Cloud Computing Photo: Karl Hilzinger
Next month's launch of Hewlett-Packard's Cloud Service will see the company pitch a pay-per-use model directly at developers and independent software vendors, in addition to enterprises.
The May 10 global lift-off will see HP offer a public cloud in beta and will include a pay-by-credit card facility similar to giant Amazon Web Services'.
"If you go back 10 years, every time an IT department wanted to deploy a new application they essentially bought a new server," said Thomas Ryan, Vice-President of Marketplace and Ecosystem for HP, on his impending launch.
"There was the email server, the payroll server, and the other server for internal apps. It was nice and reliable but an inefficient use of capital because those servers were perhaps used at less than 100 per cent capacity. Then virtualisation came along and we created three virtual servers on one physical box.
Echoing other cloud enthusiasts, Ryan said when "implemented nicely" cloud offered an elastic computing experience. The company has tinkered with cloud services in the past.
"These applications can grow and shrink dynamically and consume resources dynamically. It is another level of efficiency."
HP's move comes as a growing number of service providers in Australia jockey for a leading position in the fast-developing market.
Other recent local moves included Equinix's announcement that IT infrastructure services company Unitas Global will use its global data service centres in Singapore and Sydney as a platform for Asia-Pacific expansion plans.
Fujitsu added IT Management to its cloud portfolio through a partnership with Nimsoft and announced Australia and New Zealand will lead its eventual global rollout.
Australian company NextDC pitched investors earlier this month in its push "to become the most recognised, connected, and trusted data centre brand in Australia and New Zealand".
Next DC's expansion plans include a focus on renewable energy – including rooftop solar energy systems – for planned centres across Australia.
Major local player Macquarie Telecom, something of a standard bearer for on-shore data centres, appointed a new general manager for emerging technologies, American Art Leyzerovich, to focus on hosting.
One absentee in the local game is Amazon Web Services which has in the past six months been courting clients in preparation for a rumoured data centre opening in Sydney. The global giant is quiet on the plans, but its company records and real estate moves suggest an announcement is close. Its CTO Dr Werner Vogels was in Sydney telling start-ups about the benefits of the cloud earlier this month.
Publicly, at least, Amazon's potential rivals appear non-plussed by a local AWS footprint.
"Competition is good for any market," said Mark Pratley, General Manager for Telstra Cloud Computing.
"It promotes innovation and leads to competitors working on better value offers for their customers. Already there are global cloud organisations competing in the local market.
"At Telstra, we're investing more than $800 million across five years to further grow our cloud computing services. We have strategic alliances with world-leading technology, application and systems integration partners.
Pratley said the telco has conducted local research - 25 workshops with more than 165 large organisations - to determine what they require from a cloud provider.
As HP is demonstrating, the cloud boom is allowing service providers to target specific ends of the market. Whether that is by necessity or design, however, is yet to be seen.
"Amazon has a slightly different model which is three guys in a garage, bring your credit card," said HP's Thomas Ryan.
"Of course, we will support those customers as well, and I suppose that's competition at that level, but it is an expanding market and the enterprise area is our focus.
"I would imagine for certain use cases there is a competitive aspect with Amazon but Hewlett-Packard is really targeting enterprises, enterprise information technology, technologists and developers inside enterprises. That is where Hewlett Packard's customer focus is as a company on the IT side, at least."