Last week, I spent some time on HP cloud and the only thing I can think of is: “HP, you can do better! (much better)”

The first tour left me with a bitter taste in mouth: if this is intended as an AWS competitor let me say that the Amazon guys can sleep easy!
I waited some time before publishing this blog but, after some mails with HP representatives I decided to go on.

Is this Openstack?

You know, I’m not very fond of OpenStack and I’m one of the few that think at OpenStack as a bunch of scripts dressed with a lot of marketing hype… in a word: it’s still hot air.
Technically speaking I can’t understand all the love that developers and vendors are putting in it. On the other side it’s clear why they are trying to hop on this bandwagon: it’s a big opportunity to make money!
Every time I meet a service provider that is trying to implement Openstack the discussion goes immediately on how much time (and money) is necessary to carry on the development. There is always a risk to start a private fork, develop it and then lose the ability to rejoin the original branch to get new features. The risk is very high and every Openstack implementation could differ very much from another!

Beta or PoC?

Yes, this is a beta, but beta doesn’t mean proof of concept!
And the worst thing is that they asked my credit card to test a useless beta product! Not to be picky but Amazon has a free tier to do tests and try products.
For example, I haven’t found nothing to help managing private/public networks, security, load balancing, or other network services. The (linux only) VM templates are very limited and I haven’t found any option for snapshots or cloning.
Probably many of this features are already implemented somewhere (via API?) but they aren’t visible/accessible to an end user like me… not today.
I must also admit that I haven’t spent too much time on documentation to find out answers to all my questions.

HP answers

Well, as I stated above, I exchanged emails with a few HP cloud representatives and they confirmed that these limitations comes from lack of functionalies and immaturities of the OpenStack platform.
The most interesting email says the following: “All valid points – some of which are related to the OpenStack technology (and I’m not so sure how familiar you are with that…) some others related to what OpenStack functionality we are comfortable implementing in production-ready environment, with enterprise-level support and all of what it entails”
This email continues with a precise answer for each raised point. Unfortunately, they are all but convincing!

Bottom line

It’s very hard to comment on what I saw, but I will. Actually, It’s a false step and I sincerely hope it won’t be another TouchPad. The only good thing here is the pricing: lower than Amazon.
I’ll be at HPDiscover in Las Vegas in early June, really, I can’t wait to talk with someone from the Cloud team to hear about their strategy and… the next steps.

Actually, If you are an ISP and you are looking at HP cloud as an OpenStack reference PoC it’s clear that it’s safer for you to evaluate other cloud platforms before wasting money!