sprinkle little data centers around the globe built around HP's so-called converged infrastructure. It promises replication across multiple availability zones.

The private beta of what is now HP Cloud Services is at www.hpcloud.com. It's using Ubuntu and CentOS to start and the KVM hypervisor. Virtual machines start with an extra-small with one virtual core, 1GB of virtual memory and 30GB of local disk and top out at a double-extra-large with eight virtual cores, 32GB of virtual memory and 960GB of local disk. It remains to be whether the thing runs Microsoft Azure stack as was supposed to.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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