After Hewlett-Packard’s big split, the fate of the $51.6-billion-a-year Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will hinge on whether it can make its mark in an emerging battleground in the cloud computing wars: the growing business of private cloud computing.
The best-known clouds today are the massive pools of servers owned and rented out by Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Those are what’s known as “public” clouds, where anyone with a credit card can spin up servers and where a customer’s data resides on the same machines as data from other customers.
But even as the Big Three work to woo them, big companies from banks to retailers have been reluctant to put sensitive data in public clouds and face laws that limit them doing so. Instead, enterprise customers are turning toward the nascent market of private clouds—that is, clouds operated on machines either owned or directly controlled by the customer.
It’s in this private cloud market that H-P Enterprise is looking to grab customers from traditional hardware competitors IBM and Dell, along with younger rivals such as Rackspace. H-P declined to comment for this story but has hinted that part of its strategy is to leap ahead in the talent wars for the open-source software that runs private clouds.