HP’s new CloudSystems bundle “hardened” OpenStack

The new CloudSystem bundles of Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) servers, storage and software will ship for the first time with HP Cloud OS, the company’s “hardened” version of OpenStack. That will mark the first time the company has made that technology — which it’s used in house — broadly available to the outside world.

veghteCloudSystems form the foundation of HP’s (dare I say it?) hybrid cloud strategy and will allow bursting to an array of public clouds,which already included Amazon Web Services(s amzn) and now Microsoft Windows Azure and ARSYS and SFR clouds as well. ARSYS is a Spanish cloud provider and SFR a French telco.  HP Executive Vice President Bill Veghte will preside over the announcements at the HP Discover event in Barcelona on Wednesday.

HP CloudSystem as linchpin

HP’s goal is to make HP CloudSystem an easy way to run private clouds that can also burst workloads into the customer’s public cloud of choice, even if that choice is not HP’s own public cloud. The latest release of that cloud, interestingly, does not support Amazon EC2 APIs while CloudSystems  “supports AWS, Savvis(s ctl) and now Azure, SFR and ARSYS as well,” said Bill Hilf, VP of HP’s converged cloud products and services.

The selection of an array of European cloud providers as key HP partners is no accident. “The design intent is, if you’re an enterprise customer in France or Germany, and you need to keep data on premise or on a public cloud within the region for regulatory reasons, you can do that,” Hilf said in a recent interview. This is just the latest indication that U.S. tech vendors are trying to think of creative ways to make customers comfy using their technology even as the specter of NSA data surveillance lingers.

In addition, some customers will likely want to burst work loads into a growing number of industry-specific clouds, Hilf said.

The new CloudSystems are due in the first half of 2014.

Also new this week is a hybrid cloud management suite that integrates HP’s latest cloud automation software with support for HP Cloud OS and the TOSCA cloud interoperability specification. Frankly, this is the first time I’ve heard about TOSCA (formally known as the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications) since it was proposed last year by a roster of legacy players — IBM(s ibm),CA(s ca), Cisco(s csco), Citrix(s ctrx), EMC(s emc), NetApp(s ntap), Red Hat(s rhat, SAP(s sap) — but not Amazon, Microsoft or Google(s goog).

Hardware maker’s dilemma

The cloud prospects of hardware makers — IBM, HP and Oracle (with its Sun business) are complicated. These companies have a vested interest in tying their clouds to their hardware — which is often the sort of pricey, scale-up gear that born-into-cloud players are likely to pass over for inexpensive, commodity gear that can scale out, do its work and be replaced easily.

Still, Hilf said HP’s cloud priority is forcing all of the company’s divisions to design and build better cloud-optimized product. HP is not building a vertically-integrated stack, he said.

The message seems to be that HP wants to drive hardware sales and make sure its high-end Moonshot servers run Cloud OS great, for example, but you don’t absolutely have to have HP hardware to run HP’s cloud. At least, I think that’s it.