If you’re looking to build an online business in the cloud, Amazon, Google or Microsoft are probably your best options, but HP just launched a full assault on the cloud computing market that could see the company challenge its more established rivals. HP Helion represents a $1 billion investment focused on open source cloud-based products and services, the company announced on Wednesday.
HP Helion is made up of four main services. There’s OpenStack Community edition, a free cloud platform for smaller companies with an enhanced version planned for release later this year. Helion’s development platform helps IT departments build and manage custom services and applications, while HP’s OpenStack Technology Indemnification Program promises to protect “qualified” customers from any patent or copyright issues that could arise. Finally, the company will offer a full team of consultants, engineers and cloud technologists as part of its OpenStack Professional Service.
Unlike alternatives from Amazon or Google, HP Helion encourages companies to create custom smaller cloud systems rather than build them on top of rented space from a larger “public cloud.” HP plans to make money by selling companies the tools they need to operate their own cloud. To hit its goals, Helion is set to expand rapidly in the next two years as it becomes available in 20 of the company’s 80 data centers—up from just two out of 80 today.