HP's Bill Hilf hits back at public cloud exit reports

Several days after first denying its exit from the public cloud market, HP issues a blog post to put paid to the speculation for good

HP has reinforced its commitment to the public cloud, while – once again - categorically denying that it plans to exit that part of the market.

The hardware giant’s senior vice-president of cloud product management, Bill Hilf, has published a blog post setting out its cloud strategy. This came after the New York Times published comments of his last week suggesting HP could bow out of the public cloud market for good.

“In the past week, a quote of mine in the media was interpreted as HP is exiting the public cloud, which is not the case. Our portfolio strategy to deliver on the vision of Hybrid IT continues strong,” Hilf wrote.

“We are building a portfolio of offerings in support of hybrid delivery for enterprise internal service providers, including the ability to partner with public cloud providers – spanning pure public clouds, telecom providers and local managed services companies.”

And this, he said, has always been HP’s preferred way of doing things in the cloud: “We are not changing our strategy."

Read more about HP cloud

  • HP has dismissed reports that it’s planning to exit the public cloud market, after one of its senior vice-presidents admitted the supplier has given up trying to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
  • HP has reinforced its commitment to the hybrid IT delivery model with the release of an update to its enterprise-focused, Openstack-based Helion cloud platform.
  • HP wants to make the move to private cloud quicker and easier for enterprises by providing them with preconfigured, open-source technology packages built using its server hardware from April 2015.

Public cloud confusion

In the New York Times, Hilf was reported to have told the publication that HP always assumed it would be battling it out with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft in the public cloud, but the reality turned out to be slightly different.

“We thought people would rent or buy computing from us. It turns out it makes no sense for us to go head-to-head,” he said.

As reported by Computer Weekly last week, Hilf’s comments were broadly welcomed by the analyst community, with many applauding its decision not to compete directly with the giants of the public cloud market.

In the wake of the publication, HP issued a fierce rebuttal in the form of a statement to the press, but the emergence of this further blog post suggests its intent on ensuring the user community is left in no doubt about what its cloud stance is.  

Open-source and hybrid-cloud portfolio

As such the blog post reiterates HP’s commitment to building out its portfolio of open-source and hybrid-cloud offerings, many of which fall under its Helion brand, and the important role public cloud has to play in this.

“HP operates one of the largest Openstack-based public clouds. The HP Helion Public Cloud provides us with the unique ability to develop and test our technologies at significant scale, contribute IP back to open source communities, and leverage that expertise to benefit our customers,” the blog post continued.

“Our public cloud services are used by customers that require them as a component of their over cloud and hybrid delivery strategy.

“The bottom line is HP Helion offers customers choice across hybrid delivery models: public, managed (hosted) or private.”

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It would be helpful if HP could keep this internal debate to themselves and give one official statement to the markets. Having their executives publicly debate if their business is viable, or what the definition of "cloud" might be, isn't a great look for the markets to interpret.  
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