In the March 27 edition of Short Takes, I made mention of a new Cloud system that HP has been working on. Its "Cloud-in-a-Box" system is based on OpenStack OS and open-sourced orchestration and management. Sound familiar? It is. There's no shortage of companies that have developed their own "in-a-box" Cloud system. So, how could HP think that it could stand out in an already immense crowd?
HP has had a tough time with the Cloud – particularly its Public Cloud offering. The company has reorganized its Cloud unit several times over the past couple years. Each time, it has used considerable resources to not only perform the reorganization, but attempt to make its press release different enough from the last to show a reinvigorated spirit and hopefully build some excitement into a potential customer base.
Sadly, it never happened. HP's Cloud offerings just weren't different enough. The recent Cloud-in-a-Box announcement is clear evidence that the hardware company just couldn't keep up and was continually following instead of leading. HP makes good hardware, but its failed Cloud efforts were continually drowning that fact out.
Well, it appears HP may have made its smartest move yet since before it hired Meg Whitman, its current CEO. According to Quentin Hardy of the New York Times, HP may have finally come to terms with not being capable of competing in the Public Cloud sector, which is clearly led by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
To me, this is good news, allowing the company to get back to what its actually good at, and that's making good hardware. That doesn’t mean that HP is out of the Cloud business for good just that it can put its focus for the Cloud in ways it where can actually compete. Every Cloud provider needs good hardware. Due to the lack of focus from long-time hardware manufacturers companies like Facebook have gone out and built their own hardware solutions for the Cloud when companies like HP could have been raking in the partnerships and strategically placing Cloud hardware everywhere.
Many other companies have tried and failed at the Cloud. Dell is another good example. There's a big disconnect when you attempt to take salespeople who know how to sell boxes and try to make them good at selling services and software. It's not a good mix. Even Microsoft is facing a similar issue now, trying to turn software sellers into Cloud sellers, except Microsoft is selling but its customers aren't using what they've purchased.
HP's move is a smart one. Let's hope it continues.