Tuesday, May 18, 2021

HPE Greenlake and the Future of IT as a Service

In the cloud computing era, virtually everything is delivered as a service: Software as a service, data as a service, DR as a service – the list seems endless. In keeping with the times, HPE’s Greenlake offers IT as a Service. The company installs hardware in a customer’s physical space, offering this advanced gear on a subscription basis. HPE provides expert support for its on-prem hardware.

In essence, this offering is “cloud on-premise,” a set-up that was once known as private cloud. But Greenlake is a quantum leap past traditional private cloud, which required companies to own the hardware, and so handle all the headaches. Since Greenlake retains ownership of the hardware, HPE is responsible for installation and maintenance.

HPE has had considerable success with Greenlake. Will this version of IT as a Service continue to grow as an enterprise deployment?

In this video and podcast, we discuss:

  • Let’s briefly overview Greenlake. In essence, it’s Hardware as a Service, right? And expert support makes it IT as a Service?
  • Greenlake, as an IT as a Service offering, provides a third party solution that is cloud-like, in that it’s consumption-based pricing. Do you see Greenlake as competing with cloud offerings? Or enhancing cloud offerings?
  • What about a customer who already has a significant contract with a public cloud provider, say AWS or Azure. How does Greenlake play a role?
  • How does Greenlake compare in TCO, in terms of owning a data center?
  • What about Greenlake and the move toward Edge computing? Does it play a role?
  • How does GreenLake fits with HPE’s high-performance computing initiatives?
  • Future directions for Greenlake?

To provide insight into HPE Greenlake, I spoke with two leading experts:

Arwa Kaddoura, VP WW Sales & GTM Leader, Greenlake, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Bill Mannel, VP & General Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

James Maguire, Managing Editor, Datamation – moderator

Download the podcast:

Video highlight: HPE’s Greenlake and Edge Computing (1:17):

Video highlight: HPE Greenlake and Cloud (1:08)

Full interview (20:12):

Edited highlights from the interview:

What is HPE Greenlake?

Kaddoura: HPE GreenLake effectively is the cloud that comes to you, either to your data center, you’re also able to have it in your Colo or at your Edge. The unique sort of value prop within GreenLake is that it combines the best of our capabilities into a single solution for our customer. So if you think about HPE’s rich heritage and IT infrastructure, the hardware, layer in the Pointnext services that we also provide our customers, bring in HPE FS’s rich history of financial arrangements, as well as a lot of the software capabilities that we have.

In addition, we also have a rich ecosystem of ISB partners and service provider partners as well as system integrators that play in the GreenLake Ecosystem. So GreenLake ultimately does become the cloud that is served to our customers directly from their on-prem location of their choice. So it’s a very unique end-to-end, scale up and down, fully metered: Customers only pay for what they use. And again, I think the really compelling value prop to our customers is the automation, the self-service ability, all of the things that they’ve become accustomed to in a cloud world, but with greater control over their security as well as their environment.

Mannel: It could be hardware, it could be software, and it’s, or solution from that standpoint is what we prefer for most customers. And on top of that, we often bring in additional services to enrich the customer’s experience, get the right configuration for them, run customer cores, these sorts of things are available as well.

Greenlake and Cloud Offerings

Mannel: I think versus the typical cloud offerings, especially in my space, which is high-performance computing, tend to be much more standardized. So they might offer fewer options to the customer, not exactly having the config that they would want, maybe not having the most updated hardware from that standpoint. So the cloud providers need to offer, in order to make their economics work, they tend to offer more set configurations, and they don’t necessarily adopt the latest and greatest technology on a schedule that some of the customers in my space would like to see. So we offer more than that to a large extent, so the customer can more finely describe the config they want.

Greenlake and the Data Center

Kaddoura: We’ve done a lot of TCO analysis and some of it has been thanks to the good work of our analyst community. In a typical sort of procure your own hardware, right, and then fully manage it yourself or install it and sort of run all those services yourself. From a GreenLake perspective versus that, we typically see about a 30% to 40% saving on TCO, and again, that, a lot of that has to do with the fact that we are the experts on ensuring that we put the right amount of gear on your floor, give you a buffer capacity for that unforeseen utilization requirement that you may have, as well as only bring in sort of the next set of capacity when needed. So you’re not procuring everything upfront in a capital purchase, putting out huge cash outlays, we’re really doing all the heavy lifting for you to map out the environment that you need, size it correctly, and then only bring in the growth as you need it.

Greenlake and Edge Computing

Mannel: So as a company wants to compete more on the Edge, sometimes they don’t have the expertise to do that, so we can actually bring that in. My own experience on the Edge was trying to get my printer working the other day after a power failure, and it would have been lovely if someone could just manage that software for me, and it just got up and ran by itself kind of thing, someone whistled it off and got it started. So it’s even more important, because a lot of times, the Edge is an oil platform, or it’s an aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft circling, so in that case, you really need this kind of capability. Remote Management configuration, these sorts of things as well.

Moving Up the Stack

Kaddoura: We’ve been at this for over 10 years, so we feel really strongly about the leadership position that we have as of today, being sort of the leading hybrid cloud provider. I think what we will continue to do is expand those capabilities. Like today, if you look at some of the recent announcements we just made, it does start to center around industry solutions, sort of fully managed ISV solutions. If you look at healthcare, or you look at manufacturing, or you look at banking or financial services, all of these sectors depend on key technologies to run their business.

Our goal is to provide as much of that value in a seamless and in the best ROI to our customers. We understand, again, our customers want to move as much of the things that they see as low value-added activities, and so I think our continued vision will be to continue moving up the stack, continue providing the IT as a service, but also the platform as a service. All the way integrated to a point where, hey, if you want to use – and SAP is a great example – we’ve already announced this. But SAP as a service, right? It’s effectively an SAP offer, but fully powered by GreenLake, this is the customer edition that we just announced in September of last year.

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