HPE Wants to Become Your Go-to for Anything As a Service

HPE announces that its GreenLake cloud platform will integrate Red Hat solutions and offer a suite of new features over the next few months.

At HPE Discover 2022, Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) made many announcements that have caught the attention of the engineering industry. Now that the dust has settled and people have had the chance to dig into the news, which announcements should we be keeping an eye on when it comes to optimizing cloud systems at engineering enterprises?

Perhaps the announcement with the most buzz is that Red Hat’s open-source technologies will be integrated into new service offerings on the HPE GreenLake platform. With this partnership, Red Hat and HPE will offer open-source solutions for enterprises of all sizes to accelerate their digital transformation.

“This extended partnership makes it easy for HPE GreenLake customers to consume and work with Red Hat’s highly regarded open-source solutions. This enables our joint customers to focus on accelerating their business transformations, at a lower cost, while solving their most pressing challenges around performance, risk, and speed, without worries about integration, licenses, or product updates,” said Keith White, EVP & GM, HPE GreenLake Cloud Services Commercial Business, in a press release. “We’re delivering the hybrid cloud ‘your way’ by partnering with trusted open-source solutions from Red Hat.”

HPE outlined what it perceives as several benefits from these new offerings. First, HPE will bring comprehensive support for physical, virtual and multi-cloud environments, while Red Hat will provide its enterprise-scale open-source solutions. One of the main benefits touted by the companies is therefore increased speed when it comes to complex, open-source IT solutions for any range of workload sizes. In line with this, HPE says there will be a reduced cost for ownership through the integration of the Red Hat solutions to improve accessibility for small enterprises, government and nonprofit clients. An interesting addition for a company that’s been primarily focused on private cloud and on-premises applications. Perhaps this is a bid to extend its client base and further its early 2022 momentum in an already crowded cloud services industry.

However, in my opinion, it is the HPE GreenLake for Data Fabric—one of eight announced new GreenLake services—that will make the biggest impact on the engineering community.

A Suite of New Features Announced for the HPE GreenLake Platform at HPE Discover 2022

The Red Hat announcement wasn’t the only big news coming out of Discover 2022. HPE announced a suite of new features for the HPE GreenLake platform, focused on supporting its “data-first” strategy for digital transformation. The goal is to provide services and applications that reduce data management complexity and make it easier for customers to transition to a hybrid cloud environment. With its services, HPE plans to remain competitive by focusing on simplifying and improving data collection, storage, privacy and utility to help companies realistically operate in the hybrid cloud. It also seems to be the main strategy for differentiating itself from leading cloud platforms like Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

By improving data collection and storage, it seems that HPE is hoping it can become a competitive cloud offering for companies interested in making the most of their data. Many companies are already realizing that the value of their AI-driven operations relies on high-quality data in an accessible and transferrable format.

Unified Data Management with HPE GreenLake for Data Fabric

As mentioned previously, perhaps the more exciting announcements came in the form of multiple data, storage and computing services announced for the GreenLake platform. Take the HPE GreenLake for Data Fabric; the fully managed service aims to tackle the ongoing issue of data silos within hybrid multi-cloud environments. The service is powered by HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric and can unify files, objects, databases (NoSQL) and real-time data from across a company. Data are prepared for analytics to improve their quality and the output of AI and machine learning (ML) applications. This makes it easy to share data across an entire enterprise, so it can be used in diverse applications, no matter which department is involved. It also makes it easier to feed real-time data from the network edge into training models and to run queries of all sizes on metadata. The Data Fabric can now work with Red Hat OpenShift within GreenLake or other software stacks.

An overview of the HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric. (Image courtesy of HPE.)

An overview of the HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric. (Image courtesy of HPE.)

HPE Extends Data Storage and Security Offerings for GreenLake Platform

Beyond the data fabric, HPE announced several other services to improve data storage and security for on-premises and cloud-native data.

HPE GreenLake for Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) offers an interface that makes it easy to create and manage virtual machines (VMs) both on premises and in the cloud. The service is set up for unification across the hybrid cloud to manage VMs from other vendors, like AWS.

New data services were also announced in the form of storage as a service with HPE GreenLake for Block Storage and Data Protection as-a-Service with HPE Backup and Recovery Service. Traditional storage management and protection requires domain expertise and is limited to certain engineers and data scientists within an enterprise. Most solutions are also limited when it comes to on-premises storage. HPE describes its solution as different in that it offers the self-service agility engineers want from the cloud while still facilitating on-premises storage. With the Block Storage solution, HPE now provides a 100 percent data availability guarantee to specifically support mission-critical workloads and environments.

Additionally, HPE’s backup and recovery services are now extended for hybrid cloud to support virtual machines on both HPE and non-HPE platforms. For example, Amazon EBC volumes and EC2 instances can be protected within the platform. The backup service encrypts data in transit and at rest, and the final storage format is immutable within the platform, where it is protected from both ransomware and deletion.

An overview of the updated HPE Backup and Recovery Service. (Image courtesy of HPE.)

An overview of the updated HPE Backup and Recovery Service. (Image courtesy of HPE.)

Finally, the HPE GreenLake for Private Cloud Enterprise was announced to fill the perceived gap in pay-per-use private cloud solutions for companies looking to use hybrid multi-cloud digital transformation strategies. Like many other solutions, the new private cloud offering will allow companies to run both traditional and cloud-native applications at scale. With the platform, companies can access more than 80 independent software vendors from the marketplace, which can be deployed within the private cloud.

HPE has stated these updates will be made available through the GreenLake platform in September 2022.

So, How Does GreenLake Hold Up Against Other Cloud Platforms Now?

With so many developments over the past six months, HPE looks to be encouraging new clients to add GreenLake to their hybrid cloud strategies. But how does GreenLake compare to AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud?

In general, HPE seems to be betting on private cloud clients with its data-first strategy. With many governments requiring data storage within the country, companies realize they may need to shift away from public cloud solutions to ensure that their data meets local regulations. Many companies also want to keep data storage and analysis internal for privacy and security reasons, especially health care clients. But the big three are also shifting to offer private cloud solutions and country-specific storage.

It seems that HPE is looking to stand out with its middleware layer, and specifically the data fabric solution, which can store, manage and analyze data from on-premises, edge, and cloud environments while keeping it accessible to be shared across an enterprise. Although combined with several services in this announcement, the data fabric seems like one of the best HPE offerings when it comes to data utility and end-user accessibility. It also highlights HPE’s commitment to the hybrid cloud, where AWS Outposts require the AWS cloud stack; GreenLake can support any software stack and appears to be the preferred choice for companies that need to retain on-premises operations for the foreseeable future.

With an early embrace of the public cloud, many companies now realize the difficulty of incorporating legacy systems that must be operated on premises to meet security and privacy requirements. HPE seems to want to bridge the gap between public and on-premises systems through formal partnerships with AWS and Microsoft Azure and its new offerings focused on supporting the modern hybrid cloud environment. With its anything-as-a-service offerings, the GreenLake portfolio appears to make it easy for companies of any size to purchase what they need and scale up or down as required and within their hybrid IT environments. By the end of 2022, HPE wants to offer the entire GreenLake portfolio as a service, so it will be interesting to see if this increases adoption of the platform to make it a true competitor against the big three.