HP Bought Stackato. Now What?

On July 28th, HP announced the purchase of Stackato from Active State.

Stackato has an impressive list of customers including Mozilla, Cisco, Capital One, and others. Active State is an active contributor and member of the Cloud Foundry platform.

Question on the table is “what is future for Cloud Foundry under HP?” Obviously there is no clear answer and there won’t be for a while.

HP already has a Cloud Foundry implementation they have gone to market with under the Helion Development Platform (HDP) brand. Now HP has the Stackato implementation in parallel with HDP. I would expect the Stackato additions on top of Cloud Foundry to be ported to HDP and them effectively to be merged.

The employees and product will be a part of the HP Cloud group in the new HP Enterprise company when the split from HP Inc is completed later this year. HP Cloud has an interesting few years. Its most widely known product is the Helion OpenStack distribution. In September of 2014, HP purchased Eucalyptus. An interesting acquisition given Helion’s and Eucalyptus’s widely differing approaches to private cloud. HP giving Marten Mickos the reigns to HP Cloud made the Eucalyptus acquisition appear to be an “acquihire”. (Not to mention all the other smart people at Eucalyptus now at HP.) This was short lived as Marten transitioned to a customer advocacy role in February of 2015. In between you had the announcement of the HP split into personal and enterprise companies.

HP has been incredibly confusing when it comes to its cloud strategy. There was the attempt at public cloud that was then discarded. Multiple launches of an OpenStack product, and now you have HP Cloud OS and the Helion portfolio. You also have the revolving door of leaders and strategy.

Stackato/HDP has real competition on at least two fronts. First you have the argument on whether Cloud Foundry is the PaaS to build your cloud native applications on. Second if you choose Cloud Foundry, why choose Stackato/HDP? HP has to answer number two for enterprise customers.

If you believe Private Cloud is a viable long term choice and you already leverage HP heavily in your enterprise, you may select Helion which would then give you Stackato/HDP as well. If you believe Private Cloud is not the proper strategic choice, you are looking at Public Cloud and probably Pivotal is your provider of choice.

If you are an enterprise looking for strategic services and consulting about where to even begin in the area of Cloud Native, HP has stiff competition. IBM’s BlueMix is available with everything IBM brings with it. Additionally, IBM does not have the chaotic appearance from the outside that HP Cloud has had for the past year or so. CapGemini is another provider of services with customers across various enterprises.

So what happens to Stackato/HDP/Cloud Foundry? We have to wait and see. If HP can remain dedicated and deliver on their strategy, there is an enterprise market for them. They have to show consistency, delivery and fend off other big names for the same customer base. Long term, there has to be a market for private cloud and that may be their biggest challenge overall.

Note: All of the comments above are my own and not those of my employer.