Report: How to define the right multi-cloud strategy for your enterprise the first time

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How to define the right multi-cloud strategy for your enterprise the first time by David S. Linthicum:
The days of the single cloud are gone. Driven by the breadth of technology options, potential cost savings, and the need for business agility, more than 74 percent of businesses are already moving to a multi-cloud strategy. However, enterprises making the move face critical choices, and a failure to consider common risks can diminish or even eliminate the benefits of multi-cloud.
This report will help CIOs, application architects, and IT decision-makers identify common patterns of implementation failures and successes and provide a framework for evaluating multi-cloud environments.
To read the full report click here.

Moving beyond digital signage in the workplace

At first, thinking about digital signage in the workplace makes perfect sense. We’re all familiar with big screens in airports, hotel foyers and sports stadiums, so, yes, how about seeing similar kit in business environments, for example in headquarter lobbies, or indeed in coffee rooms?
Yes of course, the concept can find plenty of use. Corporate visitors can be offered videos, presentations and data. Employees can more easily be briefed and can share their own content, such as the latest inter-departmental soccer results. Touch screens and kiosks also have a place, for campus navigation and training information dissemination.
The benefits are pretty straightforward — not only that content can be updated faster, or printing costs can be saved but also increased staff motivation and wellbeing, improved health and safety knowledge, higher productivity have been cited. As hardware costs come down, business cases become more evident (though of course, remember to account for the overheads of managing real-time content).
So, what’s the problem? Let’s take a look. Ultimately, such a signage-centric, “Let’s take what is working over there and deploy it over here” mindset is missing a trick. It’s worth reviewing a number of other areas where screen use is prevalent, and seeing these as input to the decision process.
First, the smart screen has come a long way. Back in the early nineties, I can remember de-boxing a whiteboard with a built in printer; since then such devices have become giant input and output panels. Pioneer in the field is education: from sharing an office with a manufacturer of interactive whiteboards for this sector, I’ve seen just how much of a difference such technologies can have on classrooms.
Most importantly, it’s not about the screen but the environment. Consider, for example, the ability to create information on a tablet computer, then share it onto a screen for somebody else to edit. Imagine being able to do this on a wall screen in the meeting room, with input from people in another office.
It should be straightforward, and both schools and home tutors are using such capabilities all the time, but they have yet to make an impact in the workplace.
Second, ‘telepresence’, the term coined by Cisco and also offered by HP to describe the immersive impact of seeing full-sized people on screens in a videoconference. Apart from (addressable through software) issues with eye movement, it’s like they are in the room.
When they were launched a few years ago, such technologies were too costly for all but head office installations. With today’s network bandwidth and with screen costs having plummeted, the ‘telepresence’ notion has a much broader appeal.
And third, we can look to transactional areas of the business for best practice in terms of screen use. ‘Starship Enterprise’ style, centralised network and equipment management hubs have plenty to offer in terms of what should be visible on the big screen, and how it should be presented relative to individualised views on smaller desktops.
Similarly, call centres and sales environments make extensive use of screens. From these parts of the organisation we can learn not only the options available, but also how to strike a balance between operational efficiency and keeping staff motivated.
Learning from these areas, the bottom line is that digital signage is only part of the opportunity offered by either passive or interactive screens. Direct information sharing, collaboration, workflow management, employee feedback, resource scheduling and booking, training, brainstorming and team building are just a few areas that a deployment can achieve.
Perhaps, yes, a quick win is to deploy some screens for the purpose of disseminating information. But,as some sectors are already discovering — such as non-obtrusive up-selling in the hospitality sector— active interaction yields new opportunities for enablement and empowerment, beyond passive information sharing.
So, it’s worth thinking outside the box, and treating screens as a viewport onto a shared data set, which can also be accessed via other devices. What starts as digital signage becomes a series of windows onto a brave new world, which drives a set of considerations, not least in terms of type, size and location, that should be considered before any deployment.

Change Your Printer, Change The World?

Last month we touched on the dual role of IT managers as both internal support and tech influencers at GigaOm. It’s pretty much the same story at companies around the world, as are the core principles for doing business: maximize efficiency and productivity while reducing costs. HP sent us a shiny new toy to help us accomplish those tasks, and asked us to share our thoughts in a series of sponsored posts. You can check out our initial thoughts HERE, but now it’s time to talk tech.
IMG_3400We set up our new HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477 and decided to show it no mercy. If we were going to really #ReinventTheOffice with HP’s help, we needed to go full Thunder Dome on that machine. In the corporate world, that pretty much means we printed a lot of stuff on a tight deadline. The task at hand: financial reporting packets. That translates to 8 full color pages times eight packets plus spiral binding, stuffing, and labeling all before the UPS driver arrived at 3 p.m. We started at 2.
HP states their JetIntelligence toner cartridge technology is “engineered to make the printer print faster and enable higher page yields.” This is highly important when two-day versus overnight shipping is on the line (see need for cost effectiveness in paragraph one). As previously stated, we were pushing the limit by starting at 2 p.m., but we like living on the edge. As it turned out, we had a bit of time to spare: it took just under four minutes to print 64 pages. Printing the mailing labels went even faster. The packets were done so far in advance we vowed to procrastinate even longer next month. You might be thinking the quality had to go down for the pages to come out that fast, but you’d be wrong. The graphics looked great, even in full color, and the black and white was crisp. We were pretty pleased with round one.
Over the next few weeks, it was business as usual at GigaOm, except it wasn’t. It was better. The MFP M477 kept right on printing at top speed, producing quality pages at an impressive clip. The first page out was particularly fast at under 10 seconds, under nine when printing black and white. Most jobs printed right around the top posted speed of 28ppm, which we loved. And changing the dreaded toner cartridge wasn’t very dreadful at all, as it turned out. The built-in toner indicators were accurate and prevented premature replacement, and when it was truly time for a new cartridge, the auto seal remover feature made it easy and efficient. No more fighting, cramming, and messy hands.
One feature we were particularly interested in is the anti-fraud technology touted in the product materials. Printers are part of our network, as they are in most businesses, and if not protected, they can provide unsecured access for hackers. This is not good. To prevent unauthorized access, HP employs three security tactics to protect our data: HP Sure Start, which validates the BIOS code; whitelisting, which authenticates the firmware; and runtime intrusion detection, which monitors and detects anomalies in firmware and memory operations. Those are abbreviated descriptions of some rather complex processes, but you get the idea.
Adding a faster printer to the fray might seem like an obvious way to improve productivity in business, but it’s not that easy. Speed is great, but not when it means sacrificing graphic integrity, increasing cost, or complicating procedures. The MFP M477 goes beyond faster printing and really does simplify many aspects of office life. Removing the headaches of paper jams, toner explosions, frequent cartridge replacement, watching pages trickle out at a snail’s pace, and fearing a security breech are all big steps forward. You might even say they’re ways to #ReinventTheOffice.

Long live the dragon slayers! Can HP help IT guys get their groove back?

Doctor. Lawyer. Architect. Professional baseball player. Dragon slayer! Of all the things kids hope to be when they grow up, “IT Guy” almost never tops the list. Yet here we are, many of us parlaying a love for computer games or coding into a 40-hour/week job where our passion for all things digital takes a sharp turn for the mundane. It’s a simple fact: there’s just too much minutiae to really enjoy being an IT professional most days. Our natural born problem-solving skills – talents, really – go underutilized thanks to clunky, antiquated laptops, copiers, and printers that demand way more time than they’re worth. Where’s the fun in that?
The common thread among IT professionals is that we love technology. It’s in our titles, after all. Let’s pause for just a moment for full disclosure: HP sponsored this post, challenging us to #ReinventTheOffice here at Gigaom. And oh, do we love a challenge. But aside from a deep-seated appreciation for shiny new tech toys, how can office machines really improve corporate life? It’s in the details. Give your employees free coffee, welcome to the status quo. Give your employees a free-roaming barista with coffee, lattes, and macchiatos…welcome to utopia! Everyone appreciates better, especially when it makes life easier. It’s what sets a good printer apart from a great one, and HP is positive they’ve got the special sauce.
L1120861 Until A.I. officially takes over, business machines have one critical thing going for them: they’re free from the emotions, physical limitations, and time constraints the rest of us humans have to contend with every day. They can work harder, faster, longer, and better than us mere mortals at many tasks, upping the ante on productivity and efficiency and making us look really good at our jobs. Investing in industry-leading technology, therefore, makes perfect sense. We get away from the basic, day-to-day management of a multitude of office machines and instead focus on development that really moves the needle for business. We feel valued, accomplished, and part of the team. Finally, our futuristic thinking comes into play! Problems are solved! World peace is restored!
Well.
To put it simply, increasing a company’s efficiency and the quality of work makes everyone happy. When we’re allowed to work smarter, not harder, we thrive. And if you’re the IT Guy, the addition of innovative technology is just icing on the cake. It’s not a new concept, but trusting office machines to tackle multiple tasks, and do them exceptionally well, is no easy feat. There’s not an IT manager in the world who isn’t on the hunt for the most streamlined, high-performing devices on the market that meet these requirements and then some. We want it all: speed, high output, low cost, low maintenance. And, to be honest, gadgets are cool. It’s even cooler when the latest, greatest devices really do improve our business. If wanting the biggest, baddest, and best for our team is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
Let’s get back to that coffee idea. If we’re truly going to #ReinventTheOffice, we have to combine the finer details that set a business apart – expert barista! – with the technologic innovations that drive it forward – streamlined machines! The result is kind of a big deal. HP promises to take the workhorses of the office, the printers we use every day, and make them faster, leaner, and smarter so we can focus on doing business and not on managing our equipment. Add the industry’s most advanced security and you’re practically in unicorn territory. It’s an aggressive agenda, but in the interest of future-thinking and world peace, we’re willing to try it out.
IT professionals serve double duty as both internal support and tech influencers at Gigaom. As a company, we bring the highest caliber news, editorial, and product information to our audience, and we implement our own best advice to keep our office running at its best. We’re taking a hard look at HP’s #ReinventTheOffice challenge, which aligns perfectly with our goal to stay on the leading edge of business technology. As usual, our readers will directly benefit from these efforts, but our IT managers will undoubtedly enjoy testing out that new, shiny toy. Stay tuned.

Quarterly numbers lend credence to Whitman’s plan for HP breakup

Originally published on Gigaom Research
HP has announced its final quarterly results prior to the break up into Hewlett Packard Enterprise — which will be led by current CEO Meg Whitman — and HP Inc. — to be headed up by Dion Weisler. The numbers suggest that Meg Whitman may be getting the bigger half of the wishbone with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and also lend support to the basic idea of splitting the company in half.
Of course the new HPE needs a new look, logo, and narrative:
HPE_Social_Media_Reveal_1200x600_B3
Meg Whitman made an observation about the new logo back in April:

Maybe you noticed it, but take a look at the name “Hewlett” in the new design.  This is the first time in our history that the two t’s in Hewlett connect. That connection is symbolic of the partnership we will forge with our customers, partners, and our employees – what we will do together to help drive your business forward.

Ok, I am willing to take that with a grain of salt. We’ll have to see what actually comes from the new HPE, but the numbers tell us something.
First of all, HP’s net income dropped to $900 million, or 47 cents a share, down from $1 billion, or 52 cents a share from the previous year.  But they beat expectations on profit slightly — after restructuring and acquisition charges were excluded — leading to the share price rising in after hours trading. Wall Street seems happy, so far.
And the best news, or perhaps the only good news, is the 2 percent increase in revenue for the HP enterprise group — the soon to be Hewlett Packard Enterprise — reflecting market uptake of the company’s servers, storage, and networking products.
The negative buzz at the earnings call is all about the other end of the soon-to-be-broken-apart HP: the printer and PC business of HP Inc. Or perhaps we can call it Red Inc. PC sales were down 13 percent, and the printer business is down by 9 percent.
I can’t find a post with a logo for the new HP Inc., but in a recent interview Weisler seemed to be saying that he’s bullish about 3D printing as a future for HP Inc., although he veers between wonky details and historical analogies so much it’s hard to tell:

Weisler: If we go way back in time, you had a blacksmith who would make a unique horseshoe for your horse, as an example.  That would be the manufacturing process. With the industrial revolution, the assembly line was created, and over the years we got better at pressing the supply chain, and making that assembly line more efficient. Manufacturing was still in the hands of a few. The internet comes along, and we can collapse and make that supply chain even more efficient and close it. It still was not really a dramatic change. With 3-D printing, you actually get to democratize manufacturing again because anybody can do it.
Now, where does that start? In our view, the greatest amount of value actually starts in the commercial marketplace. Ultimately as these technologies mature, it will make its way into the consumer realm, as well. Some have another strategy to grow from consumer up. I think the reason it has not taken off either in consumer or commercial, is as an industry we have not solved the problem of speed, quality, and cost. If you really want to be instructive to traditional manufacturing processes, you have to have it operate at the right speed, you have to have the right kind of quality, and you have to have an economic model that makes sense. So with multi-jet fusion, we believe we have made a really big breakthrough here.
Those who actually understand the industry well, and understand what we have done, recognize that we are printing copy ten times faster than the fastest printer on the market today.  We can do it with minute accuracy down to 21 microns–  about a tenth of a size of a human hair.  We can do very intricate parts that still have really strong mechanical properties.  Then because of the technique we use to print the part – we do it on a big flat bed – we can do highly economical parts that begin to make a difference. I think initially it will lend itself more towards commercial markets in the near-term.

I admit, I got lost in there. But I do believe that there is an enormous opportunity in 3D printing, and HP Inc. is well-positioned to attack that.
But I think that Meg Whitman has cleared her decks for the upcoming battle for enterprise infrastructure, and handed off her worst headaches to Dion Weisler. It’s looking like a better idea all the time.

Why boring workloads trump intergalactic scale in HP’s cloud biz

Although having a laugh at so-called “enterprise clouds” is a respected pastime in some circles, there’s an argument to be made that they do serve a legitimate purpose. Large-scale public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine are cheap, easy and flexible, but a lot of companies looking to deploy applications on cloud architectures simply don’t need all of that all of the time.

So says Bill Hilf, the senior vice president of Helion (the company’s label for its cloud computing lineup) product management at [company]HP[/company]. He came on the Structure Show podcast this week to discuss some recent changes in HP’s cloud product line and personnel, as well as where the company fits in the cloud computing ecosystem. Here are some highlights of the interview, but anyone interested in the details of HP’s cloud business and how its customers are thinking about the cloud really should listen to the whole thing.

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Amazon matters . . . and so does everything else

“First and foremost, our commitment and focus and investment in OpenStack hasn’t changed or wavered at all,” Hilf said. “It’s only increased, frankly. We are fully committed to OpenStack as our core infrastructure-as-a-service platform.” HP has been a large backer of the open source project for years now, and was building out an OpenStack-based cloud platform exclusively before acquiring Eucalyptus and its Amazon-Web-Services-compatible cloud technology in September.

However, he added, “As we started working with customers around what they were looking for in their overall cloud environment, we did hear the signal loud and clear that the AWS design pattern is incredibly relevant to them.” Often times, he explained, that means either hoping to bring an application into a private cloud from Amazon or perhaps moving an application from a private cloud into Amazon.

[pullquote person=”” attribution=”” id=”919622″]”People often use the term ‘lock-in’ or ‘proprietary.’ I think the vendors get too wrapped up in this.”[/pullquote]

Hilf thinks vendors targeting enterprise customers need to make sure they’re selling enterprise what they actually want and need, rather than what’s technologically awesome. “Our approach, from their feedback, is to take an application-down approach, rather than an infrastructure-up approach,” he said. “How do we think about a cloud environment that helps an application at all parts of its lifecycle, not just giving them the ability to spin up compute instances or virtual machines as fast as possible.”

Below is our post-Eucalyptus-acquisition podcast interview with Hilf, former Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos and HP CTO Martin Fink.

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Enterprise applications might be boring, and that’s OK

Whatever HP’s initial promises were about challenging [company]Amazon[/company] or [company]Microsoft[/company] in the public cloud space, that vision is all but dead. HP still maintains a public cloud, Hilf explained, bu does so as much to learn from the experience of managing OpenStack at scale as it does to make any real money from it. “It not only teaches us, but allows us to build things for people who are going to run our own [private-cloud] products at scale,” he said.

But most of the time, he said, the companies that are looking to deploy OpenStack or a private cloud aren’t super-concerned with concepts such as “webscale,” so it’s not really in HP’s financial interests to go down that path:

“[W]e don’t have an intention to go spend billions and billions of dollars to build the infrastructure required for, let’s say, an AWS or an Azure. . . . . It’s not because ‘Oh, we don’t want to write a billion-dollar check,’ it’s because [with] the types of customers we’re going after, that’s not at the top of their priority list. They’re not looking for a hundred thousand servers spread across the globe. . . . Things like security are much higher on their list than the intergalactic scale of a public cloud.”

Hilf added:

“What we typically hear day-to-day, honestly, is actually pretty unexciting and mundane from customers. They’re not all trying to stream the Olympics or to build Netflix. Like 99 percent of the enterprise in the world are doing boring things like server refreshes or their lease in a data center is expiring. It’s really boring stuff, but it matters to them.”

“If a customer came to me and said, ‘Hey I need to spin up a billion instances to do whatever,'” he said, “. . . I’d say, ‘Go talk to AWS or Azure.’”

Get over the talk about lock-in

Despite the fact that it’s pushing a lineup of Helion cloud products that’s based on the open source OpenStack technology, Hilf is remarkably realistic about the dreaded concept of vendor lock-in. Essentially, he acknowledged, HP, Amazon and everyone else building any sort of technology is going to make a management interface and experience that’s designed to work great with their particular technology, and customers are probably going to be running multiple platforms in different places.

Hilf thinks that’s a good thing and the nature of business, and it provides an opportunity for vendors (like HP, coincidentally) with tools to help companies get at least some view into what’s happening across all these different platforms.

“People often use the term ‘lock-in’ or ‘proprietary.’ I think the vendors get too wrapped up in this,” he said. “The enterprise is already through the looking glass. They all know they’re going to have some degree of lock-in, it’s just where.”

SAP to trim jobs and redeploy resources

Enterprise software giant SAP could cut up to 2,200 jobs (three percent of its 74,000 employees) in a move to rebalance employment around growth areas. The news was first reported by Bloomberg News.

[company]SAP[/company] CEO Bill McDermott told Bloomberg that the company needs to put jobs where the work is.

 “If I have a great growth opportunity in Middle East and I have excess of capacity in U.S. or Germany, I am gonna offer those employees the opportunity to go to Middle East, to where customers need us … We are not eliminating jobs but lifting and shifting those assets.”

A spokesman confirmed the news but said 2,200 was the upper limit and that many affected employees could end up in other positions in the faster-growing HANA or cloud business segments. Some jobs may go away via attrition. He said the company will end the year with more employees than it started out with: “SAP is hiring.”

Still, the axe will fall for some, in what would be the second set of cutbacks since McDermott assumed the top spot at SAP in 2013. The first round of cuts came in May 2014 in a move that McDermott said would bring total headcount to 67,000 by year’s end, so clearly some hiring took place in the interim.

SAP is hardly the only enterprise IT company struggling with the new sales and cost models of the cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service world. IBM and HP have both announced layoffs and employee reassignments to try to get their cost structures in line. IBM sounded a very similar message to SAP earlier this year, confirming layoffs but also stressing that its hiring in hot areas.

Part of the problem is that [company]IBM[/company], [company]HP[/company] and other older companies have relied on selling on high-end, high-margin software and hardware tied to big up-front purchases. The SaaS revolution, which spread payments out over time and offered less expensive (at least initially) products, took its toll on these players as born-to-SaaS companies like [company]Salesforce.com[/company] started to eat their lunch.

Now, even though those SaaS companies have moved more to an enterprise sales model — requiring up-front payouts for a year or more of use — they are still seen as more cost-effective and more modern than the legacy guys.

HP fine-tunes its multi-cloud pitch

It must be really interesting to work at Hewlett-Packard these days. Not only is the company breaking itself in half, it’s making multi-billion-dollar acquisitions and it’s balancing an array of cloud offerings. Oh, and it just shook up cloud management, with Marten Mickos turning key responsibilities over to three other execs, including Bill Hilf,  SVP of HP Helion product management.

As of now, [company]HP[/company] is fielding two private cloud frameworks. Eucalyptus (or, as reported last week, Helion Eucalyptus) is for people who want compatibility with Amazon Web Services APIs. Helion OpenStack is apparently for everyone else.

These two offerings got point upgrades this week. Helion OpenStack 1.1, for example, features better high-availability features, and better support for running Windows workloads (with Microsoft backstopping HP’s own support.) Helion Eucalyptus 4.1 gets an “AWS CloudFormation compatible service” to make it easier for customers to move orchestration templates from AWS to HP Helion clouds without rewriting or a ton of tweaking. And Helion Development Environment (aka HP’s version of the Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service) gets better logging, more dashboards to track usage quotas and system patches.

Bill Hilf, SVP of Helion Cloud product management for HP.

Bill Hilf, SVP of Helion Cloud product management for HP.

No AWS APIs for OpenStack

HP will not add AWS API compatibility to Helion Openstack, Hilf said in an interview Tuesday. Instead, he said, the company will offer Cloud Service Automation atop the various clouds — Helion Eucalyptus, Helion OpenStack, [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services, [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure, [company]VMware[/company] — that will give users the proverbial “one pane of glass” to manage them all.

As is usually the case, the rationale cited was customer feedback. “We sat in focus groups and customers said they didn’t want [AWS] S3 APIs embedded in OpenStack. They wanted an OpenStack cloud and an AWS-compatible cloud and a VMware-based cloud and to be able to move stuff between them,” Hilf said.

“So instead of burning huge time and resources in community debates, we decided, why not just let them build those different clouds and manage them all across the top?”

A public cloud, but not an AWS rival

[company]HP[/company] continues to offer public cloud, but the positioning of that has definitely changed. Its product was once positioned (a year or so ago) as an enterprise-worthy public cloud to compete directly with Amazon Web Services, but that’s no longer the sales pitch.

“We are not building a general-purpose cloud at that scale for any type of workload,” Hilf said. “We are focused on building private, managed clouds that can interoperate. We do have public cloud but we’re not aiming to compete with the big three. We want to interoperate with them.”

Yup: HP’s buying Aruba for about $3B

It’s true: Hewlett-Packard is buying Aruba Networks and its campus Wi-Fi expertise for about $2.7 billion, exclusive of cash, both companies said early Monday.

The per-share price is $24.67 in cash.

From the press release:

Together, [company]HP[/company] and [company]Aruba[/company] will deliver next-generation converged campus solutions, leveraging the strong Aruba brand.  This new combined organization will be led by Aruba’s Chief Executive Officer Dominic Orr, and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Keerti Melkote, reporting to Antonio Neri, leader of HP Enterprise Group.

News of the deal leaked last week and was first reported by Bloomberg.

This purchase should give HP more ammo to go after rival Cisco in the WLAN market. The HP and Aruba boards have approved the deal, which is expected to close between May and October of this year.

It also adds another level of complexity for HP which, as it adds Aruba to the mix, is dividing itself into two companies in what has been described as the biggest corporate break up in history.  The two entities at the end of the process will be HP Enterprise — converged hardware, cloud etc. and presumably Aruba’s new home and the HP Co.,the new home for all those HP PCs and printers.

Kubernetes comes to OpenStack this time thanks to Mirantis

For businesses wanting to run the Kubernetes cluster management framework for containers on OpenStack clouds, Google and Mirantis have teamed up to make that happen more easily.

The OpenStack Murano application catalog technology promises to ease deployment of Kubernetes clusters on OpenStack and then deploy Docker containers on those clusters.

Murano provides what Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel (pictured above) described as a “seamless point-and-click experience” not only for deploying workloads to OpenStack, but also making sure they get there with associated automation, provisioning and security intact. “In this case we use it to automate the provisioning and life cycle management of containers,” he said.

Murano, he added, makes it easier for people to build application environments that can be container-only, or mix containers with bare metal and virtual machines in one big happy package. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

This is not the industry’s first attempt to bring Kubernetes technology, open sourced by Google last year, over to OpenStack. In August, [company] Hewlett-Packard[/company] announced its own Kubernetes setup utility for HP’s OpenStack-based Helion cloud, but I haven’t heard much about it since.

There is no exclusivity in this latest news. The work Mirantis and [company]Google[/company] have done here will, in theory, help customers deploy Kubernetes on any OpenStack distribution. Mirantis and Google will demonstrate the technology Thursday in San Francisco.

And in the grand scheme of things, nearly every cloud or wanna-be cloud vendor worth its salt (including SaltStack) Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat and others, have pledged or contributed actual support for Kubernetes.

This latest news is another indication that Google is indeed serious about providing cloud capabilities to business customers, many of whom still view public clouds like Google Cloud Platform with suspicion. OpenStack is the cloud framework usually mentioned when a company decides to deploy a private cloud that they deem more suited for mission-critical workloads.

“From a Google perspective, containerization is important and running container clusters is a great way to enable developers to be productive,” said Kit Merker, the Google product manager focusing on Google Container Engine and Kubernetes.

“We know that enterprises will take time to transition to cloud. Kubernetes is a way to optimize infrastructure so it can run workloads in private or public cloud or bare metal.”

kubernetes openstackSo this is about workload portability but not really hybrid cloud per se. “This means you can build an application that uses containers and then move it to a different environment. That is what Kubernetes is all about,” he said. That is not the same thing as seamlessly integrating public and private clouds into a hybrid scenario.

[company]Amazon[/company] Web Services still leads the world in public cloud but Google and [company]Microsoft[/company] are giving it a run for its money. Microsoft Azure, because of its business roots, is seen as an attractive public cloud for that company’s myriad business customers so both Google and AWS have to show that they “get” CIO concerns about cloud deployment and provide enterprise class features and functions.

This step by Google, along with other moves announced in the fall and more recent news that it’s bringing four Google services to VMware’s  vCloud Air, are meant to reassure the C-suite set that Google means business.

Note: This story was updated at 11:11 a.m. PST with a more complete list of Kubernetes contributors.