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HP Kills Helion Public Cloud Strategy

Hewlett-Packard Co. will shut down its public cloud in January 2016, essentially bowing to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure — and potentially opening the door for IBM to work even more closely with CIOs on their public cloud strategies. The announcement comes only days before Hewlett-Packard Co. breaks into two companies.

Amid multiple executive changes and no clear focus, HP’s Helion Public Cloud was never considered a serious threat to major offerings like AWS, Azure and IBM SoftLayer.

Bill HilfInstead of competing with those giants, HP says customers want the company to offer best-of-breed solutions — featuring relationships with Amazon and Microsoft. “Therefore, we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on January 31, 2016,” wrote Bill Hilf, senior VP and GM, HP Cloud, in a blog post. “As we have before, we will help our customers design, build and run the best cloud environments suited to their needs – based on their workloads and their business and industry requirements.”

HP assured customers that it will continue to partner with other public cloud providers, while also focusing more on private cloud and managed cloud capabilities. Moreover, it’s important to note that HP Helion is a brand that extends far beyond public cloud services. The overall Helion lineup continues to include a range of solutions for partners.

HP Public Cloud: Multiple Signs of Trouble

Major concerns about HP’s public cloud strategy have surfaced several times. First, HP Cloud Services Senior VP Zorawar “Biri” Singh exited the company in early 2013 with little comment from him or HP. By April 2015, some media reports suggested that HP was shutting down its public cloud — an assertion that HP denied. I defended HP at the time… perhaps I was a bit too generous in my defense of the company, considering those shut-down reports are now coming true.

HP isn’t the first company to walk away from the public cloud market. Dell scrapped plans to build a public cloud in 2013. And IBM did a major cloud strategy reset in early 2013, scrapping a range of internal efforts and blueprints, then buying SoftLayer to revitalize its public cloud efforts in June 2013.

Hewlett-Packard Breakup

Hewlett-Packard is striving to sharpen its focus amid a company breakup scheduled for Nov. 1. In addition to pulling the plug on its public cloud, HP sold off its TippingPoint security business to Trend Micro for $300 million. TippingPoint’s business performance apparently contracted over the past decade. The anecdotal evidence: 3Com (now owned by HP) acquired Tipping Point for $430 million back in 2004.

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