Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

HPE, Microsoft Join Forces on Hybrid Cloud 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft are extending their cloud partnership with a hyper-converged platform aimed at capturing a larger share of the market for hybrid cloud computing.

Separately, HPE (NYSE: HPE) unveiled a managed cloud brokerage service based on its Helion cloud platform designed to rein in cloud "sprawl."

The partners said Tuesday (Dec. 1) at an HPE event in London they would integrate Microsoft Azure and HPE's cloud infrastructure and services into what they described as a "hyper-converged hybrid cloud system." Under terms of the deal, Azure would become the preferred cloud partner for HPE customers while HPE would have dibs on Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) customers for providing its ProLiant servers and other cloud infrastructure.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella both stressed the extended cloud partnership aims to accelerate enterprise adoption of hybrid cloud infrastructure. The deal gives Microsoft a boost in the cutthroat public cloud market dominated by Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN). The HPE partnership also counters recent moves by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) to extend its mostly consumer cloud business to enterprise customers.

For HPE, the partnership provides a captive customer for its server technology. The new hyper-converged approach announced by the partners this week is based on HPE ProLiant server technology and Microsoft's cloud stack that includes Azure services for deploying Windows and Linux workloads. The partners also said Azure services would be made available on all HPE servers.

The hybrid cloud platform dubbed HPE Hyper Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform Service Standard includes management features like software-defined controls to integrate the public cloud with existing datacenters as a way to leverage cloud scaling of workloads. The partners said hybrid platform automates storage provisioning via a virtual machine manager and a multipath I/O approach designed to optimize bandwidth.

The partners also announced the launch of joint hybrid cloud development centers in Palo Alto, Calif., and Houston. HPE also said it would certify an additional 5,000 Azure Cloud architects as the partners merge their cloud offerings. HPE also said the collaboration would help boost its new datacenter architecture known as "composable infrastructure."

The hyper-converged platform "goes beyond traditional virtualization solutions to bring Azure services to [the] datacenter," Garth Fort, Microsoft's general manager for cloud and enterprise marketing, asserted in a blog post.

Antonio Neri, general manager of HPE's Enterprise Group, also noted that the hyper-converged platform is intended to expand virtualization capabilities so customers can "choose when and how to leverage the cloud."

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, stressed that the combined platform "goes beyond today's virtualization appliances to bring the cloud to [the] datacenter." Added Guthrie, "It's IT that evolves."

The combined HPE-Microsoft hyper-converged cloud platform dubbed CS-250 is available now.

Meanwhile, HPE also unveiled its Helion Managed Cloud Broker service designed to control services across multiple cloud providers and workloads. Expanding its focus on hybrid cloud deployments, the company said the new service provides capabilities like security and performance management as well as cloud monitoring tools.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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