Interesting: HP nixes Amazon EC2 API support — at least in its public cloud

Hewlett Packard(s hpq) will no longer support Amazon Web Services EC2 API(s amzn) in its public cloud as as it continues to build it out. That move was buried in the release notes of HP Public Cloud 13.5 and uncovered by CRN on Thursday.

Roger Levy, VP of technical operations for HP Public Cloud, told the publication that the company made its decision “based upon significant input from developers and customers.” Wow. Also dropped: support for AWS-related Eucalyptus tools. Eucalyptus provides private cloud capabilities that  support all the relevant Amazon APIs to accommodate hybrid Eucalyptus-AWS cloud implementations.

AWS is the de facto standard for public cloud  — a reality that sticks in the craw of HP, IBM(s ibm), Rackspace(s rax) and the rest of the known computing world, so HP’s move bears noting. All of those rivals are using OpenStack cloud technology to build clouds to compete with AWS which is ramping up efforts to attract enterprise workloads that used to run in company data centers on HP,IBM, Dell computers running Microsoft, Oracle, and other software. You get the picture.

The debate about whether these non-Amazon cloud providers should support AWS APIs has raged for more than a year. Rackspace went its own way with its OpenStack implementation, while Cloudscaling touts support for both AWS and Google(s goog) Cloud Platforms APIs as a key differentiator.

Since HP has been beating the hybrid cloud drum loud and long, I would be willing to bet that its private cloud offerings will continue to support all the relevant public cloud APIs — especially Amazon’s unless HP wants to alienate customers, many of which already have at least some workloads on AWS. HP is hosting its big Discover Conference next week in Barcelona, so expect more cloud news from there.

Update: Gigaom Research analyst Janakiram MSV took a dim view of all this. “Given HP Cloud’s dismal adoption rate, I don’t think this matters much to Amazon or the public cloud customers,” he said via email. He added:

“By supporting those APIs, Amazon’s competitors can tap into the existing tools and drive adoption of their platform. Google’s Cloud Storage is a classic example of it where it chose to implement S3 API. By alienating AWS, the competition cannot gain much instead they should become compatible and attract Amazon’s partners and customers.

Update: In explaining HP’s decision, Levy said customers want to avoid getting locked in to what he called, “Amazon’s spider web.” Indeed vendor lock-in is a concern even among some AWS proponents  who recommend sticking with lower level EC2 and S3 storage services but steering clear of higher level services. But if accommodating customer choice is truly HP’s goal, dropping support for what is the most popular public cloud seems counterproductive, although as Tier 1 Research analyst Carl Brooks put it, HP’s action may be more head fake than anything else.

“HP doesn’t need to support AWS APIs — OpenStack will do that for them to the limited extent it already does,” Brooks said via email. “Users will use a management layer or a broker like RightScale anyway so they lose nothing but useless development work.” He suspects the real rationale here is to make AWS out to be “the Borg.”

Note: This story was updated at 6:30 a.m. PST with Janakiram MSV’s comment and again at 11:42 p.m. PST with Carl Brooks’ comment.