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While there is a lot of interest in cloud computing for its potential cost savings and more flexible IT infrastructure advantages, enterprises don't necessarily know how transitioning to the cloud will cost and how long it could take.
On Monday, HP (NYSE: HPQ) announced CloudStart, a package of products and services designed to address those concerns by simplifying private cloud deployments.
HP claims CloudStart is the first all-in-one package of hardware, software and consulting for deploying a private cloud environment within 30 days. CloudStart -- based on HP's BladeSystem Matrix converged infrastructure, HP Cloud Service Automation software and HP StorageWorks -- offers customers scalable, pay-per-use services from a common portal that offers some of the same benefits as public cloud providers like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).
For example, CloudStart gives IT real-time access to consumption and chargeback reports to better manage resources across different divisions and business units across the enterprise. HP also said the system's open architecture lets customers integrate their private clouds with third-party enterprise portals, public cloud services, usage billing packages and multiplatform resource management systems.
"To better serve the needs of their enterprises, clients are asking us to help them become internal service providers with the ability to deliver applications through a highly flexible private cloud environment," Gary Budzinski, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Technology Services group, said in a statement. "With CloudStart, HP is enabling clients to optimize applications for private cloud computing today, while providing a platform for a comprehensive, open and hybrid environment in the future."
Based on HP's Converged Infrastructure hardware platform, CloudStart will be offered by HP Cloud Consulting Services.
The computer giant claimed CloudStart offers companies several advantages over traditional IT infrastructure, like cutting three-quarters of the time spent on compliance-management thanks to the cloud's automation and governance features.
Like other cloud systems, CloudStart is designed to deliver technology services on an as-needed basis, freeing up more IT resources. HP also said CloudStart includes unified provisioning and disaster recovery on HP storage, which it says is an approach that's easier to manage than traditional systems.
"With the HP CloudStart solution, clients now have a way to accelerate the adoption of service-oriented environments for a private cloud that matches the speed, flexibility and economies of public cloud without the risk or loss of control," Matt Eastwood, vice president of IDC's Enterprise Platform Group, said in a statement.
HP said it has already begun offering CloudStart in Asia-Pacific and Japan, with worldwide availability set for December.
A cloud computing test bed
HP also announced a number of big-name partners in the CloudStart effort. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Samsung, VMware (NYSE: VMW) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have teamed with HP to implement a private cloud designed to be a test bed for research on cloud computing at CMU. HP said the system will replace multiple dedicated clusters with a single cloud environment for performing simulations and data analyses, as well as supporting data storage and data-intensive applications.
"We deployed a cloud environment for a dual purpose: to help our university to better meet an increased need for infrastructure flexibility and to have a production, state-of-the-art installation to study in our research on the cloud," Greg Ganger, a professor at CMU of electrical and computer engineering, said in a statement. "We partnered with HP, VMware, Intel and Samsung to integrate an automated private cloud environment into our existing infrastructure in less than 30 days, providing compute power and storage to several departments with growing needs, as well as a standards-based environment for private cloud research."