"CIOs understand the potential business benefits of cloud computing but are challenged with how best to manage the risks associated with adoption," said HP executive VP Thomas E. Hogan. Amen to that-so three new HP products are designed to mitigate the risks associated with the security, performance, and availability of enterprise apps in the cloud.The moves by HP-specifically Hogan's Software and Solutions group-underscore the rapidly accelerating move among IT vendors to meet the even more rapid level of interest in CIOs and CEOs to tap into the significant promises of cloud computing: lightning-fast deployment, lower costs, simpler management, and greater flexibility.
At InformationWeek and Global CIO, we've dubbed this acceleration toward the cloud "The Cloud Imperative" and will be highlighting vendor product strategies and CIO deployment strategies in an ongoing series of articles throughout the coming months. Two other examples in this new series are Global CIO: The World's Largest Private Cloud: Who's Number One?, and Global CIO: Riverbed Sees Cloud Computing Boom in 2010.
HP described the business value behind its new cloud offerings in a press release: a company survey showed that more than 90% of high-level business executives "believe business cycles will continue to be unpredictable in the next few years," and that those same executives recognize the corresponding need for their own operations to be more flexible and responsive, including the IT systems and operations.
In addition, the same HP research revealed that among the CIOs it surveyed, 75% "acknowledge the need to invest in more flexible technology, be able to scale it up and down rapidly, and communicate faster with technology partners." Sounds like a classic diagnosis in need of a cloud-computing prescription.
HP manager of SaaS Products and Cloud Solutions Neil Ashizawa outlined the company's strategy in an interview with analyst Dana Gardner in a SeekingAlpha.com article:
"When we first launched Cloud Assure earlier this year, we focused on the top three inhibitors, which were security of applications in the cloud, performance of applications in the cloud, and availability of applications in the cloud. We wanted to provide assurance to enterprises that their applications will be secure, they will perform, and they will be available when they are running in the cloud."
The newest addition to the HP Cloud Assure program is centered on assuring the costs associated with cloud deployments, and here's how my superb colleague Charlie Babcock described it in a news article:
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.
The big payoff for CIOs-and accordingly for IT vendors-will come when the various inhibitors (either real or imagined) to cloud computing are overcome with unambiguous results. With its new releases, HP's taken a big step in that direction by centering its message around business value as perceived through the eyes of its customers, instead of trying to out-jargon its rivals with the acronyms and insider lingo that's still too prevalent.
Look for lots more IT vendors to begin communicating with you along similar lines-clear articulations of business value-and you might want to shun those that don't.