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HPE NonStop Corner – one partner’s perspective

NonStop Insider



ns corner nov 20 - 1

Have you seen how much green HPE has been using in its promotion of itself and of its products and services? So much that it would just have to warm the heart of Kermit, the frog:

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why

But, why wonder? (why wonder?)
I’m green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be

On the other hand, ever since HP split into two companies and launched HPE, we knew that green would become the dominant color. The new company’s logo, the now iconic green rectangle, was subject to a lot of speculation at the time: Was it a placeholder? Was it directing our attention outside the box? Was it a mistake?

Turns out that according to former HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, it was chosen as it “represented simplicity which reflects the company’s past, and a window, so to speak, into the future.”

“We needed a logo and a design system that would be singular and defining.  We needed a design that would express our renewed commitment to focus and simplicity. And we needed a logo that would be as transformative, flexible and agile as we are becoming, while standing out from the pack.  Finally, the logo needed to work across all the ways we would use it.”

All of which is to say that there were no surprises when, two years ago, HPE launched GreenLake. However, it started life a little earlier as HPE Flex Capacity way back in 2016. This then “morphed into the much-heralded GreenLake 2.0 release in 2018,” said the reporters at CRN that were covering another vendor’s announcement. You may have missed it, but that article of October 21, 2020, was in response to Dell Technologies announcing Project Apex. Even naming it a “Project” doesn’t altogether thrill the marketplace, but CRN didn’t hold back when it published its own article headlined with:

HPE Slams Project Apex: Dell Is ‘Finally Responding’
To GreenLake

‘With Project Apex, Dell is finally responding to the strategy HPE initiated three-plus years ago when we began to build our GreenLake business,’
says HPE in a statement to CRN.

If you have any trouble with the above hyperlink, simply cut and past the following url into your browser:

Among the highlights of the CRN article, comes the following –

“HPE, for its part, points to its ability to meter cloud usage – the result of its acquisition of Cloud Cruiser three years ago – and its groundbreaking GreenLake Central platform as significant challenges for everything as a service competitors. GreenLake Central, for example, provides the ability to do complex cost, compliance and security analysis across the GreenLake pay per use private cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure.

“‘It’s important to distinguish between Dell’s new way to finance infrastructure and the true cloud experience on-prem that customers are really looking for, which HPE GreenLake has been providing for years,’ said HPE.”

ns corner nov 20 - 2

There are both benefits and drawbacks whenever a vendor breaks new ground and that is precisely what HPE did when it launched GreenLake. By bringing the cloud experience on-prem and addressing the hybrid IT data centers that were emerging and offering enterprises new ways to finance the digital transformation this represented, HPE with GreenLake was flying against conventional wisdom. Opting for public clouds was the predominant theme across all of IT and few market pundits thought the path to cloud would lead back to the data center. For a while, HPE championed the pay-per-use model while extolling the virtues of everything-as-a-service to audiences that assumed HPE was alone in its belief that this is what enterprises wanted from their IT.

Now, Dell has essentially blessed this path and elected to pursue something similar. But only partially: Dell states that –
“Project Apex unifies the company’s as-a-service and cloud strategies, providing a consistent experience wherever a workload runs, including on-premises, at the edge or in public clouds. Project Apex aims to simplify how customers and channel partners access Dell’s as-a-service portfolio, from servers and hyperconverged infrastructure to PCs and client offerings, starting with the new Dell Technologies Storage as a Service unveiled today.”

Nice try; from HPE came the response –

“At HPE, we continue to focus on our customers. Our approach includes truly automated, scalable and pay-as-you-go metered cloud services comprising compute, storage, VMs, containers, MLOps and more, in addition to a unified, operations console with HPE GreenLake Central from which customers can manage their entire hybrid IT estate. HPE GreenLake is the cloud experience that comes to you.”

HPE is now joined by Dell in many ways, Dell has gone a long way to legitimize and indeed sanction HPE’s approach even as it lags behind when it comes to specifics. For the NonStop community, it is important to understand that HPE sees GreenLake as the premier model for purchasing hardware, infrastructure, solutions and more and it’s being done on the basis of “pay for what you use!” The inclusion of GreenLake Central is indeed an important aspect of the offering as it provides enterprise IT with insight into how resources are being utilized so that (1) there is no billing surprises, but just as importantly (2) it is known when to add capacity as volumes increase.

Perhaps even more important for NonStop users is that as we see an increase in deployment of virtual NonStop (vNS) – there are pilots of vNS under way even as there is at least one vNS site in production – GreenLake represents and ideal fit for running vNS. In all likelihood, this initially will be for testing and to pilot new applications but in time, to deploy vNS across resources already installed under GreenLake may prove a less expensive option for deploying NonStop where it’s required for the absolutely must-run, mission-critical applications. And hasn’t this been the story of NonStop all along?

It’s nice to see Dell join the party. It’s nice of Dell to pay tribute to the work HPE has done with GreenLake. It’s not only a matter of time before other systems vendors follow suit, but again the really nice thing about this is that no matter what competitors elect to do, they are only further confirming the leadership role of HPE. And that for many NonStop users is all the encouragement we need.

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One last item of note: November 2nd saw HPE celebrating five years of HPE culture, customers and cutting edge innovation. This has led to HPE CEO Antonio Neri posting the following:

“Today is a special day—our fifth anniversary as Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In the grand scheme of things, five years passes in the blink of any eye. But a lot has happened here at HPE, since we became a standalone company in 2015 with a purpose to advance the way people live and work.

“Today, as we move from the Information Age to a new era called the Age of Insight, we are helping organizations transform their data into actionable knowledge, no matter where it resides, as the first company to offer a complete portfolio of edge-to-cloud solutions – all to be offered as a service by 2022.

“Most of our customers today are moving to operate in a very large distributed enterprise. They need an edge-to-cloud architecture and set of technology capabilities to act on their data in real-time. In doing so, they can personalize experiences for their own customers. Provide remote connectivity to employees. Digitally-enable classrooms for students. And ultimately deliver outcomes that power the growth of their business. These personalized and automated edge experiences must be cloud-connected and always secure. And that’s exactly what we’re delivering for them, often in ways we wouldn’t have imagined five years ago.”