HPE Adds Hybrid Cloud-as-a-Service Offering to GreenLake Cloud Platform

At HPE Discover, the company builds out its GreenLake offerings while its Aruba Networks business rolls out a software-defined branch solution.

cloud services

LAS VEGAS—Hewlett Packard Enterprise is expanding its focus on the cloud and the branch office, two areas of the enterprise that are evolving rapidly to adapt to challenges being presented by such trends as mobility, the rapid growth of the amount of data being generated and the internet of things.

At the company’s Discover show here June 19, HPE officials unveiled the latest addition of its GreenLake cloud computing platform, a hybrid cloud-as-a-service offering that gives organizations an automated cloud operating model for running workloads in both public clouds and private on-premises environments. The new offering builds on previous GreenLake solutions unveiled last year, including an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) that delivers a pay-per-use model with metered usage and flexible capacity management capabilities.

HPE in November 2017 also ran out a workload as a service that offers backup services for SAP Hana, databases, big data analytics and other applications.

Meanwhile, the company’s Aruba business introduced the concept of the software-defined branch, which integrates the various aspects of the network in branch offices—including switches, gateways, access points, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and management—into a single solution for more simple operations, reduced costs and improved security. Tying all these together also enables easier scalability of the branch network, Kishore Seshadri, vice president and general manager of cloud solutions at Aruba, said during a press conference at the show.

This is important given the rapid changes that are putting greater pressures on the branch, including that 85 percent of IT is embracing a multicloud agenda in 2018, the more than 20 billion connected devices expected by 2020, the continuing disaggregation of hardware and software, and the increasingly distributed nature of computing.

“Traffic patterns are changing pretty dramatically, and networks have to adapt to that,” Seshadri said.

Adaptation was a common theme on the first day of the show. The idea of the cloud seems simple enough, but particularly with hybrid clouds, it quickly becomes complicated, according to Ric Lewis, senior vice president and general manager of HPE’s Software-Defined and Cloud Group.

“Most customers ended up with a hybrid cloud strategy mostly by accident, and it’s complicated,” Lewis said during a press conference.

Technology can be siloed, and there are multiple deployment models to sort through, from virtual machines to cloud-native development to containers, he said. Organizations need to decide which applications should run on-premises and which should run in the cloud and how to manage the IT. Ana Pinczuk, senior vice president and general manager of Pointnext, HPE’s services arm, said that a third of hybrid cloud costs are spent managing the environment.

The GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering is designed to lift many of the day-to-day management headaches from IT staffs. Through the service, HP’s Pointnext group helps customers create processes for managing their workloads in the cloud and on-premises and develop cost, security and compliance controls, and then manages all that for the customer. Because it is automated, businesses don’t need to hire new people or train employees to oversee the cloud environments.

The service offers a pay-per-use consumption model to ensure customers don’t overpay, and there is real-time monitoring to ensure control over failures, remediation and compliance.

The hybrid cloud service not only takes advantage of HPE’s Pointnext capabilities but also those inherited through acquisitions last year of consultancies Cloud Technology Partners (CTP) and Red Pixie, which had expertise in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack. Lewis said the plan is to add support for other cloud providers, and John Treadway, senior vice president of strategy and portfolio for CTP, said they also will add other services like artificial intelligence and blockchain to SAP Hana, databases and others already on the platform.

For the branch offices, the Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch) offering enables these environments to adopt enterprise-level scalability and security without having to grow the number of employees. Aruba’s Seshadri said customers typically have eight to 12 people managing 2,500 to 3,000 remote locations, a difficult ratio for companies that are looking for greater scalability, agility and performance at the edge.

Aruba is essentially HPE’s edge computing arm, and officials are looking to bring enterprise capabilities to the branch. Among the moves Aruba has made is upgrading SD-WAN support in the Aruba Central cloud network management software to include automated configuration, improved visibility and new troubleshooting tools. There also is a mobile app for automating the onboarding process for devices and zero-touch provisioning capabilities.

The company also introduced a new Branch Gateway device with new features that include Aruba’s context-awareness capabilities that bring improved application security and network access for improved quality of service (QoS) to the LAN and WAN and customer experience as well as a simplified IT operation. Other new features include policy-based routing and dynamic path selection that can leverage contextual data to dynamically route traffic across the WAN based on the traffic’s association, such as the user or device.

Aruba officials also noted that putting more capabilities and features into the gateway, such as firewalls and routers, can help drive down overall operational costs.

In addition, the company continues to grow its Aruba 360 security exchange partner program with the addition of Zscaler and integrations with Check Point Software and Palo Alto Networks.