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HP Cloud 28+ enters beta and introduces self-certification scheme for providers

Hewlett-Packard (HP) gears up to launch its Cloud 28+ service catalogue in December 2015, talking up the opportunities it presents for European providers

Hewlett-Packard's’s bid to create a Europe-wide one-stop cloud shop has moved up a gear, with the introduction of a self-certification system for providers that want to sell their services through it.

Dubbed Cloud 28+, the initiative was formally unveiled by HP in March 2015 after a year of preparation, and is geared towards driving adoption of off-premise technologies across Europe by providing users with a centralised catalogue of cloud services.

HP claims this will help make it easier for commercial and public sector organisations to adopt cloud – as they can consult the catalogue before embarking on a deployment, to find a provider and service that fits the bill.

Speaking at the Cloud 28+ in Action event on 30 September 2015 in Brussels, Xavier Poisson, Emea vice-president of HP Converged Cloud, marked the beta launch of the project by talking up the attention it has garnered in other parts of the world looking to replicate what HP is trying to achieve.

Similarly, the cloud provider community has also thrown its weight behind it, he continued, helping the firm exceed its target of having 200 services listed through it by September 2015.

“We had a dream in March that the catalogue would be live in September and we would have 200 cloud services in the catalogue for this meeting,” he said.

“Not only is Cloud 28+ live, but it is hosted by one of the members and we have 320 cloud services.”

In light of this, Poisson said the aim now is to have 600 services listed on the catalogue by the time of its official go-live date in early December.

Turning his attention back to the problems providers face when trying to do business with users in other countries, he claimed it can cost up to €9,000 to ensure a service does not infringe on local laws.

And it’s those kinds of financial and legislative barriers to doing business across borders, Cloud 28+ is looking to eradicate, he said.

“I’m hoping to generate what all of us are working for everyday. That’s employment and to generate growth. That’s the ‘why’ of everything we’re doing today with Cloud 28+.” 

Cloud 28+ self-certification scheme

Every cloud provider, reseller or independent software vendor (ISV) that secures a listing on the portal can now have their offerings rated via Eurocloud’s Star Audit system – a move HP claims will make it easier for users to pit one firm’s offerings against another.

Eurocloud board member Tobias Höllwarth told attendees the rating system should streamline the procurement process by providing users with certified assurances about the quality of the services they provide.

Otherwise, providers can find themselves repeatedly fielding the same questions about security and uptime, from users trying to work out whether or not to trust those suppliers with their data.

This results in slower and more expensive cloud procurements, driving up the costs of doing business.

“Answering the same questions again is boring and is not generating business,” he said.

Read more about HP's Cloud 28+

For smaller firms – that don’t have access to dedicated IT, legal or procurement teams to guide them through the process – knowing which provider to go with can be fraught with challenges.

“They need to buy cloud services as they may have a big competitive disadvantage if they don’t,” he said, adding that the rating system should accelerate the buying process for them too.

The EC Digital Single Market

Cloud 28+ initiative has drawn parallels in the past with the UK government’s G-Cloud scheme, and – in the light of that programme's success – on the continent, attention has focused on recreating a similar cloud services procurement portal for European public-sector users.

Similarly, what HP is trying to achieve with Cloud 28+ fits in quite well with the European Commission’s Digital Single Market initiative, which seeks to create a single marketplace for digital services within the European Union (EU).

Speaking at the event, Francisco Medeiros, deputy head of the software and services and cloud computing unit at the EC, said that – while the organisation could not directly endorse the work HP is doing with Cloud 28+ – such initiatives had an important role to play in supporting the EC’s cloud goals.

“This is indeed a promising and enriching initiative that has the potential to substantially contribute to the development of the European cloud services market and will provide opportunities for small and large cloud service providers,” Medeiros said.

"Of course, we – as the commission – are not in a position to endorse specific market initiatives but, in general terms, I can tell you initiatives like Cloud 28+ and others are key, in our view, for the establishment of a competitive market for cloud services.”

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