HP shutters Helion Public Cloud, while Oracle takes on Amazon

HP ditches Helion Public Cloud and refocuses on the data center. Meanwhile, Oracle's new cloud services take on Amazon. Also in SearchLight: IBM buys The Weather Co.'s digital assets; MasterCard wants to turn everything into a payment device.

This week, HP announced it will finally bring the guillotine down on its Helion public cloud offering, ceding that ground to the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. Instead, the legacy technology company is doubling down on what it's good at: the data center. HP plans to sunset the service on Jan. 31, 2016.

Considering that HP has been slowly shifting investments away from HP Helion Public Cloud in the past year, and in light of hints as early as April that HP would be making the move, the decision comes as no surprise to observers of the space.

"HP had very little traction in its public cloud," Lydia Leong, analyst at Gartner Inc., said over email. "Most enterprises choose Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or both, as strategic IaaS and PaaS providers."

With the public cloud market exploding with increasingly cheap offerings like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud, HP made the right call, said Forrester Research Inc. analyst Dave Bartoletti.

"For established technology vendors, that means you either build out capacity to compete with [these] hyperscale providers … or you refocus on the data center," he told me.

Faced with this decision, it would have cost too much for HP to both fully compete in this territory and cut 30,000 jobs from its HP Enterprise business at the same time, Bartoletti said.

"HP Enterprise is right to refocus on the data center, help its core customer build cloud-like infrastructures and connect those data centers to public clouds in a hybrid model," he said.

Specifically, HP plans to increase integration with other public cloud environments and put the focus on supporting customers that want to run their own private cloud, have it managed by HP or run it in large-scale public clouds like AWS or Azure.

This development is good news for HP's CIO customers, said Bartoletti.

"[They] should take comfort that HP will not be spending billions to build out public clouds," he said.

Instead, HP Enterprise's focus on the data center and hybrid and private cloud will "drive greater efficiencies for infrastructure you own," which was HP's core strength all along, Bartoletti said.

Oracle chases Amazon

HP is yielding to Amazon in the public cloud territory, but another technology giant isn't going down so easily.

At OpenWorld 2015 in San Francisco this week, Oracle announced that it is launching new cloud features, including elastic compute -- the ability to rent raw computing power by hour or by month -- a service similar to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Oracle is also rolling out dedicated cloud computing and archival storage options, as well as Docker containers as a service.

More significantly, Oracle also announced plans to ease database migration from customers' data centers to Oracle's cloud.

In Bartoletti's opinion, these offerings are Oracle's direct response to Amazon's announcement at AWS re:Invent earlier this month, which targeted Oracle's enterprise database customers with a slew of new services to help companies move data and databases to the AWS cloud.

"Amazon was hitting Oracle where it lives," Bartoletti said.

Now, not only is Oracle advertising how easy database migration to the Oracle cloud can be, but it's also planning to compete head-on with Amazon in the realm of cloud infrastructure services.

"Basically, AWS went after Oracle's database customers, and now Oracle's going after AWS' IaaS customers. Should be fun to watch," he said.

Bartoletti advises existing CIO customers to revisit what cloud offerings Oracle has to offer if they haven't done so in a couple of years. Signs point to Oracle being "all-in on every type of cloud deployment: SaaS application, database as a service and even commodity IaaS," Bartoletti said.

CIO news roundup for week of Oct. 26

More technology headlines from the week as we prepare for the Halloween festivities:

  • IBM is acquiring The Weather Co.'s digital assets, including The Weather Channel and Weather Underground applications and websites. The purchase will allow IBM to use The Weather Channel's underlying platform, which, according to John Kelly, a senior vice president at IBM, "can ingest data at a very high volume in fractions of a second that will be an engine that feeds Watson."
  • Forget about paying with your phone. What if you could make purchases with a ring, a fob -- or even a dress? MasterCard thinks it can make that happen. The company announced a program in which it's teaming up with partners across multiple industries, including automotive, fashion, technology and wearables, to turn various consumer products into smart payment devices. Some of these partners include Qualcomm, General Motors, Capital One and designer Adam Selman.
  • Facebook is slowing down the Internet for its employees -- on purpose. In an effort to optimize Facebook for the millions of users who live in developing countries and only have Internet access to 2G services, the company began a new initiative called 2G Tuesdays, in which its staff will have a chance to experience what it's like to use the social network over a slow mobile Internet connection -- just like many of the social network's users who live in places like India and Kenya.
  • Strong passwords, get 'em while they're hot! Mira Modi, an 11-year-old sixth grader in New York City, started Dicewarepasswords.com, a small business through which she creates six-word Diceware passwords by hand and sells them for $2 each. Diceware involves rolling dice to generate random numbers that are matched to English words, which are then strung together into a nonsensical phrase that is difficult to crack but easy to memorize.

Check out our previous SearchLight roundups on Dell's new hybrid cloud service and what the Dell-EMC deal suggests about the CIO role.

Next Steps

Read more about HP's decision to refocus on hybrid cloud on sister site SearchCloudComputing.com. Then, find out what experts had to say about what can go wrong with hybrid cloud implementations.

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