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HP to launch enterprise cloud service

Firms to be offered computational services from two HP data centers

HP will launch a cloud compute service next month aimed at enterprises.

The company will also start offering computing systems for internal use that will interoperate with the cloud offering, as well as a set of workshops to aid organisations in developing cloud strategies, said Bill Veghte, HP executive vice president overseeing software and solutions.

"HP has the enterprise experience, breadth of portfolio and global service delivery organisation to lead our clients through this transformation" to cloud computing, said Ann Livermore, executive vice president, HP Enterprise Business.

The service, called HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute, will offer organisations computational services from two HP data centers, one located here in the UK at Wynyard and the other in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Customers are free to choose their own specific cloud platform, be it Windows Azure or a virtual machine-based program.

Veghte did not unveil pricing, other than to say it will be based on how many MIPS (million instructions per second) are consumed, in combination of length of contract and amount of services used.

HP will promise a 99.9 percent uptime for servers. The service will also guarantee that, for unplanned outages, virtual machines will be running again within an hour and physical servers will be running again within seven hours.

In conjunction with the debut of this service, the company plans to offer an integrated package of hardware, software and service for building internal clouds, called CloudService. CloudService systems can easily be integrated with HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute, allowing users to switch workloads between an internal cloud and HP's, Veghte said.

These new offerings also tie in with other HP cloud software and services already available, Veghte said. They dovetail with HP Cloud Maps, a set of configuration settings for operating HP blade servers. They will also work with HP's just-released Cloud Service Automation software. This software will allow organisations to move their workloads back and forth between an in-house cloud system and HP's cloud offering.

This is not HP's first cloud-related enterprise offering: Last August, HP launched its CloudStart program, which offered customers the software, hardware and consulting service to build their own internal clouds. HP also works with Microsoft to offer an Azure-based cloud appliance.

This announcement comes ahead of an HP press conference scheduled in March in which HP CEO Léo Apotheker is expected to unveil the company's new strategy. Analysts predict that Apotheker will shift more corporate focus to enterprise software and cloud computing.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Livermore might become vice chairman and join the board of directors, reflecting the greater role that enterprise software and services will play in the company.

See also: Analysis: Why HP changed its board


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