HP has been in the cloud services business for quite some time; the product that they used to have was called CloudSystem Matrix which leveraged proprietary code that they developed themselves over the years to be able to automate provisioning of Virual machines and Physical hardware. VMware was the main hypervisor layer they started with (as did every customer) but slowly expanded into support Hyper-V.
HP Helion is a new umbrella term that encompasses all HP Cloud solutions, Public cloud, internal / private cloud and hybrid solutions.
It also includes the services and automation solutions that work inside the HP Openstack (Cloudsystem).
HP CloudSystem 8 (CS8)
In March of 2014 HP released the latest version called CloudSystem 8 that is a complete code redesign based on OpenStack.
They have released their own distribution of OpenStack from the main Icehouse trunk called Helion OpenStack.
What I like about that at the core is that it uses Icehouse with NO proprietary code so essentially you are getting the latest Icehouse (full incorporation of Swift, Nova, Cinder, Keystone and Neutron) but with fully HP support in the backend. One of the things that most people don’t know about is that HP 3PAR is the first Tier 1 block storage that has full OpenStack Cinder support.
The Cloudsystem 8 portion of the solution puts all of these technologies together, with added HP software that is not included in Openstack.
For example, Horizon is lacking in some areas so HP has developed an HTML5 based front end into the OpenStack deployment that stretches and incorporates not only OpenStack resources but also your existing VMWare deployment and Hyper-V.
HP OneView integration provides you with auto deployment of bare-bone hardware and HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) and Operations Orchestration (OO) provides the OS and application deployment on any platform of your choosing.
Essentially all of these different technologies put together are CloudSystem 8.
There will be multiple versions, from free to Foundation to Enterprise. Enterprise will include the CSA and OO Components and will compare more to VMware vCAC and Cisco CIAC.