As HP Targets the Cloud, Open Source Players Could Be Acquisition Targets

by Sam Dean - Mar. 15, 2011Comments (1)

Among major Silicon Valley technology companies, Hewlett-Packard is going through a period of enormous strategic shifts. The company has a relatively new CEO, Leo Apotheker, who laid out HP's corporate strategy this week, and made clear that the company won't rely on legacy software and strategies going forward. Instead, HP is staking its future--as Microsoft and other tech giants are--on cloud computing. At HP's summit for analysts and journalists, Apotheker made clear that he will focus the company on the cloud and on analytics, which adds fuel to recent conjencture that HP may have increasing relationships with players focused on open source in the cloud, possibly including acquisitions of open source cloud players.

As The Register notes:

"Apotheker said that HP would offer raw infrastructure clouds as well as platform clouds – what used to be called 'middleware,' as he put it – but offered no details on how HP would do this without competing with the big cloudy providers that buy its servers. (Maybe they are buying more Dell iron than we think?) This cloud will include private, virtual private, and public partitions (meaning you can plunk a slice of it into your own data center or use HP's or do a little of both and cloudburst from one to the other). On top of that will be platform services for building, testing, and deploying cloud services (what we used to call 'applications'), and in front of this will be an 'open cloud marketplace' for generic consumer, SMB, and enterprise applications as well as industry vertical applications."

What was missing from Apotheker's strategic stance is how HP will fill in the many holes in its product portfolio required to execute this end-to-end focus on the cloud. Recently, many observers have wondered if HP may be looking at Red Hat as a possible acquisition. 

After Sun Microsystems and Novell were both bought by technology giants last year, that left Red Hat as the only public, U.S. company focused on open source. Open source is increasingly contributing to the commercial efforts of countless companies, and large companies like Gap Inc. have successfully moved to Red Hat's platform.  For these companies, Red Hat's ability to serve cloud-based strategies is a prime attraction.

Of course, if HP were to acquire Red Hat, or other open source players in the cloud, its long-standing relationship with Microsoft might be threatened. Still, Apotheker beat the cloud drum so mightily this week that it's almost certain that acquisitions will be a part of its strategy going forward, and open source cloud players and infrastructure providers could be low hanging fruit.

As we noted here, there are prominent analysts considering what value open source providers could bring to HP. The open holes in HP's cloud strategy will be well worth following over the next year, as the company has to find a way to fill them.



Handrus Nogueira uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?



1 Comments
 

Novell is not an Open Source company, nor it is "focused on open source". It is less "focused on open source" than Oracle. Unless "focused on open source" means trying to destroy it. Then the are second only to Microsoft.


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