This week HP announced it was taking a plunge into cloud services with a selection of public and private offerings and a dab of consulting and training too.
This would on its face appear to be part of the new vision brought forth by the latest HP CEO, Meg Whitman, who was hired last September to replace failed CEO Leo Apotheker, who was brought on board a year earlier to clean up the mess left in the wake of the Mark Hurd sexual harassment scandal.
No, it’s not just you. There has been a revolving door in the CEO’s office for the last two years at HP and the once stable company has been left in disarray as a result.
Yet for all its machinations in the boardroom and the C-suite, HP appears to be doing what Apotheker, the man you may recall they fired, planned to do. In fact, according to a March 14, 2011 New York Times article, his plan would involve building out its software business and expanding into the cloud.
Sound familiar? It probably should because this package of services is pretty darn close to what Apotheker described just over a year ago.
The package unveiled this week includes a smorgasbord of cloud products and services for your enterprise viewing and consumption. It starts with a generous helping of Platform as a Service for those of you who want to leave the heavy lifting to HP. You want to build a private cloud with a menu of services for your users? No problem, HP is happy to oblige with a Cloud Map product to help assist with this type of deployment.
HP can also help with virtualization and training and work with your engineering team to help them understand the cloud better.
That the new CEO is trying to to fulfill the vision of the man the Board of Directors fired, seems strange to me. If Apotheker was heading in the right direction, what was the point in firing him, and if he wasn’t, why continue along the same path?
Unfortunately, HP under Whitman is no less confusing and bewildering than it was under Apotheker and even Hurd toward the end (who was undone less by his vision, then his affair).
But regardless of whose vision it represents, it is a step in the right direction. HP should absolutely be selling these types of services, but it needs to pick a plan and stick to it.
In fact, HP probably should have been in the cloud a lot sooner than this, but with all of the changes at the top, the vision thing got a bit muddled.
Perhaps this is the first step toward stability for HP and a new vision for the company. Its hard to know what will happen to the printer and PC divisions at this point, but heading to the cloud is at least a step in the right direction. And perhaps they’ll find the stability that has been eluding them in recent years.
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I suppose it was just a matter of time before this happened, but just the other day I came across a concept I hadn’t seen before: cloud brokers. As the name implies these companies help facilitate the sale of cloud services.
The idea is that these brokers sell cloud services piecemeal. You can buy storage service, for example at one price from one vendor and buy server space on another, and here’s the good part:
According to an article on Government Computer News, you can change vendors on the fly as your circumstances or the prices change. This idea of no vendor lock-in has to appeal to Enterprise IT departments who are still suspicious of cloud services.
Great idea for a business, I guess, but isn’t the whole idea of the cloud to make these types of decisions easier and not require a third party to help?
In theory that’s true, but in actual practice having someone to help find the best deals or sift through the myriad of choices isn’t a bad approach on its face.
But the trouble is that choosing a broker could become as complicated as choosing a cloud vendor on your own. That’s because according to an article on CIO.com called The Role of the Cloud Broker; lots of companies *say* they’re cloud brokers, but they’re really just cloud vendors selling cloud products and services.
That means you have to sift through the broker choices to separate the real brokers from the cloud service sales people. Confused yet?
This is getting a bit silly because the cloud was supposed to simplify things for IT, making it easy for anyone to buy some services and pay for as much as you need. Unlike typical IT buys where you have to go through layers of sales process, cloud services are supposed to be much easier, but now it seems we’ve complicated it to the point that we need brokers to help us sort through it.
Then I guess we also need consultants to help us find the real brokers.
Does your head hurt?
My advice: Don’t over-think this
The Cloud isn’t supposed to be complicated. Find the vendors in the area you want, choose one and sign up. It’s that simple. Of course, you want to do your due diligence about things like up-time, security and the ability to get your data out, but don’t go crazy thinking you have to replicate the old way of doing business and hiring brokers and consultants to help you. Chances are if you have some common sense, you can do this on your own.