On May 9, 2011 I had the pleasure of attending HP Canada’s Analyst Day, hosted at theirCanadian headquarters. HP trotted out some pretty impressive numbers, backed by a pretty clear strategy of where the company is headed over the next 18 months.
We all know HP completed the 3Com acquisition 13 months ago – that means HP stopped selling Cisco networking equipment, which is not an insignificant event. Since April 2010, HP has managed to keep their services revenue close to flat despite switching en masse to selling HP Networking equipment, and HP Networking revenue is up 182% year over year. Everywhere else, HP has seen revenue numbers jump by double digits except for their Business Critical Systems where it was flat. HP now maintains over 10% market share in networking, making it a strong business again and demanding plenty of R&D dollars.
That revenue jump is partly due to HP’s new CloudSystem. CloudSystem is similar to VCE’s VBlock – basically a data center in a box. Converged Infrastructure with a revamped BladeSystem Matrix (now CloudSystem Matrix) layered over top for management. The nice thing about HP CloudSystem, compared with VBlock, is that you get your choice of hypervisors – use KVM, Xen, Hyper-V, or even VMware. HP has a vision of being a “cloud enabler,” rather than locking you in to a specific platform.
One great part of the CloudSystem stack Cloud Maps – a level of automation that makes it easier to deploy applications. Cloud Maps are pre-configured templates for building application stacks, including workflows, making it easier to deploy complex software, like SAP or Oracle, on CloudSystem. HP threw out numbers like reducing provisioning time by 80%, and reducing compliance management time by up to 75%. If you can get anywhere near that, that’s a huge win.
The CloudSystem stack also includes all the things you expect from a compute cloud like a service catalog, orchestration, provisioning and monitoring. HP runs a series of workshops to help you learn how to do all of this well, along with providing services to do it for you.
Of course, a key part of HP’s future is webOS. It spent a pretty penny on Palm and need the purchase to pay off. I spent 20 minutes with a TouchPad, and will write a separate blog entry about webOS.
Overall I think HP has a very clear strategy for enabling cloud computing. I didn’t get the impression they were spreading themselves too thin, and HP has the ability and capacity to enable every piece of software to run in any kind of cloud. What matters now is how they execute that strategy – communicating it, getting buy in, and then shipping them to paying customers. It’s going to be a very interesting 2011 and 2012 if HP makes it happen.