HP announced in a blog post this week that it is exiting the public cloud, shutting down its HP Helion public cloud product on the last day of January.
You may recall that Bill Hilf, HP SVP and GM, HP Cloud, made a similar pronouncement in the New York Times in April, then backed off the statement a few days later. Seems it was true after all, but he had simply let the cat out of the bag too soon.
Regardless, this is a move that makes absolute sense for HP, given its poor market share and the challenges it would have faced trying to leap over the top-tier companies, especially AWS, Microsoft, and Google (never mind the next level with IBM, Rackspace, and others).
HP never seemed to fully embrace the public cloud aspect of its cloud strategy, and it's absolutely necessary to be fully engaged in this market. AWS is the clear leader with Microsoft a distant second, and without a total commitment it was never going to work.
As though to prove that, Hilf wrote that as part of the new strategy, the company would be supporting these leading public cloud vendors:
"For customers who want access to existing large-scale public cloud providers, we have already added greater support for Amazon Web Services as part of our hybrid delivery with HP Helion Eucalyptus, and we have worked with Microsoft to support Office 365 and Azure," Hilf wrote in his blog post.It's not that the company is getting out of the cloud market. It will still be trying to sell OpenStack and work with companies trying to implement a hybrid cloud approach — just like everyone else.
The old hybrid cloud strategy
If you've been paying attention, you'll note that a big reason for the $67 billion Dell-EMC deal was Dell's desire to get into the hybrid cloud market. Meanwhile, IBM has been trying to take a similar approach for several years, with not so great results so far.
In fact, the company has seen its revenue fall for 14 straight quarters. Not all of this is due to its cloud strategy, of course, but it is a perfect example of a company (that hasn't given up on the public cloud part) trying to make the same kind of transition without great results to show for it.
Everyone seems to have figured out the cloud is the future of computing. Now the traditional vendors are seeing it, too, but they are hoping that by fueling a hybrid market they can play both ends against the middle, selling hardware to the data center and services for integrating that equipment with the cloud.
It's not a terrible idea, at least for the short term, but with every vendor running after the same business, there are going to be winners and losers like anything else. And HP is going to have its work cut out for it.
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