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HP Pulls Plug on Its Public Cloud Business

On the eve of its planned split into two independent companies, Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced that it was shuttering its public cloud business.

The HP Helion Public Cloud will shut down on Jan. 31, 2016, said Bill Hilf, senior vice president and general manager of HP Cloud, in a blog post. "We have made the decision to double-down on our private and managed cloud capabilities," he said.

The move isn't a huge surprise. HP launched its public cloud effort with huge ambitions to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others, but it never gained ground. AWS, Microsoft and Google have established themselves as the largest global cloud infrastructure providers, and while there a number of other major vendors -- including IBM Softlayer, VMware vCloud Air and Rackspace -- they don't currently have the sales, customer bases and scales of the big three.

As it withdraws from the public cloud business, HP will emphasize its HP OpenStack-based Helion platform and CloudSystem private cloud offering. The company will also support customers seeking managed virtual private cloud offerings, Hilf said, adding that HP will have some announcements coming within a few weeks.

"Customer tell us that they want the ability to bring together multiple cloud environments under a flexible and enterprise-grade hybrid cloud model," Hilf said. "In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers."

Hilf added that will include support for Microsoft's Azure public cloud, along with Office 365. HP will also utilize last year's Eucalyptus acquisition to provide access to AWS and will offer PaaS support to Cloud Foundry-based clouds.

Wednesday's announcement comes about a week before HP is set to complete its split into two companies -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (which will encompass HP's servers, storage, networking, services, software, cloud and converged systems) and HP Inc. (notebooks, desktops, mobility, printing, managed print services and graphics). The split is expected to be finalized by the end of the company's fiscal year on Oct. 31.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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