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HPE GreenLake rolls in Aruba, adds block STaaS

HPE GreenLake folded Aruba Central under its umbrella and added data services, including block storage as a service and new data protection capabilities.

HPE GreenLake is introducing 12 new data services for high-performance computing, block storage, backup and recovery and networking that provide a more unified experience and round out the cloud-like storage platform.

HPE GreenLake, which provides an as-a-service consumption model for on-premises and hybrid cloud environments as well as remote management, is the vendor's answer to public cloud hyperscalers like AWS. In addition to these new data services, HPE has introduced a unified operational experience similar to a public cloud's single sign-on.

New features also include block storage as a service with 100% availability and backup as a service for hybrid cloud environments, tying on-premises data centers to the public cloud. The vendor's high-performance computing (HPC) service saw expansion and better integration with the platform.

The company is also folding Aruba Central, its cloud networking product, into GreenLake, bringing over 120,000 Aruba Central customers to the platform, which will bolster the product's networking capabilities while giving Aruba customers access to its services.

HPE largely invented the storage as a service (STaaS) consumption model, according to Steve McDowell, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. The idea was to take the pay-as-you-go cloud model and bring it to on-premises systems by installing equipment in a customer's data center that customers consumed on demand. But customers felt like they were leasing equipment in their own racks and had to continue to manage parts of the infrastructure to make it work.

"HPE is drilling down and saying, 'How can I deliver a push-button experience like public cloud storage and processing, intellectual writing resources -- a truly abstracted delivery?'" he said. With GreenLake, HPE is abstracting the hardware to do just that.

The HPE GreenLake data services cloud console is akin to hyperscaler's single sign-on.
The HPE GreenLake data services cloud console is a single sign-on for the platform.

100% available block storage as a service

One of the new data services for HPE GreenLake is block STaaS, the first STaaS with 100% availability guaranteed, according to Sandeep Singh, vice president of product management for data infrastructure at HPE. He added that the offering enables self-service access to storage.

"The line-of-business owners, the database owners are able to self-provision and move faster," Singh said.

Using a graphical user interface, users choose their SLA tier workload type, the volume needed, the host agents to access the volumes and the required data protection capabilities, he said.

Having customers configure what they need though a GUI is an interesting take, said Rob Strechay, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget. But, he added, there's also an additional step of sending requirements to a value-added reseller (VAR) for pricing.

"It's not all the way from the customer inputting the information that they want to being provisioned; there's that still a speed bump of having to go to a reseller and come back to you with a pricing," he said.

HPE GreenLake STaaS enables users to self-provision block storage.
The new block storage-as-a-service for HPE GreenLake allows intent-based provisioning.

Enhancing data protection in GreenLake

Another data service added to GreenLake's portfolio is a new backup-as-a-service offering, HPE GreenLake Backup and Recovery, that's designed for hybrid cloud environments.

Customers can offload backup and recovery management to HPE for both on-premises and cloud data. The new service supports VMware virtualized environments deployed on heterogeneous infrastructure, either on HPE or non-HPE storage.

HPE has also added to its ransomware protection with GreenLake Backup and Recovery. The service  builds off its acquisition of cloud data protection and disaster recovery vendor Zerto, according to Omer Asad, vice president and general manager of the primary storage team in HPE's storage and big data group. Zerto's ransomware recovery capabilities adds immutable data copies.

"The beautiful thing about Zerto backup and recovery services, it's agnostic of the storage infrastructure that you deploy," Asad said.

Zerto brings ransomware recovery and immutable data copies capabilities to GreenLake, said Strechay, who worked for the company from 2016 to 2020. But he also said he was surprised HPE didn't announce more backup partnerships, as Zerto is not a fully featured backup product.

"[HPE] resells Cohesity and Veeam; it was surprising that they hadn't [expanded partners] with this announcement," he said.

Democratizing HPC

HPE is also updating its HPC product, which was announced a year ago. The update is focused on simplifying and democratizing HPC to broaden its customer base, according to Maxim Alt, director of hybrid HPC, AI and HPC as a service at HPE.

GreenLake's HPC has upgraded its system to HPE's Apollo 6500 Gen10 to accelerate AI and machine learning. The platform uses Nivida's A100, A40 and A30 GPUs as well as NVLink for GPU-to-GPU communication. HPE Slingshot, the high-performance, low-latency interconnect, was also added. Along with Slingshot interconnect, the vendor's parallel file system is supplying storage for high-performance compute.

In this version, customers can start with smaller clusters of HPC, using the as-a-service model for on-demand consumption and offloading system management.

HPE GreenLake had offered elementary integration into its HPC cloud, but this release brings maturity to that capability, according to Chirag Dekate, an analyst at Gartner.

"What [HPE has] now enabled is access to its full suite of ecosystems, from the GPU complexes to small- to medium-scale clusters to cloud integration," he said.

Regardless of their size, enterprises no longer have to find a way for their cloud strategy to align with their HPC strategy with as-a-service offerings like the one from HPE GreenLake, Dekate said.

Scalable NaaS

HPE is giving eight of the most popular network functions standardized, as-a-service consumption models through HPE GreenLake. Those new Network as a Service offerings are indoor wireless, outdoor wireless, remote wireless, wired access, wired aggregation, wired core, SD-branch and UXI. HPE will add more services later in the year.

HPE had previously offered these services as more boutique, custom services offered directly to individual enterprises. Adding as-a-service models through GreenLake is intended to make the most popular NaaS options easier to consume, according to Alan Ni, senior director of edge marketing at Aruba HPE. The new NaaS packages will be available through HPE's existing channel partner network.

Aruba Central is also converging with the HPE GreenLake platform, with the goal of helping Aruba networking customers purchase services and manage assets through GreenLake. The company is further simplifying the management of Aruba Central by combining its data lake with that of the storage and compute teams. This is intended to make Central less siloed and help Central users to get a more comprehensive view of their assets, Ni said.

The new Aruba Central operational experience will retain the existing user interface while also enabling network managers access to all cloud services, spanning the entire HPE portfolio, with single sign-on access.

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