• HPE’s new EdgeLine portfolio enhancements will enable customers to run storage-intensive applications and additional core data center functions within remote edge locations.
• HPE’s new GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering will appeal to hybrid cloud customers that struggle with things like cost and management complexity but won’t disrupt the wider market.
At its Discover event in Las Vegas a last week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) unveiled several new solution updates and strategic initiatives which, it believes, will transform the way businesses consume, deploy and operate data center technologies. First, HPE announced plans to invest US$4 billion over the next four years to develop technologies that support enterprise edge computing. Edge computing promises to transform the way data centers are deployed and managed and the type of workloads they support. It enables the operation and allocation of enterprise IT resources – including compute, storage, networking, data management, and analytics – at locations that are closer to the points of data generation, and to the end users of digital content and applications.
HPE already has a number of products that support enterprise edge computing initiatives. These include its EdgeLine hyperconverged infrastructure systems, which are specifically designed for deployment in remote locations, often far from central data centers. In Vegas, HPE revealed that it was increasing the storage allocation available on its EL1000 and EL4000 models, from 4TB to 48TB, thanks to a new hardware add-on. The additional storage will allow EdgeLine to support more storage-intensive use cases at the edge of enterprise networks, including databases, artificial intelligence, and video applications. In addition, HPE announced that it had validated several enterprise software stacks for use with the EL1000 and EL4000 systems, including VMware, Microsoft SQL Server, SAP HANA and Citrix XenDesktop. By validating entire software stacks, rather than lighter, tailored versions, HPE aims to help customers run virtualization and compute functions at the network edge with the same tools they use in their primary data centers.
HPE is not alone in targeting emerging edge computing opportunities. In February VMware announced the “next chapter” of its Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, which aims to deliver new edge computing solutions for specific use cases including asset management and smart surveillance. And in April, Microsoft declared that it would channel US$5 billion over four years to creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT and the edge. Investments such as these look set to establish edge computing as a major new battleground and field of innovation for IT solutions providers.
Another announcement from last week’s Discover event – the launch of HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud – builds on HPE’s efforts to offer its customers more flexible ways of consuming IT, while reducing the complexity of managing data center and cloud environments. GreenLake Hybrid Cloud is a managed service through which HPE will assume responsibility for allocating and managing private, public, and hybrid cloud resources on behalf of its customers. HPE is not alone in offering a managed private cloud solution, with IBM, Oracle, Fujitsu, Rackspace, and Mirantis already present in this market. However, HPE is differentiating its solution on grounds that users will only pay for the resources they consume. HPE claims to be unique in offering the industry a metered, pay-per-use model for consuming on-premises IT resources. It does this through its GreenLake suite of consumption-based infrastructure and workload services, which it announced in November last year.
In addition to offering managed, metered, private cloud resources, GreenLake Hybrid Cloud will allow HPE to manage its customers’ consumption of public cloud resources from providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Although HPE will face competition from specialist providers of managed public cloud services, the real benefit of GreenLake Hybrid Cloud lies in its ability to provide both public and private cloud resources, together, as part of a managed, metered, hybrid offering. A solution like this should appeal to customers that require a hybrid cloud solution but struggle with things like cost and the complexity of managing a host of requirements ranging from security to compliance. However, it’s unlikely to disrupt the wider market, which remains wedded to traditional ways of consuming cloud resources, and which has access to an ever-expanding range of solutions for deploying and managing hybrid and multi-cloud environments.