HP's Terence Ngai on which cloud is right for you

Terence Ngai is a man with his head well and truly in the cloud. As the director of Solution Marketing with HP Converged Cloud, he was the perfect person to tell ITProPortal about what HP's cloud could do for your business, and what the right type of cloud is for you:

We work with the customer to help them transform their business. It's not just about IT, it's about IT as an enabler. At the end of the day, it's about helping the customer to drive their business forward, whether they need increased revenue, or cost savings, or just doing things differently to be successful.

The first thing we do is we work with the customer to come up with a plan, before we sell them any boxes or software or anything like that. The most important thing is aligning the IT strategy with the business strategy. Making sure the CIO, or the IT executive understand what the IT investment is for - because then you have a better chance of driving the business forward.

So we have professional services that range from planning and advisory, to building the strategy. Then based on that strategy, we build a roadmap. It could be a technological roadmap, or a business roadmap, in terms of process, change and governance.

The most important thing is: can you make it real? Transforming either the application itself, whether it's a mobile app, or moving it from the mainframe to somewhere else, as well as the data centre. So when we talk about transformation, it's both the infrastructure as well as the application.

An application modernisation strategy, for instance - based on the state of the application, maybe you need to replace it with a SaaS, maybe you need to rewrite it, or move it to a cloud platform. This is where we come in and talk with our clients. Once we've determined what needs to go where, we can also continue to help them with deploying the application, either in their data centre or our data centre.

That's what make us different from other vendors who do cloud. It's not just about selling servers and software. It's about managing the lifecycle of the application, which also means managing the business services, and the business processes.

For customers who want to put their applications in a private cloud, we have products and solutions like Cloud System, where we have them actually build it. But for the customers who want HP to host it form them, we have our data centre, and you can put the application on ours. If they want an Amazon-like model, we also have public cloud, and we're adding platform services.

Because we're a partnering company, we actually work with our partners to enable them to deliver cloud services - not just everything from HP. We give them technology and expertise from various programmes.

We also have hybrid delivery. Customers can build an application in the public cloud as a dev-test, for example, and when it's ready for production, they might want to move back to the private cloud, because they have company sensitive information, or whatever.

Then there's Cloud OS. The power of Cloud OS is that we abstract the infrastructure, so when you build an application, it doesn't matter where you deploy it, we can do the translation for you.

Every business is different, they have their own challenges. Some people may want to move applications into a managed environment, some people might want to replace their CRM and use Salesforce.com. We're not here to say "use everything HP". There are some good SaaS out there. Forget about doing your mainframe - move it!

But for a small to medium-sized company, it absolutely makes sense for them to move to either a public cloud or a managed cloud. But for a large enterprise, you absolutely have to use a portfolio approach. If you have 5,000 applications, maybe 200 of those can go into the cloud. The rest of them don't touch.