HPE doubles down on managed GreenLake services

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During its online HPE Discover conference today, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced it has extended the managed HPE GreenLake services that can be consumed via the cloud-based console using the HPE Ezmeral platform for deploying container applications on an instance of Kubernetes.

The additional services, dubbed HPE GreenLake Lighthouse, provide access to a range of additional services that can be added to an HPE GreenLake subscription via an HPE GreenLake cloud portal.

The company also announced the availability of new applications from third-party vendors such as Splunk, Epic, SAP, and Microsoft. In addition, HPE GreenLake is now integrated with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. This instance of the software stack Microsoft employs in its cloud is designed to be run on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms in on-premises IT environments.

HPE also unveiled Project Aurora to embed within the HPE GreenLake cloud platform the building blocks needed to automatically and continuously verify the integrity of the hardware, firmware, operating systems, and workloads running on the core platform. Project Aurora functions will be first embedded within HPE GreenLake Lighthouse, with instances that add support for HPE GreenLake cloud services and the HPE Ezmeral platform planned. The initiative itself builds on existing HPE root of trust technology the company embeds in its hardware platforms.

HPE views that capability as giving it a distinct competitive advantage rivals have thus far been unable to match. “The ability to optimize at the silicon level is a game-changer,” said Keith White, senior VP of HPE GreenLake Cloud Services.

HPE GreenLake is a managed service wrapped around servers and storage systems deployed in on-premises IT environments. That infrastructure is remotely managed by HPE, with billing based on consumption. Upgrades over multiple years can be built into the service.

Supply and demand

While managed services have been available from third-party services providers for years, the offerings  IT vendors themselves provide are gaining traction, in part thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. HPE now claims it has over 1,200 HPE GreenLake customers, representing $4.8 billion in total contract value. A full 95% of its customers have renewed their HPE GreenLake subscription, the company also claims. In its most recent quarter, HPE noted annual recurring revenue for HPE GreenLake grew 30%, with orders increasing 41% year over year.

While HPE GreenLake became available prior to the pandemic, adoption of the managed service spiked when many organizations decided they no longer wanted internal IT teams to travel to a datacenter location. It’s not clear how many of those organizations will continue to rely on managed services once the pandemic subsides, but the percentage of organizations that have decided to outsource the management of some portion of their IT infrastructure will be significantly higher than it was prior to the pandemic.

In the meantime, HPE is clearly preparing to stave off a rival managed service launched by archrival Dell Technologies. Both long-time providers of IT infrastructure platforms are offering a cloud operating model that provides customers with levels of flexibility typically associated with public cloud service providers.

Longer-term, both HPE and Dell are racing to extend the reach of their management platforms to the cloud to give IT teams a centralized platform where they can manage all of their IT operations. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google are all similarly racing to extend the reach of their services into on-premises IT environments.

It’s too early to say how this battle for control over the next era of hybrid cloud computing will play out. However, it’s clear HPE and Dell enjoy their status as incumbents in the on-premises IT environments where approximately three-quarters of all application workloads still run.

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