Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have teamed up on a three-year $250 million partnership to bring about the “next generation computing platform” called HP private cloud. They will be working towards a combined cost effective IT solution encompassing varying levels of hardware, software, and professional services for business applications. The idea seems to be to bundle up a complete virtualization and systems management offering that would work in mega data centers and cloud providing centers. The joint stack would leverage existing products from both companies while plans are also underway for new ones.
Microsoft which has already jumped head long into cloud with its public cloud services Azure, is now looking to take on private cloud with HP by its side. Private cloud is a proprietary network that implements cloud strategies behind a firewall and therefore protects data from outside networks. By adding Azure into the mix, the duo say they will be giving clients the flexibility to indulge in varying levels of private and public clouds.
While public clouds that make scalable applications available over the Internet have been getting a lot of hype lately, private clouds are yet to take off in a big way. That is all going to change pretty soon according to Gartner. The market Research firm predicts that enterprises will spend more money on private cloud computing than public cloud providers through 2012. Security concerns and fear of losing control of business critical data still stand in the way of unbridled cloud adoption for some corporate firms in spite of perceived cost savings. With Private cloud, companies will be able to embrace everything advantageous about cloud like server virtualization for example while still having a handle on security and making effective use of their existing datacenter resources .
In reality though, it is not an absolute choice in one direction or the other. It would be more practical for companies to seek hybrid models by going public for secondary applications and investing in private cloud for applications requiring tighter security, legal obligations or specific fine tuning which go beyond the “cookie cutter” type services usually associated with EC2 like public cloud. Gartner also predicts the sprouting of targeted niche cloud services for different industries requiring specific computing environments. In this kind of a scenario, an integrated public-private setup like what we are talking about with this HP-Microsoft deal can fill a very relevant void in the immediate market. A hybrid multi dimensional solution with an integrated cohesive platform that lets us switch back and forth between private and outside networks not only in the product development phase but with respect to service models sounds ideal. It remains to be seen how well it all pans out though. Technical details from the implementation point of view have not been revealed yet by both companies.