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HP talks cloud delivery options, the importance of OpenStack, how it competes on price

John Dix, Brandon Butler | Nov. 26, 2014
An in-depth conversation with Bill Hilf, Senior Vice President of Product and Service Management for HP Cloud, about where Helion fits in, cloud consumption models and coming change.

So what they're trying to do is take a first step into the cloud, but they are typically encumbered by a tremendous amount of existing IT or security requirements or other business or industry constraints. We have a customer, for example, who just did a few acquisitions, some of which have used public clouds. Their business policy doesn't allow the use of public clouds so now they have to repatriate those resources back inside their firewall. So we deal with a lot of people who are building private clouds first.

Private cloud on their premise?

Yes.  The other big sweet spot for us are service providers and telcos.  And there's a few reasons for that.  One, telcos in particular are very open-source oriented.  And two, many service providers and telcos are massively threatened by the public cloud vendors.  So, if you are a telco or service provider in, let's say Europe or Asia, Amazon and Google can be really threatening, not just because of their cloud businesses, but because of the whole value chain, all the way down to the device.  So they want to 'OEM' our public cloud technology because they need to build a competitive offering to an AWS or Google in their markets.

In the enterprise, how critical are network advances such as software defined networking and network function virtualization in supporting this whole hybrid vision?

Frankly, the network is either the enabler or the bottleneck in most cloud deployments because so much of a horizontally scalable distributed system are deeply tethered to network capabilities. So when you start moving to 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 to 100,000 nodes in a system, the network architecture becomes increasingly critical. In our distro of Helion OpenStack we make sure our networking functionality is great upstream in Neutron, which is the network component inside OpenStack, but we also need to be pluggable with other SDN controllers, with VMware NSX, with our own HP SDN, etc. And down the road we'll have to be pluggable with others that emerge because there won't be one SDN to rule them all, even though I'm sure some vendors would love to have that control point, but it's just not realistic.

This is one of the challenges of building commercial open-source products: you have to have as much value as possible without ripping out the flexibility that customers were originally interested in with open source, or without tainting that because it's very easy to go too far one way or the other where it becomes a Swiss Army Knife. It's good at a whole bunch of things but not really good at any one thing. Or it goes the other way and becomes extremely proprietary and you kind of lose the reason why you built on open source overall.


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