Earlier this week, HP signalled its intent to push further into the cloud services market, introducing a hybrid platform and bringing its cloud service provider partner program to Europe.
The IT giant hopes to make its server, storage and software infrastructure the bedrock of public, private and hybrid cloud services delivered by telcos, service providers and enterprises themselves. However, its cloud ecosystem remains relatively underdeveloped compared with rivals like EMC.
This week (30/11) saw enhancements to HP's CloudSystem Matrix cloud platform and new partners for its CloudAgile service provider program. The company is partnering with Savvis, the cloud-hosting subsidiary of global telco CenturyLink, to provide bursting options for companies with private on-premise cloud services which occasionally need to provision extra IT resources on demand, as and when they need to.
"The end user or customer actually chooses where to deploy the service, it could be in a public cloud environment or split between public and private according to capacity," Iain Stephen HP vice president of enterprise storage, servers and networking for the UK and Ireland told Computing.
"When you run out of capacity it automatically bursts out to another service provider and also manages billing," he said.
The move echoes a broader trend towards the provision of hybrid cloud services by service providers looking to tempt nervous corporates into migrating applications and workloads into a hosted infrastructure with assurances around data security and reliability that public cloud services cannot satisfactorily provide.
"Most people are buying private [on-premise architecture] cloud now, but the beauty of the hybrid cloud is that it gives them the option to test more open [public] cloud offerings, like bursting Microsoft SharePoint for example," said Stephen.
"Security is not a problem as long as you carefully define who you are bursting to, and that is down to the partners in the CloudAgile program," he said.
HP also offers a Cloud Protection Program designed to authenticate users and processes in a hybrid cloud environment, offering "the same level of security as a private IT environment would receive", said the company.
Cloud service provider Rackspace introduced a private cloud platform based on the OpenStack reference architecture this month [November], for example, as did data centre company Equinix. This demonstrates that these providers are all jostling for a share in a potentially lucrative market for private and hybrid cloud service provision.
HP's CloudAgile service provider program was launched in July this year , but only for US partners. HP says it has now signed up 16 European partners, though few are telcos or cloud service providers – most, like Kelway or Prolinx, are hardware or software providers.
"The original CloudAgile partners are service providers in that they do simplistic web hosting and more manageability rather than virtualised offerings," said Stephen. "Then there are the full service providers such as CapGemini and Atos Origin."