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An experience, not a destination: How cloud as infrastructure fits HPE’s GreenLake strategy

Mar 17, 2021

SHARE If predictions are correct, the shift to cloud-centric, application-based models is about to leave the pace of change over the prior year in the dust. When IDC released its “FutureScape Highlights” report in October on what will happen next as the IT industry responds to disruption caused by a global pandemic, its top-rated prediction stood out. Ahead of edge-driven investment, a need for resiliency, and autonomous operations, the number one IT industry prediction was that by the end of 2021, at least 80% of enterprises will have installed a process to shift toward a cloud-centric infrastructure twice as fast compared with the start of 2020. Speed, flexibility and agility will be terms likely to dominate the IT discussion this year as organizations face a rebounding post-COVID economy and reshaped digital landscape. For major industry players such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., it is a conversation framed by the recognition that its GreenLake portfolio offering, geared for a flexible, hybrid computing infrastructure, could well be the right solution at the best possible time. “Here’s the deal: Cloud is infrastructure and infrastructure is cloud,” said Jo Peterson , vice president of cloud and security services at Clarify360 Earns Inc. “HPE has stepped up; they’ve listened to not only their customers but their partners. Customers want consumable infrastructure. They’ve made that really clear, and HPE has expanded the cloud service portfolio for clients.” Peterson spoke with Dave Vellante , host of SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming video studio theCUBE, during the recent “HPE GreenLake Day” event . Vellante also spoke with Keith White , senior vice president and general manager of GreenLake at HPE;  George Hope , worldwide head of partner sales at HPE;  C.R. Howdyshell , president of AdvizeX;  Ron Nemecek , business alliance manager at CBTS;  Harry Zarek , president of Compugen Inc.; and Ben Klay , vice president of alliances at Arrow Electronics Inc., in separate interviews. Discussion during the event focused on the need for more flexible IT, GreenLake’s adoption by customers and partners, growing dependence on colocated datacenters, and HPE’s evolving role as a global provider of hybrid solutions. (* Disclosure below.) Watch the full video interview with Jo Peterson below: Platform for enabling business Peterson’s point is that labels are disappearing. The past 10 years of defining whether an IT environment is public, private or hybrid has given way to a new reality where cloud, in whatever form, has taken center stage as essentially an enablement platform for business. “The cloud is an experience, and it’s not a destination,” Hope said. “Digital transformation is pushing new business models, and that demands more flexible IT. The next phase of transformation will be characterized by bringing cloud speed and agility to all apps and data regardless of where they live.” Introduced nearly four years ago as a pay-per-use suite of IT solutions for customer workloads, GreenLake offered bundled HPE services with software baked in based on the business outcome desired. HPE has experienced 118% growth year-over-year for GreenLake cloud services through its channel, according to White, and the firm is expanding its reach to a broader set of customers as a result. “We’ve workload optimized for small, medium, large and extra-large businesses, so we have a broader base for our customers to take advantage of and get that cloud experience through HPE GreenLake,” White said. “This expands our reach to over 100,000 additional value-added resellers.” Watch the full video interview with Keith White and George Hope below: Colocation and hybrid demand The expansion of GreenLake’s channel has included a deliberate strategy to broaden its presence in colocation datacenters. Companies are increasingly desirous of high-performance, low-latency connectivity, and colocation allows businesses to place core datacenter infrastructure closer to the edge. HPE offers GreenLake With Colocation as part of its growing as-a-service model and recently signed a collaborative agreement with to provide a GreenLake colocation facility in central Europe. Customer interest in shared datacenters demonstrates another dynamic that is driving HPE’s GreenLake business. The reality is that a majority of enterprises remain unwilling so far to completely abandon on-premises operations. A “State of the Cloud” report released by Flexera Inc. this month found that 80% of enterprises still have a hybrid cloud strategy. Some of this may reflect a deliberate business plan, and some may be chalked up to pure confusion. “Our customers are confused, no question about it,” said Compugen’s Zarek. “They hear about cloud-first and everyone goes to the cloud. But the reality is there’s lots of technology, lots of applications that still have to run on-premises. The GreenLake philosophy is perfect, it allows customers to have one foot in the cloud, one foot in their traditional datacenter, but modernize it so it looks like one enterprise entity.” One of the longest-tenured tech companies in the U.S. is Arrow Electronics Inc., founded in 1935 . The company’s vision evolved from selling radio parts over 80 years ago to a broad range of electronic and computer products today. The evolution of cloud has given Arrow its own perspective on the hybrid synergy between public cloud and the on-premises datacenter. “As an industry, we’ve accepted the fact that public cloud is not going to win the day and we’re, in fact, in a hybrid world,” said Arrow’s Klay. “The linkages between on-prem and cloud-based services have increased. It’s paved the way for customers to more effectively deploy hybrid solutions in the model that they want or desire.” Watch the full video interview with C.R. Howdyshell, Ron Nemecek, and Harry Zarek below: Changing the conversation That model has become one in which enterprises must increasingly balance the need for growth against the demands of capital investment. The pandemic of 2020 forced many companies to make outlays for architectures to facilitate remote work. As the virus subsides and companies return some employees to offices, the need for remote support may decline as well. This has fueled interest in GreenLake’s flexible model and changed the kinds of conversations IT service advisors, such as AdvizeX’s Howdyshell, have experienced with clients. “We’re able to have the business conversation, you don’t have to lead with a storage solution, you don’t have to lead with compute,” Howdyshell noted. “You don’t even bring up HPE GreenLake until you get to the point where the customer says: ‘So, can you give me an on-prem cloud solution that provides scalability and flexibility?’” There is an additional motivation to adopt GreenLake, and that involves cloud egress fees . These fees, which GreenLake does not charge , traditionally occur when data is moved out of cloud storage into an on-premises location and can be one of IT’s largest hidden costs . “This is a rock-solid solution that eliminates the development cost customers experience — and the egress charges that are associated with the public cloud — while utilizing HPE GreenLake to eliminate over-provisioning and maintenance costs on aging infrastructure hardware,” Nemecek said. GreenLake’s prominence in HPE’s overall strategic drive to a full as-a-service business model has reshaped the customer dynamic, according to Compugen’s Zarek. “What that means is you have a continuous ongoing relationship with the customer,” Zarek said. “It’s not a ‘sell and forget.’ You are in the core, in the heart of their business. There’s no better place to be if you want to be sticky and relevant.” Make sure to watch more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the HPE GreenLake Day event . (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. GreenLake Day event . Neither HPE, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.) Image: HPE Since you’re here … Show your support for our mission with our one-click subscription to our YouTube channel (below). The more subscribers we have, the more YouTube will suggest relevant enterprise and emerging technology content to you. Thanks! Support our mission:    >>>>>>  SUBSCRIBE NOW >>>>>>   to our YouTube channel. … We’d also like to tell you about our mission and how you can help us fulfill it. SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s business model is based on the intrinsic value of the content, not advertising. Unlike many online publications, we don’t have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.The journalism, reporting and commentary on  SiliconANGLE  — along with live, unscripted video from our Silicon Valley studio and globe-trotting video teams at  theCUBE  — take a lot of hard work, time and money. Keeping the quality high requires the support of sponsors who are aligned with our vision of ad-free journalism content. If you like the reporting, video interviews and other ad-free content here, please take a moment to check out a sample of the video content supported by our sponsors,  tweet your support , and keep coming back to  SiliconANGLE . LATEST STORIES

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