Hewett-Packard (HP) has finally revealed details for its new massive cloud program, which has been generating rumors for weeks. HP is calling the new bag of services the Converged Cloud, and the name signals HP’s plans -- a unified architecture for all flavors of the cloud -- public, private and managed.

The New Converged Cloud

Almost every major technology provider has some sort of cloud strategy, service or offering. It’s almost so common that a new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering doesn’t warrant a tweet and certainly not a news story. So, why did we spend 30 minutes speaking to HP’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Services Biri Singh about HP’s new cloud offerings and why should you care? What HP is doing is, well, massive.

According to Singh, HP’s Converged Cloud is about providing users a cloud solution for all of their needs, which honestly sounds like marketing hype until you examine the breadth of what HP is offering:

  • HP Cloud Services -- A public IaaS offering that provides on-demand compute instances or virtual machines.
  • HP Cloud Maps -- Provide pre-built templates for configuring a cloud environment (For example if a customer wants to set up their environment to host Oracle, they can do it in a few clicks using Cloud Maps).
  • HP Service Virtualization 2.0 -- Provides a simulated/virtualized cloud environment that allows users to test or performance tune cloud-based applications without impacting production.
  • Virtual Application Networks -- Speed cloud application deployment by using pre-configured templates that define the required network resources.
  • Enterprise Cloud Services -- A service offering that provides outsourced management of private clouds.

As well as a handful of additional services and products. Converged Cloud is a big mix of products and services that could allow a customer to never leave HP’s comfy cloud, which is probably exactly what HP wants.

Industry observers might be positioned to criticize HP’s one stop cloud shop as anti-competitive or risky due to vendor lock. However, HP’s Converged Cloud is built on OpenStack, the open source cloud platform started by Rackspace and NASA, now backed by dozens of vendors.

The OpenStack-based core should give customers some flexibility to move between vendors, but if a customer deeply embeds HP’s value added services into its architecture, the move won’t be easy (which is true for almost every other cloud vendor). HP’s new consolidated cloud architecture is likely as much about HP streamlining its operations (remember the printer and PC consolidation) as it is about consolidating cloud decisions for its customers.

What’s Next for HP’s Converged Cloud

According to Singh, HP will begin rolling out its initial offering, including HP’s public Infrastructure-as-a-Service, in public beta mode on Thursday, May 10. Customers will be charged on a pay per use model, which requires no contracts. Beta customers get a 50 percent discount off all charges associated with HP Cloud Services for a limited period of time.