HP’s New Cloud Engineering SVP Bolsters Open Stack Efforts

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. July 16, 2014

HP’s recent hiring of Mark Interrante as SVP, engineering for HP Cloud marks a significant step in the company’s cloud computing efforts and overarching Helion strategy. Interrante came to HP from Rackspace, where he was SVP Products and Engineering, led the company’s product organization and was responsible for dedicated hosting solutions, internal customer support applications, Private Cloud, data science and network architecture.

Just as importantly for HP, Interrante was one of those (along with other Rackspace and NASA personnel) responsible for the founding and early development of OpenStack. That invention resulted in the design, development, and operation of what Rackspace calls the world’s largest open cloud, and helped drive OpenStack’s popularity as an open source foundation for cloud infrastructures.

What Comes Next?

At HP, Interrante will be responsible for Cloud R&D for all HP Helion OpenStack products, HP Public Cloud engineering, and building HP Cloud’s emerging PaaS and Development Platform capabilities. But while Interrante is a valuable addition to HP’s team, he obviously won’t be going it alone, and his appointment won’t affect any of the key executive functions already in place in HP Cloud.

Saar Gillai remains SVP and COO of HP Cloud, and will continue to own and lead operations, business development, HP Public Cloud operations, cloud security, professional services and all other pan-HP Cloud strategy and operational functions. Bill Hilf, who came to HP from Microsoft Azure where he was a key platform architect, will continue to oversee his growing HP Cloud product and service management organization.

Final Analysis

Why is this a big deal for HP? For three reasons:

  1. Along with serving as a core architecture for HP’s Helion-related solutions and services, OpenStack has an increasingly important role in open cloud environments and infrastructures of every sort.
  2. That position is likely to grow further, especially given the momentum OpenStack is developing with the critical support of platinum sponsors, including HP, IBM, Rackspace, Red Hat, SuSE and Ubuntu.
  3. HP’s own related efforts continue apace, including its ongoing OpenStack code contributions, work on the OpenStack board and in chairing various committees, and recent new product and service announcements, like the HP Helion OpenStack Community; release of the beta HP Helion OpenStack Commercial Edition; general availability of the HP Helion OpenStack Community Edition; and beta release of the HP Helion Development Platform.

As a result, Interrante’s past efforts and experience bring a particular kind of “star power” to HP Cloud that will benefit the company and the efforts of the hundreds of members of the Helion team. His arrival, along with others like Hilf, should also help quell concerns among some HP partners and shareholders about challenges the company has faced in finding and retaining executive talent. HP clearly didn’t rush into things with Interrante—the core Helion strategy was launched over three months before his appointment was announced. But no one can question the quality or value of this new hire.

The appointment should also help stifle questions that some have expressed about HP’s R&D commitment. Several of the company’s toughest competitors expend more resources and speak more publicly about their research than HP. Interrante’s high-profile hire underscores the $1B+ the company has committed to HP Cloud, Helion and OpenStack, and should also bolster its general position in and reputation for technology-centric R&D.

Overall, we consider the hiring of Mark Interrante as SVP, engineering for HP Cloud to be a coup that will strengthen the company’s cloud efforts and its Helion strategy. In addition, the hiring should bolster HP’s reputation for R&D innovation, and help continue the industry momentum around OpenStack.

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