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HP Ushers Telecoms Toward Cloud

The company is positioning itself to become a software-as-a-service platform for telecommunications companies.

HP is helping its customers move toward the cloud with updates to two software products, HP Cloud Assure and HP Operations Orchestration. It's also positioning itself to become the software platform for a potentially large new group of suppliers of software-as-a-service: telecommunications companies.

HP's Cloud Assure is a cost-control product that links cloud provisioning to a projection of what the cloud computing will cost. It helps make sure the user has commissioned a virtual server of an appropriate size for both the task at hand and available budget.

It's targeted at helping manage use of external cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud or Terremark Worldwide, said Paul Muller, VP of strategic marketing, HP Software. "When the user is taking additional capacity, his company wants to be sure he's provisioning the right amount," he said in an interview.

HP Operations Orchestration is aimed more at the consumer of internal data center virtualized services. When organized as an internal or private cloud, IT managers can use Operations Orchestration to give end users the capability to self-provision virtual machines that they need in their work. When it's working with internal resources, Operations Orchestration can provision either physical or virtual servers.

If a user chooses, she can also use Operations Orchestration to provision a server in Amazon's EC2 external cloud. The combination of internal resources and Amazon EC2 servers might be needed when Web site traffic or other business conditions suddenly demand more compute power for a particular application, explained Muller.

Instead of buying extra capacity for the data center, Ops Orchestration can let the user turn to EC2 for more processing power, giving business units a way to quickly respond to changing business conditions.

Implementing Operations Orchestration is a way to add "more mechanization and automation" to the processes that run the data center, Muller said.

HP is also making a bid to supply a vertical segment of industry, telecommunications, with software that enables it to deliver software-as-a-service. HP research found that small and medium businesses want to adopt more SaaS, but find they are reducing their internal IT resources while using SaaS at the expense of gaining more vendor relationships to attend to and manage, said Tim Marsden, chief technologist in HP's Communications and Media Solutions unit of HP Software.

HP will offer the segment HP Communications as a Service, which will provide a platform from which a telecommunications company could offer a suite of applications for small and medium business customers as an online service. Instead of many vendor relationships and sets of bills, the customer would get one bill from his familiar telephone company, Marsden said.

"Over 50% of small and medium businesses see their telco as an aggregator of these services and capable of offering them as a bundle... There's a big opportunity for telcos to step in," he said in an interview.

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