HP joins Australian private cloud race


Global technology giant HP has signalled its intention to strongly enter the Australian market for private cloud services, in the wake of prior moves by competitors Telstra, Optus, CSC and Fujitsu.

The company’s chief of its Enterprise Services division (formerly EDS), David Caspari (pictured) will next week make a rare appearance before journalists in a briefing on the company’s plans to launch what it calls “HP Utility Services” in Australia. Caspari will be flanked by David Fox, the head of Utility Services for the division’s South Pacific region, which includes Australia.

Utility Services is a label that HP has started applying to a complex set of services, which sees the company manage infrastructure and even some pieces of the application layer for customers, in a model which is similar to some services being badged ‘private cloud’ by its competitors.

“We manage the transition and hosting of selected applications on an HP-owned and managed infrastructure,” the company’s global web site for the offering states. “You maintain ownership and management of your application while offloading application operations and infrastructure management to HP.”

As with most private cloud models and cloud computing services in general, HP’s Utility Services model allows customers to increase or decrease the amount of compute power that they are consuming, as well as being delivered by a standardised set of underlying infrastructure.

Globally, HP offers applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SAP and operating systems (HP-UX, Linux and Windows) under the model.

It remains unclear exactly what sorts of services HP will provide in Australia under the Utility Services banner. However, the company has also recently confirmed plans to invest millions of dollars in a major new datacentre in Sydney’s Eastern Creek locality, which could eventually play a role. The AustralianIT has reported the centre will take about 12 months to build.

The briefing will represent one of Caspari’s first public outings since he was appointed in October 2008 to lead the local HP division which was formed from the acquisition of IT services giant EDS.

At the time, Caspari — a Harvard Business School graduate who had led sales in HP’s technology solutions group for two years before the EDS role — faced a number of challenges in the business he inherited.

After the acquisition, HP carried out internal restructuring which resulted in redundancies and union attention at the new HP subsidiary. And since that time, EDS has lost several major portions of its long-term comprehensive technology outsourcing contract with the Australian Taxation Office, although HP retained the portion of the work dealing with the ATO’s ‘centralised computing’ resources — its datacentres, mainframes, servers and so on.

HP’s entrance into the local private cloud market also comes at a time when non-traditional players such as the nation’s largest telcos Telstra and Optus have already placed their stake in the ground when it comes to cloud computing. Both telcos have already signed up customers to their cloud offerings — in the form of companies like Visy, Komatsu and Curtin University. And IT services rivals CSC and Fujitsu have also invested heavily in the space in Australia.

Image credit: wlodi, Creative Commons and HP