HP’s announcement on Friday that it will open source its Linux-based mobile operating system webOS means that a competitor to Android and Apple iOS survives, even though it has yet to garner significant attention from the developer community. Meg Whitman’s decision to open source webOS empowers the open source developer network to enhance a product that was widely regarded as highly promising even though it failed to gain traction because of poor sales of HP smartphones and tablets. HP’s decision to open source webOS comes just months after its August announcement terminating sales of webOS products, including the HP TouchPad and webOS phones.
HP is reportedly considering an open source licensing structure through the Apache Software Foundation. In terms of governance, HP is leaning towards a structure similar to Red Hat’s Fedora Project, which would allow HP to retain tighter control over enterprise-grade Linux deployments and provide HP with final voting authority on webOS updates, thereby ensuring the product remains compatible with subsequent versions of HP’s hardware. Whitman does foresee a future for webOS powered tablets developed by HP, but noted such tablets may not materialize until 2013. HP purchased webOS as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in April 2010.
At HP Discover in Vienna, HP provided details of Autonomy IDOL (Integrated Data Operating Layer) 10, a Next Generation Information Platform that integrates two of its 2011 acquisitions, Vertica and Autonomy. HP acquired Vertica in February and Autonomy in August. Vertica features a data warehousing and analytics platform known as the Vertica Analytics Platform that specializes in the high speed analysis of large-scale structured data sets. The Vertica Analytics Platform boasts real-time loading and querying that minimizes the time-lag between data loading and the delivery of business intelligence insights. Moreover, the Vertica Analytics Platform features analytic optimization tools that deliver maximum performance while minimizing the need for manual adjustments from users. Vertica also claims bi-directional connectors to Hadoop and Pig for the purpose of managing “big data” in structured form.
HP’s acquisition Autonomy complements Vertica by providing a platform for the processing of unstructured data such as video, audio, social media, email and web-related content and search results. Autonomy IDOL 10 features the following attributes:
• Autonomy’s capabilities for processing unstructured data
• Vertica’s ability to rapidly process large-scale structured data sets
• A NoSQL interface for loading and analyzing structured and unstructured data
• Solutions dedicated to the Data, Social Media, Risk Management, Cloud and Mobility verticals
HP’s Autonomy IDOL 10 competes with its own more specialized Vertica and Autonomy products, in addition to Oracle’s Hadoop and NoSQL Big Data Platform and Microsoft’s forthcoming Hadoop-based, Big Data appliance. Hadoop represents the common thread between all three Big Data products even as non-Hadoop based Big Data products such as HPCC from Lexis-Nexis gained publicity this week with the announcement of the availability of its ETL platform on the Amazon Web Services EC2 infrastructure. Autonomy IDOL 10 is available worldwide as of December 1, 2011.
One of the major announcements at this week’s OpenStack Conference in Boston was HP’s decision to use Ubuntu as the “lead host and guest operating system” for its OpenStack-based Public cloud. HP’s selection of Ubuntu marked a huge affirmation for Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company. As commercial grade OpenStack deployments proliferate, HP’s decision to choose Ubuntu positions Canonical strongly to gain traction in the emerging market for commercial grade, host and guest operating systems for OpenStack.
In a blog post, Canonical commented on HP’s selection of Ubuntu by noting: “Both companies share a common commitment to open source and both embrace the OpenStack community. With over 117 member companies the momentum behind OpenStack is truly game changing and promises to position it at the center of the next wave of computing.” Canonical joined the OpenStack project in February and in May, announced that that the 11.10 version of its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud would be based on OpenStack instead of Eucalyptus.
HP became the latest technology behemoth to support OpenStack, joining company with the likes of AMD, Canonical, Cisco, Dell, Intel and Citrix on July 27. Emil Sayegh, HP’s VP of Cloud Services, announced Hewlett Packard’s support for OpenStack in a blog post featuring the following highlights:
• Recognition of the importance of open source, inter-operable solutions for the cloud computing industry
• Active participation in the OpenStack community
• Sponsorship of the OpenStack Design Summit and OpenStack Conference in October 2011.
• Belief that collaboration with OpenStack marks an “opportunity to enable customers, partners and developers with unique infrastructure and development solutions across public, private and hybrid cloud environments.”
The last bullet point indicates that HP is likely to deliver hardware that comes pre-loaded with OpenStack software that can support customers seeking to build public, private and hybrid cloud computing deployments. HP’s affirmation of OpenStack arrived in conjunction with analogous but different affirmations from Nebula and Dell. Nebula announced its intent to launch an appliance pre-loaded with OpenStack software while Dell revealed details of an OpenStack Cloud Solution that enables customers to quickly deploy OpenStack based cloud solutions using a combination of hardware, software and professional services. OpenStack can now claim support from over 90 companies and more than 1200 contributors.