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HP and SAP: What we need is a MASHED UP cloud

'We've moved away from doing it cheaper' (Thank god)

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CCWF2012 The next step in cloud computing is to mash up all the different clouds hanging about with traditional IT systems to give one big mixed-up cloud, SAP and HP both insist.

Sven Denecken, SAP AG's VP of strategy and co-innovation cloud solutions and Christian Verstraete, chief technologist of cloud strategy at HP, were sharing their companies' cloudy visions at the Cloud Computing World Forum yesterday and seemed to come up with pretty much the same conclusions.

The hybrid cloud – or converged cloud if you're over at HP – is the way forward, where the stuff on your desktop at work, on the internet, in your personal Dropbox and anywhere else you can think of, is all somehow melded together into one seamless UI for employees.

Things are changing for businesses and the biggest consequence of globalisation and the current economic and financial instability is the speed with which companies need to be moving.

Denecken said in his presentation that a recent Saugatuck Technology survey of CIOs and business leaders showed two-thirds of them agreeing that the long-term benefits of the cloud were greater flexibility and agility.

"We've moved away from the idea that cloud allows me to do things cheaper," Verstraete said. "Now it's cloud allows me to do different things… to respond to the market more quickly."

Denecken got the edge on Verstraete for actually demoing SAP's idea of this UI on (of course) an iPad, which pulled in sales and financial information, as well as chatrooms and other work stuff in handy little boxes.

He said another big part of SAP's cloud strategy was for everything to be mobile, because that's the way that the users wanted it.

"I don't want my travel expenses only in the office," he said, "I want it on my phone, my tablet as well."

Both SAP and HP make the point that people were driving companies into the cloud whether they liked it or not and their use of the internet and personal accounts for business was part of why the cloud needs to be mashed up.

"Shadow IT starts in the public cloud and eventually goes backwards," Verstraete said. "If you don't give your users what they need they'll get it themselves and then you need to see how that data is exchanged, if it's protected, is it still yours even?

"The CIO ends up being responsible for a lot of things he can't control."

But despite how comfy users are in the cloud, neither company is really convinced that we'll all end up in a world without boxes. That's fine for web companies like Pinterest, but not really the most complete solution for regular businesses.

That means that traditional IT and all the different clouds have to be brought together to give users an easier life. And all the complexities of integrating the various different applications and softwares need to be out of view, the tech bosses said.

"You end up getting a lot of things packaged together that might all be in different places somewhere and all of them are going to need different resources," Verstaete said.

"As a user, I don't want to know any of that background."

Denecken agreed, saying that SAP's mixed cloud is looking for a "consumer-like user experience" with mobile at the forefront. ®

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