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The Stack Archive

Anoop Kumar: HP’s vision for Helion in Asia

Wed 15 Oct 2014

Anoop Kumar is the Portfolio and Strategy Sales Leader for HP Helion Cloud, Asia Pacific & Japan based in Singapore, and has worked extensively on solutions like the HP BladeSystem, Virtual Connect, virtualization and automation software.

HP Helion is an ecostructure of services and products, rather than a product, and incorporates (and is interoperable with) Open Source elements. What are the distinguishing characteristics across the range of HP Helion resources?

We’re giving the customer the choice of either building their own cloud, and having it operated by themselves, or having it operated by HP, or consuming it either from HP or our partners. As you said, it’s a portfolio of products all built on OpenStack, and this is one of the key shaping factors for HP Helion.

When a customer leverages the HP Helion portfolio, there is absolutely no vendor lock-in. Today the customer could be with HP and if tomorrow they decide they want to be with someone else, for various reasons, they can easily move the whole cloud across – unlike other platforms in the market where you have a vendor lock-in.

HP believes that in the future it will all be about the quality of service that you provide to the customer. That’s what makes customers stick with us.

Do you see the current diversity of services in the cloud ecostructure consolidating, if only to follow the traditional business model of growing and securing market-share? Will HP Helion retain its commitment to interoperability as it grows in scale and reach?

For the second point, the answer is absolutely ‘yes’. HP will continue to contribute to the OpenStack community. For HP, it’s not about being No.1, No.2 or No.3 in terms of contributions – that’s not the measure we are looking at. Most companies have been successful by contributing to the OpenStack environment, and most companies also learn as a result of that. So HP will continue to contribute to the OpenStack community, and many other open source projects in the future.

Regarding consolidation, I believe that there will be consolidation in the future, and that it will primarily be a lot of the vendors moving into OpenStack. HP was actually one of the first to adopt OpenStack from an enterprise cloud standpoint, and we’ve seen all the others follow suit. Because the trend of consolidation will continue, customers are going to move from one vendor to another – all based on OpenStack.

Can you identify a core vision for HP Helion over the next couple of years, in the same fairly clear way that Amazon and Azure are able to define their own missions?

The core mission for HP Helion is to help Enterprise customers, build, operate or consume their hybrid cloud. The true mission is essentially hybridising, giving the agility and openness and security options to the customer, and to manage a heterogeneous environment. HP does not believe that your workload is only meant for a public environment or only meant for a private one. That will be the key driver for HP in the future.

What are the main points of resistance to adoption of the hybrid cloud, and how are you responding to them? is security the main issue here?

Security is definitely coming up as one of the issues, but there are others – data sovereignty, for example, and also issues related to outages, which we have seen in the past; also compliance and assessment of workloads – which workloads need to sit where. That’s the exact reason that HP is going with the mantra of ‘hybrid IT’, instead of recommending that every workload needs to sit on the public cloud, where you have an issue with security.

Data sovereignty is a very important issue, especially in the government sector. HP is creating partnerships via our program HP Helion Network, where HP partners with local service providers. For instance we partner in Asia with Nxtra, in India, with Hong Kong Telecom in Hong Kong, and a few other service providers, in order to have a local presence. So if a customer in Hong Kong believes that the data needs to reside in Hong Kong, and should never go out of Hong Kong, we would recommend the customer going to one of our service providers, such as Hong Kong Telecom, and hosting the data there, thus giving data sovereignty to the customer.

The other points I mentioned revolve around compliance and the assessment of workload. HP Helion portfolio also includes assessment services, education services and all of the consulting services that the customer would need to make sure that they are putting the right workload in the right environment.

We’d first go with the consulting approach to the customer; we make sure we are doing an assessment of the workload and not just going to the customer and saying ‘Hey, just move stuff from one location to the other’. So those services become critical as part of the workload of the movement to the cloud.

What can cloud vendors do to counteract the negative impact of news stories about cloud security breaches?

I would say that a lot of the media hype on this subject essentially highlights one fact: whether you like it or not, workloads are definitely moving into the cloud. At the same time, having said that, you need to make sure that you manage the outages, and manage the risk associated with moving the workloads. That’s where the right architecture and the right approach is an absolute must. You should never move to the cloud just because there is a mandate to move to the cloud.

So the first advice to customers would be to do a proper assessment of their workload, to understand what the risk and security factors are in that move. Sometimes we end up telling the customer that these workloads are so critical that they may not necessarily want to put them on the cloud. So the assessment and the consulting phase are critical.

Where do Eucalyptus and Marten Mickos fit into HP Helion’s future? Is Eucalyptus to be used as a bridge between the HP Helion open cloud and the OpenStack private cloud?

I can’t comment too much about the acquisition, as it’s still in progress, but I can say that the Eucalyptus team is a great team. They have engineers who are great in terms of hybrid interoperability, and that’s key for HP and we’re also making sure that we’re putting developers first. The team in Eucalyptus are definitely helping us do that.

Marten Mickos is now the HP Cloud general manager, and being a former CEO of MySQL and then Eucalyptus, he brings great strength to the entire team, and this will certainly help the entire HP Helion portfolio.

HP is committed to $1 billion in marketing and development over the next two years – regarding development, what are the emerging areas of cloud where you are keen to maintain, develop or lead the market share?

I would categorise this into three main areas. One is our existing portfolio of cloud offerings, which includes the flagship product of Cloud System, and to continue to make sure that we provide investment protection for the customer.

The second transformation we are bringing is primarily in terms of OpenStack, and our contribution to it, and this is not just in the area of Infrastructure-as-a-Service, but also in the area of Platform-as-a-Service, the area in which we will be launching the HP Helion Development Platform, which is built on top of Cloud Foundry.

The third-biggest area of investment is primarily around the HP Helion Network. The HP Helion Network is essentially an ecosystem of service providers, completely governed by the charter members, who are the service providers, to help create interoperable workloads, from one service provider to the other.

For the customer, what HP will provide is a simplified interaction with HP, a single go-to-market motion, and to develop consistency and dependable outcomes, so you don’t have to approach multiple people within HP, but just a single point of contact for all cloud-related business.

Government undoubtedly wants the economic and logistic advantages of the Cloud, but recent news suggests tremendous scepticism on the part of government IT leaders. What are the challenges that HP Helion and Cloud vendors in general face in meeting the strictures of government IT requirements?

From a government standpoint I think that two things are happening: one is that most governments are adopting a cloud centre – if you look at the Australian market, the Singapore market and now the Indian market and the Japanese market, they are all building and adopting a ‘cloud first’ approach, a ‘cloud first’ strategy.

Data sovereignty remains a very big issue for most governments. HP has been working on GCloud for the past few years, and in fact we have a great success story where HP have worked with the Singapore government to build the Singapore GCloud. This was not done as a standalone initiative between HP and the [Singapore] government. The most important thing when doing any sort of G-Cloud is really the triangulation of Service Provider (in this case SingTel), Singapore Government, along with HP and the ISV ecosystem. The client relation includes HP, the government, the service provider, and of course the entire ecosystem of ISV partners.

We believe that this is the success mantra for us to win in any GCloud market. We’ve learnt a lot of best practice as a result, in terms of ‘How do you deal with data outages?’, ‘How do you deal with data sovereignty issues?’, ‘How do you deal with security issues?’. We would want to essentially take all of these best practices, leverage it and work with other governments to build the GCloud.

What new integrations or features are we likely to be seeing in HP Helion OpenStack Community edition in the near future?

In terms of the near future, you’ll be seeing a lot of integration regarding High Availability, and a lot of integration with the new release, which is coming up, which is the new Juno release for OpenStack, including some of the Neutron functionalities, you’ll be seeing a lot of integration with the internal monitoring tools, and of course a lot of integration into the central logging, searching and the analytics part of it.

A lot of the stuff that we’re doing in terms of integration into the OpenStack environment we want to contribute back to the OpenStack community, and that will be the key primary driver. At the same time we also need to make sure that we are releasing the latest and the greatest releases back to the OpenStack community, as part of OpenStack community relations.

I think another very important aspect of HP Helion is working with our channel partners. A lot of HP’s business is primarily through our channel partners, system integrators, and of course working in collaboration with our software vendors and ISVs.

There are a lot of initiatives that we are putting in place, including programs such as our PartnerOne program, where we are helping to enable our channel partners to build, manage, as well as be a service provider for cloud. So we want to make sure that in the journey to success in cloud we are bringing along all our partners as part of the journey as well.

Extra reporting by Alice MacGregor

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