Both Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) are building their public clouds on OpenStack, the emerging open source platform for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). That's good news for OpenStack advocates and customers that may want to potentially shift cloud workloads from HP to Dell -- or vice versa. But will HP and Dell differentiate enough from each other in the cloud? I'm betting yes.
Michael Dell and his executive team discussed OpenStack a bit last week during the Dell World conference in Austin, Texas. For its part, HP since early 2012 has vowed to run its cloud on OpenStack.
Still, I believe channel partners don't yet have a feel for where OpenStack may fit in their cloud strategies. Those channel partners have a range of options from which to choose, including:
So how will OpenStack eventually win out against those options? Rackspace, a vocal OpenStack proponent, has often said customers will demand OpenStack clouds because it will be far easier to move workloads from one OpenStack provider to the next.
But that begs the question: Will HP and Dell essentially build identical, competing OpenStack clouds? I think not.
Take a look at Dell's recent acquisitions, and you'll see how the Dell Cloud will likely attract channel partners.
HP, meanwhile, seems focused on an SLA (service level agreement) push against Amazon, promising the strongest SLAs among public cloud service providers. More recently HP has discussed:
The bottom line: If Dell and HP build identical IaaS offerings atop OpenStack software and Intel hardware, the duo will be locked in another commodity price war. I don't think either company will allow that to happen...