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12 December 2019

HPE’s multicloud launch highlights MNOs’ need for enterprise partners

Large enterprise IT suppliers are determined that the hyperscale companies will not have everything their own way in the edge cloud value chain. IBM, Google, HPE and others aim to leverage their existing position in corporate technology markets to target pole position at the edge.

That could help enterprises achieve a more consistent experience across different private and public environments, which could help constrain the power of the webscale giants by making a multicloud option easier for companies to adopt. But it presents another set of important partnerships that operators need to forge, if they are to leverage their high value connectivity, especially 5G, to take a strategic position in the enterprise edge, rather than being ‘bit-pipes’.

HPE timed the launch of its new managed hybrid cloud platform, GreenLake Central, to coincide with Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent jamboree. The system adds a

unified management console to HPE’s as-a-service portfolio and its attempt to provide a full edge-to-cloud solution for large enterprises.

The console sits on top of GreenLake, HPE’s capacity-as-a-service offering. It lets customers choose where best to run their workloads – in public or private cloud, centrally or at the edge – depending on multiple criteria such as cost, governance, performance, security and others. They retain a unified view across multiple public clouds, edge nodes, private clouds and on-premises data centers; and only pay for resources they consume, while being able to track their spending.

HPE is committed to offering its entire portfolio on an as-a-service basis by 2022. It says its new launch is in response to GreenLake customers’ demands to make the service more manageable, and to enable a consistent experience across all data platforms – also a key theme of re:Invent this year.

HPE says GreenLake Central will help to address “chaos” at the edge, and to help organizations which are finding that digital transformation, and migration to the cloud, are creating cost and complexity, rather than the simplicity they promised.

“To add to these challenges, the vast majority of today’s applications and data remain in the data center, and are growing exponentially at the edge. As a result, organizations have been dealing with a siloed, inconsistent experience across their hybrid estate, and lack control and visibility into the costs and risks across their enterprise,” said the vendor in its statement.

“We originally announced it as being a really flexible, on-demand, capacity-as-a-service offer,” said Scott Yow, general manager of GreenLake. “We’ve had a good level of success, but we also realized our clients were starting to build on top of that and we started to look at how we can work with them to evolve the on-premises experience to have a lot more look and feel like public cloud.”

While the main attraction may be better control and informed decision making for the CIO and CFO, there are also promised benefits for enterprise developers, which will gain access to a simple ‘point, click, get’ pay-per-use system, which supports the creation and release of new code regardless of underlying infrastructure.

HPE GreenLake Central is in trials with customers now, and will be generally available to GreenLake clients by the end of the first quarter of 2020. At launch it will support AWS, Azure and VMware environments, and Google is on the roadmap.

The vendor says GreenLake has achieved $4bn in sales after just two years in existence, and has over 700 customers with a 99% renewal rate. CEO Antonio Neri says it is HPE’s fastest growing business, and that should continue as enterprises accelerate edge-to-cloud projects, and as HPE moves all its portfolio to the as-a-service model under the GreenLake banner.

“GreenLake Central is the next-generation of GreenLake,” Yow said. “It builds on top of the success we’ve had to date with GreenLake by adding a SaaS platform and a level of automation and support.”

For HPE, this launch is critical to help it seize the optimal position in the enterprise cloud value chain. It may have to live alongside Microsoft Azure and AWS, but it can prevent these being the dominant enterprise partners. Thus it is focusing heavily on multicloud credentials, looking to relegate AWS and the others to commodity status.

Yow said GreenLake Central is truly multicloud because it does not create a walled garden, but uses the public cloud providers’ native languages and tools. He compared this with the strategy of virtualization veteran VMware, and its parent company Dell, which already has hybrid cloud partnerships with AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle and others. But according to Yow, in an interview with SDxCentral, “the Dell-VMware strategy around hybrid is to extend the VMware architecture within AWS that allows VMware workloads to migrate back and forth. You have a consistent VMware experience on premises as well as in Amazon, but you don’t get access to all of the great cloud capabilities within Amazon. It’s more like colocation versus a true cloud experience.”