Workday breaks silence on HP-Amazon controversy

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Workday breaks silence on HP-Amazon controversy

Workday broke the silence Wednesday about the high-profile deal between the company and Hewlett-Packard that appeared to tread on Amazon's cloud territory.

HP Chief Operating Officer Bill Veghte caused a stir last week at the HP Discover conference when he announced HP had moved Workday over from Amazon's public cloud to HP's.

But, Workday Chairman Aneel Bhusri made clear it was not abandoning Amazon Web Services for HP as Veghte seemed to imply.

"We're happy customers of both," Bhusri said at the GigaOM Structure 2013 conference Wednesday in San Francisco.

Workday, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based software-as-service provider that bills itself as the enterprise cloud for human resources and finance, uses Amazon and HP servers for internal development, he said. "Two sources are very common in the world of IT."

HP has since apologized for misstating the impact of the public cloud deal with Workday on Amazon Web Services. "During our HP Discover event, HP was very pleased to announce Workday as a customer for HP's public cloud. However, we misstated the impact of that announcement on Workday's relationship with Amazon Web Services. We apologize for the mistake," HP said in a statement.

Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels, who chatted amiably during a break on the stairs with Bhusri, would not comment directly about the deal.

Amazon's competition, he said, is coming from server vendors. That would include HP, which is turning into a player on the public cloud scene and a potential Amazon competitor.

"We always knew this was not a winner-take-all landscape," Vogels said, referring to the incursion into public cloud by traditional IT players like HP and IBM, during a question-and-answer session. The previous year, he called the traditional enterprise IT "dinosaurs" at Structure 2012.

"We've always strongly believed we should be focusing on our customers, making it easier for our customers to do things in the cloud," he said on Wednesday. That includes, Vogels said, increasing security and easy scalability that puts the end user behind the wheel -- anything that increases customers' comfort zone and allows the public cloud to tap into to the potentially lucrative enterprise market.

Amazon Web Services won a 10-year CIA cloud computing deal in January worth $600 million despite being more expensive to build and run than IBM's bid. The government chose quality over price, Vogels said Wednesday responding to questions about the deal. "We could get the job done with superior technology."


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