HPE, Dell Unveil Systems, Services for Microsoft Azure

HPE next year will launch an integrated solution for the Azure Stack, while Dell is introducing new systems for Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange.

Dell HPE hybrid

Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are pushing forward with their hybrid cloud efforts by introducing new integrated systems and services for Microsoft's Azure Stack software.

The hardware vendors and software giant all view the future of enterprise technology in terms of hybrid clouds, where organizations will run some their applications and workloads in on-premises infrastructures while putting other applications into public cloud environments, such as Microsoft's Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google.

The new systems unveiled this week—as the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference is under way—will help businesses build the on-premises infrastructures that have the same agility and flexibility they can find in the cloud.

"Many enterprises would like to host Azure within their data centers for performance, security or compliance reasons, and many service providers would like to offer Azure-compatible services for data sovereignty or other targeted services," Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for converged data center infrastructure at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), said in a statement. "HPE is teaming up with Microsoft to deliver the right mix of on- and off-premises Azure services with built-in security, operations management, pay-as-you-go pricing and the expertise that provides unmatched flexibility and cost savings for enterprise workloads."

Mike Schutz, general manager of product marketing at Microsoft, said in a statement that his company and HPE "share a view that hybrid cloud capabilities and consistency across public and private cloud environments help customers accelerate their cloud strategy."

The cloud is increasingly becoming a key driver of overall data center infrastructure sales, and vendors such as Dell, HPE and Lenovo are moving to adapt to stave off competition from smaller companies and original design manufacturers (ODMs), which are getting attention from the large cloud providers. In a report earlier this month, analysts with Synergy Research Group said that spending on data center infrastructure over the last nine quarters has been relatively flat, at about an average of $29 billion. However, they also said that cloud deployments or systems that are cloud-enabled account for more than half of the total data center infrastructure market.

"While total spending on data center infrastructure remains relatively flat, cloud share of that spending continues to rise as an ever-increasing portion of computer workloads migrate to either public or private clouds," Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group founder and chief analyst, said in a statement. "We are also seeing that within the cloud infrastructure market, hyperscale cloud operators are accounting for an ever-larger share of overall [capital spending]. This is a trend which is not going to change any time soon."

Microsoft officials expect the official launch of Azure Stack to be in mid-2017, giving organizations the ability to run Azure cloud software in their own data centers. The company, which released the Azure Stack Technical Preview earlier this year, will sell the software as part of prevalidated integrated solutions, and have pointed to Dell, HPE and Lenovo as among the preferred partners.

Both Dell and HPE already offer systems that can run Microsoft's Azure software, and are now expanding their respective portfolios.

The HPE Azure Stack offering will be based on HPE's ProLiant DL380 and will offer compute, storage, networking and software in an integrated appliance. Through a portal, organizations will be able to access both Azure public and private cloud services and easily move them between the two. In addition, users of the HPE Azure Stack offering will be able to pay as they go as part of HPE's Flexible Capacity program. They also will see unified billing of public and private clouds.