Last week, Meg Whitman, CEO and President of Hewlett-Packard, announced that HP is planning to invest a billion dollars into the private cloud over the next two years, and specifically into products and services around OpenStack. They call this project “Helion”.

HP have started with their own distribution of OpenStack under the Helion brand, and based on Icehouse, the latest OpenStack release. Later they plan to develop further services based on the OpenStack core, all oriented towards helping organizations deploy their own private and hybrid clouds rather than migrating out to rental computing from public cloud providers. Running a private cloud helps a business maintain control over its computing resources and administration: on-premises, on your own hardware, controlled by your own IT team, and scalable on your own terms.

It’s great to see HP investing heavily into the private cloud. Since HP has been running OpenStack as part of their own HP Public Cloud service for quite a few years now, the release of their no-cost community edition of Helion OpenStack, as well as the planned release of a commercial OpenStack distribution marks a departure from the traditional “public cloud” offering, and a realization that many businesses may want to deploy their own private clouds, powered by HP software and services.

HP’s move is in line with a trend we’ve been seeing ourselves at AeroFS. Many of our customers are deploying the AeroFS Private Cloud on their own private cloud infrastructures based off of OpenStack, or similar solutions. These enterprises are looking for the power of the cloud (elasticity and scalability), but on their own premises (or in their own data centers) and under their control. The private cloud is an essential part of modern business IT strategies today, and we’re excited to see HP put their support towards it.

Welcome to the party, HP!