HPE bolsters GreenLake with support for Microsoft Azure Stack

HPE took another step toward its goal of being mainly a software-as-a-services company by 2022 with new services for GreenLake and several partnerships, including Microsoft.

Extending the reach of its GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, HPE has added support for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and Microsoft SQL Server to attract those users looking to implement a cloud-native architecture on premises.

In concert with the Microsoft partnership, HPE also debuted a handful of cloud services targeting enterprise applications for several industries, including 5G, financial services, managing electronic medical records, data and risk analysis, high-performance computing and AI. These services will be available not only in the cloud, but at the edge and colocation centers.

"With these cloud services we want to deliver something that is highly automated and easy to consume on an open platform," said Keith White, general manager, HPE GreenLake Cloud Services. "We also wanted to deliver them as part of a pay-per-use scenario and enable users to manage all of it on the back end."

For instance, the new GreenLake for Electronic Medical Records, intended for healthcare workloads with high levels of security and compliance requirements, works with popular applications developed by Epic Systems. The new service delivers validated configurations and a variety of management services.

In addition, GreenLake for Splunk is a risk management offering designed to collect and analyze data generated through a user's infrastructure, security systems and applications. A third service, created in partnership with Lusis Payments, is GreenLake for Core Payment Systems, which is intended to modernize organizations' payment systems. The latter offering provides services, including pay-per-transaction and support for contactless payments.

As a way to more efficiently manage these services, HPE also debuted GreenLake Lighthouse, a cloud-native product that eliminates the process of having to order and then wait for new configurations to arrive, HPE said. It permits users to add new cloud services in GreenLake Central and run them all simultaneously. The product is built on the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform and can optimize cloud services by composing resources that intelligently figure out the best performance and lowest costs.

"We see Lighthouse as presenting users with a unified plan," said Kumar Sreekanti, CTO and head of software for HPE. "It coordinates everything in terms of hardware and software services from a single console that can track data in the cloud and all the way to the edge."

Lastly, the company rolled out Project Aurora, which serves as a foundation for GreenLake's zero-trust architecture. The technology will be embedded in GreenLake and can continuously verify the integrity of the hardware, firmware, OSes and workloads.

People increasingly want to pay on a consumption basis and have it delivered as a cloud model. What [HPE] is trying to get across is [that] they're committed to change.
Gary ChenIDC analyst

One analyst sees the GreenLake updates as HPE maintaining pace with the growing number of competitors delivering as-a-service offerings.

"We see the whole industry moving to these kinds of service offerings, even with infrastructure," said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC. "People increasingly want to pay on a consumption basis and have it delivered as a cloud model. What [HPE] is trying to get across is [that] they're committed to change."

Another analyst agrees that the new GreenLake-driven services are a step in the right direction for HPE -- one rivals Dell, VMware and Lenovo have taken along with the top-tier cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft.

"With this approach, [HPE] has a lot more opportunities to craft whole solutions because they are giving you access to the edge, access to people using data and they'll have more configuration choices to offer," said Ezra Gottheil, principal analyst at Technology Business Research. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach."

Azure Stack HCI will be delivered as an Azure service on the GreenLake cloud-to-edge platform, White said, with the goal of accelerating data center modernization initiatives, remote office productivity and a number of edge applications. Another benefit of bringing Azure Stack HCI and GreenLake closer together is that users can better control services through the Azure portal in the same way they manage Azure public cloud services, according to White.

"Combining Azure Stack HCI with GreenLake presents users with a more unified and automated experience," White said. "Users can better determine their own right mix of hybrid cloud and workload placements," he said.

Gottheil thinks the tighter association with Microsoft will be a strategic benefit for both users and HPE over the long term.

"They are not forcing the customer to make a choice -- either it's the cloud or us," he said. "Building emulators for distributed cloud functions like Azure Stack is a good idea. The other benefit of [the GreenLake] platform is [that] it doesn't lock you into just the cloud because you also have the options of accessing the edge and colocation facilities."

In working with Microsoft SQL Server, GreenLake uses tested configurations that support database applications of any size, HPE said. With pay-per-use pricing and the offering's point-and-click self-service, users can expect to save 30% to 40% on the total cost of ownership and reduce the possibility of overprovisioning, HPE said.

Lastly, the combination of GreenLake and Azure Stack HCI and SQL Server makes it easier for users to consolidate virtualized Windows and Linux workloads and run workloads in a hybrid environment they are familiar with.

HPE GreenLake with the HPE Validated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and Microsoft SQL Server is available immediately, with an Integrated System available later this year.

As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals. He has also worked for 26 years at Infoworld and Computerworld covering enterprise-class products and technologies from larger IT companies, including IBM and Microsoft, as well as serving as Editor of Redmond for three years overseeing that magazine's editorial content.

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