American tech giant Hewlett Packard (HP) revealed today that it is expanding its cloud portfolio with several new solutions and services in an effort to offer enterprises greater agility, simplified management and improved security. 

HP said that its cloud strategy involves delivering hybrid solutions that bridge traditional IT with private, public and managed clouds.  

The firm announced at the HP Discover conference in Barcelona this morning that an updated version of the CloudSystem platform - used for building and managing private clouds - will be available worldwide in the first half of 2014. 

HP said the updated CloudSystem will include a new "consumer-inspired" user interface, simplified management tools and a new deployment process that aims to enable customers to set up and deploy a hybrid cloud environment in hours, compared to weeks for other hybrid cloud solutions.

HP also said that the new CloudSystem will ship with HP Cloud OS, the company’s “hardened” version of OpenStack, marking the first time the company has made the technology — which it uses in house — broadly available to its customers.

The new CloudSystem has the HP Hybrid Cloud Management Platform built into it. The Management Platform integrates HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) version 4.0 and includes native support for both HP CloudOS with OpenStack and the open-source standard TOSCA (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications).

HP also revealed that it is expanding its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) offering, which aims to help businesses take advantage of the economics of a public cloud while retaining the security and control of a private cloud solution. The latest version of HP Managed VPC will allow customers to choose virtual or physical configurations, multiple tiers of storage, hypervisors and network connectivity types.  

Speaking at the Fira conference centre, HP Enterprise Group executive vice president Bill Veghte said: “The cloud is the most significant incremental R&D investment that we’re making within HP.

"We took a stance a couple of years ago saying it was going to be a hybrid world. Not just a public or private world,” added the man who was tipped for big things at HP last night by a senior employee within the company. 

While there have been a number of positive announcements from HP this week, a dark cloud was cast over Discover this year when protestors picketed outside the conference over the organisation's ongoing job cuts in Spain.