I’m a guest of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise at Discover 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. I enjoy catching up with the only remaining full-line computer company. HP was a competitor in my DEC days, and since the Compaq purchase they incorporate the remains of DEC as well.

One of their themes this year is multi-cloud infrastructure. The multi-cloud is the Swiss Army knife of cloud implementation: private; public; managed; and, for good luck, incorporating those bits you can’t or don’t want to migrate to any cloud.

HPE says they have a wide array of software and services to enable multi-cloud implementations, whose enumeration will be left as an exercise for the reader. I’m more interested in this as a competitive response to the public cloud.

HPE’s cloud integration software supports the major cloud providers as well as a customer’s private cloud. Cloud brokerage is on the horizon, allowing customers to automagically get the lowest cost cloud service for a given workload.

The StorageMojo take
Today, of course, Google, Microsoft and AWS have very different strengths and capabilities. But to the extent that customers have common cloud needs – and to the extent that cloud providers care to respond to competition – they will tend to converge over time.

That convergence is another name for commoditization. And if HPE and others encourage their customers to play cloud providers off against each other based on price, that will shift the market’s center of gravity.

This isn’t a 24 month shift, more like 10 years. Yet as we look at future arc of public cloud adoption, we start to see how current vendors can effectively respond.

Short answer: public clouds are not the inevitable winners over enterprise data centers. The battle will continue to evolve, for the benefit of all of us, if not all vendors.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.