Can an IT systems vendor really transform into a cloud service provider? With everything we saw from HPE and HPE GreenLake at this year’s HPE Discover 2021, I think we are going to find out pretty soon. With this year’s announcements, it's clear HPE understands that modern IT wants a cloud-like experience everywhere, and HPE means to deliver it.
But before we get to the HPE GreenLake announcements, I want to take a moment and acknowledge Antonio Neri’s keynote. In it, he outlined the role that technology can and should play in helping to address some of the world’s most pressing problems, leading us to an “age of insight.”
This message resonates with me. I am a technology optimist. I marvel at what we as a people and as an industry have been able to accomplish through innovation and see opportunities for technology to continue to change and improve the lives of people around the world.
To achieve that dream, however, IT leaders and vendors must continue to innovate to democratize technology and make it easier and cheaper to harness new advances. Modern business is in the midst of a complexity crisis. Increased digital initiatives fuel the need for larger, more disaggregated IT environments. When combined with pervasive skill shortages in technical expertise, these complexity challenges act as limiters on the level of value a business or organization can create with technology. In essence, these factors (disparate disaggregated environments and skill shortages) combine to create an “IT complexity tax,” which scales with the business, hindering and limiting the digital gains a business can achieve.
To minimize or even eliminate this IT complexity tax, businesses need IT vendors to abstract as much of complexity away from IT infrastructure design, management, and maintenance activities. One way to do this is for IT vendors to shift from delivering systems and components to delivering services and outcomes. This will allow businesses to scale their digital capabilities without scaling the IT complexity tax burden as well.
This is exactly what HPE seeks to deliver with its HPE GreenLake edge to cloud services platform. A single solution, where business can procure services and outcomes. This year, HPE augmented what HPE GreenLake offers with several announcements, including:
- Support for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and Microsoft SQL Server as part of HPE GreenLake.
- HPE GreenLake Lighthouse – An agile, cloud-native solution that accelerates the deployment of new services. HPE GreenLake Lighthouse can leverage HPE Ezmeral's cloud native platform to autonomously optimize cloud services and workloads by composing resources, adding to the list of options HPE GreenLake offers.
- Project Aurora - Zero trust security for HPE GreenLake. According to HPE, it can automatically and continuously verify the integrity of the hardware, firmware, operating systems, platforms, and workloads.
- Silicon on demand - In partnership with Intel, HPE GreenLake will allow for the addition of new capacity at a processor core and persistent memory level using Intel Optane technology. According to HPE, this removes the need to order or install new processors. Instead, users can instantly activate more capacity.
- Compute Cloud Console, which offers unified compute operations as a service designed to simplify the infrastructure management across the entire environment from the edge to the cloud.
There is a ton to unpack here. At the 30,000 ft. level, HPE is broadening, securing, and improving what it delivers with HPE GreenLake. All of this is insanely valuable, but a few things really jumped out to me.
By expanding HPE GreenLake integrations with key partners such as Microsoft and Intel, HPE is furthering its commitment to the cloud services platform. Bringing partners into this type of framework adds a new level of effort from both HPE and the partners. In addition to providing value to users, these offerings reinforce HPE’s commitment to HPE GreenLake and provide insight that key partners recognize the value of what HPE GreenLake offers and is willing to allocate resources to assist. All this should raise the level of confidence of any potential buyer. And speaking of confidence, adding in zero-trust security is a recognition of the power that HPE GreenLake offers and, as such, an extra focus on security is prudent. Then with HPE GreenLake Lighthouse, HPE is working to layer in technology to further reduce that complexity tax burden and help further accelerate digital initiatives.
Ultimately, HPE is building something here that is groundbreaking as well as impressive in both scope and scale. As more and more organizations adopt a cloud-first mentality, HPE is challenging the definition of cloud and making a strong case that HPE GreenLake should be a consideration.