HP Q&A: Converged Cloud is company's chief initiative

Saar Gillai, head of HP's Converged Cloud, talks about how HP provides an on-ramp to the cloud for enterprises

By , IDG News Service |  Cloud Computing

Gillai: I think one of the things that certainly needs a lot of work is the whole installation and upgrade experience, in terms of how automated it is. The promise of OpenStack is that it should be like your phone -- it upgrades automatically. We've added a lot of our own intellectual property to ensure that. While a large service provider can afford people [to install and upgrade OpenStack], an enterprise doesn't want to deal with that -- It just wants to pick up the latest releases and have it work.

The key in the next 24 months is to really make it to be plug and play as much as can be expected for the average enterprise to use. But I have no doubt it will get there -- there are a lot of people working on it.

I think there is also work coming out now around performance information -- getting more data about what is going on.

The first thing you need to understand about OpenStack is that OpenStack isn't the solution to everything. OpenStack is a kernel you build on top of and that is where companies like HP can differentiate by adding capabilities. Some of these things may be part of the OpenStack kernel and some may be a value-add that is provided by vendors like HP. That's OK, as long as it doesn't break the base OpenStack.

The beauty of OpenStack is that you can add value on top and you can add value at the bottom. At the bottom, you can provide drivers that bring out the value of your hardware. And you can differentiate on top by adding lots of plug-ins for manageability and so forth.

IDGNS: HP has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. What are you doing to shield your customers from any internal management storms the company may be experiencing? And what support are you getting from HP President and CEO Meg Whitman, and your immediate supervisor HP Chief Operating Officer Bill Veghte?

Gillai: Prior to Meg, there was more churn in the high executive ranks at HP than would be great for a big company. Since Meg joined three years ago, things have dramatically stabilized. With Meg's leadership, [company stability] has not been an issue in the last six to nine months. It was definitely something that was asked about last year but no one asks about that anymore. It's not an issue any longer.

In terms of support, the cloud is actually Meg's number one initiative. She has said that, and she is definitely involved. She cut a lot of the bureaucracy out, so it is very streamlined. I have a review with her and some of the executive staff once every few weeks on progress. Bill is very involved with the strategy and helping out. This is a top activity. It's got the full attention of Meg and Bill and the executive council at HP.

IDGNS: What will we see from the Converged Cloud line of business in the next two years?

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