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HP exit leaves the public cloud to a handful of giants

The decision by HP to exit the public cloud business might be part of its pre-split pruning but it also says something about the state of the cloud market

Hewlett-Packard is getting itself into the shape ahead of the split in the business in just a matter of days and is making some fairly major strategic decisions.

Earlier this week the move was made by HP to sell its security operation Tipping Point to Trend Micro for $300m and then it followed that up by pulling the plug on the public cloud offering.

The Helion Public Cloud will close at the end of January next year as efforts are put into the private and managed cloud areas.

Although the announcements say something about the moves HP is making to make sure it has a tight focus on the areas it is expecting growth to come from it does also raise some questions about what is happening in the cloud world.

HP has now followed Dell into exiting the public cloud business as more vendors decide it is not a place to compete unless they are prepared to put some serious resources into it.

Dell exited early back in 2013 as it looked to focus on its core strengths and even with all of the talk around the EMC acquisition it is clear that the horse has bolted on the public cloud front and that is now best left to the likes of AWS, IBM, Microsoft and Google.

The announcement from Bill Hilf, senior vice president and general manager at HP Cloud, about its decision came in a blog post that revealed that the strategy going forward was going to be about integration with other public clouds.

“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. We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform – in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure,” he stated.

What most vendors are also highlighting is that for the foreseeable future the world is going to be a hybrid one and as long as they can deliver the infrastructure for that environment then not all is lost.

In some respects being a broker linking customers into the various public cloud offerings is more of a useful place to be, particularly from a channel perspective where a degree of neutrality is always useful.

“TBR expects HP will take a similar role in public cloud as Dell has, being a broker of partners’ public cloud solutions via a cloud marketplace as well as including partner solutions in broader cloud engagements. Furthermore, we believe HP has been setting the stage for this announcement for some time now with the launch of HP Helion Partner Marketplace in June 2015, the HP Cloud28+ program in Europe which officially went into Beta on September 30th, 2015, and enhancing partnerships around key public cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure and acquiring AWS-based Eucalyptus,” stated some commentary from analyst house TBR.

“We expect to see a reinvigorated partner focus, particularly further entrenching its relationship with Microsoft around Azure and more strategically aligning with leading public cloud providers,” added the TBR analysis of the future.

Read more on Hybrid Cloud Architecture

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Companies vastly under-estimate the experience and capital required to compete in these markets. Google/Azure/AWS are spending $1B+ per quarter to build out cpacity and new services. Unless a cloud provider has a compelling application-centric offering, we'll most likely see them exit the market as well. 
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