HP jumps into OpenStack fray with new Helion distribution

HP's OpenStack will be the cornerstone of the company's new Helion line of cloud services and products

Joining Red Hat, Oracle, Canonical and others, Hewlett-Packard is releasing its own distribution of the OpenStack cloud hosting software.

The distribution will be a cornerstone of a set of cloud products and services HP will offer, under the Helion brand.

The Helion brand "will encompass all of the cloud portfolio across the company," said Kerry Bailey, HP senior vice president for the cloud. Helion follows up on the work HP announced last November to unify its cloud offerings under a single architecture.

HP plans to invest US$1 billion of research and development into the Helion portfolio over the next two years and to provide OpenStack-based services in 20 data centers worldwide over the next 18 months. The company currently operates more than 80 data centers across 27 countries.

HP has been running OpenStack as part of its own HP Public Cloud services for over three years now, and is a significant contributor to the OpenStack project.

On Wednesday, HP released a no-cost community edition of Helion OpenStack, which could be used for pilots and basic production duties. The inaugural edition will be based on OpenStack Icehouse,the latest version of the software released in April.

The company plans to release a commercial edition, with support and additional features, within the next few months. It will also launch a set of professional services around OpenStack, to help enterprises with cloud planning and deployment.

In addition to Helion OpenStack, HP's Helion line will include a distribution of Cloud Foundry, a package developed and open sourced by VMware -- and now managed by VMware spinoff Pivotal software -- to host PaaS (platform as a service) services.

A preview edition of HP's Cloud Foundry distribution, to be called HP Helion Developer Platform, should be available by September.

Other existing HP cloud services and products, such as HP CloudSystem and Cloud Services Automation (CSA), will fall into the Helion line, as well as new and existing cloud consulting and support offerings as well.

Bailey said that a significant portion of HP's enterprise customers have been asking for open cloud software, mostly as a precaution against being locked into proprietary software. HP will indemnify commercial users of Helion against any intellectual property infringement claims, which dogged enterprise Linux users briefly in the last decade.

OpenStack has clearly caught the eye of enterprise software vendors.

Last month, Oracle announced it has added OpenStack to its Solaris Unix distribution. Red Hat offers OpenStack in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as does Canonical with its Ubuntu server edition.

HP will hold a webcast on 11:30 am U.S. Eastern Time on Wednesday to explain the new Helion line in greater detail.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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