Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) top cloud computing executives are set to invade the OpenStack Summit (April 15-18, Portland, Oregon). HP's strong presence at the show will come at a critical time. Like IBM, Dell and other rivals, HP is building its public cloud atop OpenStack, the open source cloud platform. But it's difficult to judge just how much progress HP's Converged Cloud strategy is making  -- especially as public clouds like Amazon Web Services seemingly gain momentum by the hour.

During previous OpenStack conferences, former HP Senior VP Zorawar 'Biri' Singh often delivered keynotes and led media briefings. Singh was an engaging speaker who could describe highly technical topics to aspiring HP partners. But Singh exited HP in January 2013 -- a move that surprised many HP and cloud industry pundits.

Who's Calling the Shots?

The big question: Does HP have a deep bench of cloud talent? Apparently, the answer is yes. And that talent will be on display at the OpenStack Summit. Expected attendees will include:

  • Saar Gillai, SVP and GM, HP Converged Cloud: Gillai is set to keynote.
  • Roger Levy, VP and GM, HP Cloud Services: A key person on the public cloud strategy.  
  • Margaret Dawson, VP, Product Marketing and HP Cloud Evangelist: An expert on how HP Cloud Services products run atop OpenStack.
  • Eileen Evans, VP and associate general counsel, HP Cloud Computing and Open Source: A key source who works closely with the OpenStack board and community.

HP launched a Public Cloud Reseller program back in February 2013. But so far that program is fairly basic. The three core components include:

  • Now: Referal program where HP manages end-customer billing.
  • Late this year: Reseller program where partners can manage end-customer billing.
  • And then some future add-ons that allow partners to manage end-customer provisioning.

Those partner program components likely appeal to traditional resellers and VARs. The OpenStack Summit, in stark contrast, will focus far more heavily on ISVs (independent software vendors) and corporate adopters. In theory, OpenStack will allow vendors and businesses alike to build public and private clouds that are compatible with one another.

Can HP somehow prove that its cloud strategy has a leg up against IBM and Dell, among others? Talkin' Cloud will go searching for answers at the summit.