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HP talks clouds, diamonds and tiaras

Drawing up magical kingdoms in old Vienna

High performance access to file storage

The pitch is that HP software, used by customers for their own infrastructure, will smoothly transition to being used by cloud service providers. One example cited is HP's Quality Center v10 software, based on the technology acquired with Mercury, which is used to manage and test software applications and has now been developed to support web 2.0 and service-oriented application delivery, suitable for cloud applications.

A second example is software based on the Opsware acquisition, now called the Universal Configuration Management Database (UCMDB). This, according to Steen Lomholt-Thomden, a marketing veep at HP "is the secret sauce that links everything in IT to how it impacts the business - one view of the truth". It provides automated discovery of infrastructure elements and applications, change management, system health monitoring, automated release management and incident and problem management. It's an IT operations management suite and HP is pushing its use as an efficiency raiser and cost-saver for IT, and as another infrastructure tool for cloud service providers.

No glamour, no sexing up

This software is not glamorous or sexy, but every IT department developing applications and running a data centre is a potential customer for it. As they transition to providing cloud services themselves or as new cloud service providers spring up, the requirements on the cloud infrastructure to be reliable, robust and deliver a predictable quality of service will make this infrastructure software even more necessary. That's the HP view anyway, the HP way to cloud services.

We should envisage this software being used by cloud service providers as a horizontal layer above their physical data centre servers, storage and network boxes. If HP does begin to use its own EDS data centre infrastructure to offer cloud services then there's this software ready to be used to manage and optimise the processes, there's the EDS data centre operating expertise, and there's the whole panoply of HP servers, blade servers, storage kit and ProCurve networking gear that can be used.

It's an organised and pretty - and pretty solid - Lego building block approach to cloud computing services. There's going to be no big bang approach, no all-or-nothing big switch, and no dramatic Microsoft Azure-like catch-up race, cloud data centre hardware and software build-out. Instead HP sees a controlled and executed evolution or transition. No Google-like rush to hyperscale data centres, no Amazon-scale cloud unreliability, instead ordinary and undramatic enterprise data centre predictability and reliability on the far side, behind the cloud's presentation layer.

This is HP's feet-on-the-ground approach to cloud computing and it might, as the fabled tortoise did, pad patiently past the hares sprinting into the distance at the moment. HP will be hoping that customers like this story, are reassured by it, and go with the Hurd instinct. ®

High performance access to file storage

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