One of the recurring themes in the New IP world is the seemingly endless list of possibilities opened up by a hybrid cloud business model -- and it's something that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the division that split off from HP on November 1, is betting on with its new public cloud partnership with Microsoft.
Just last week, HPE announced it was using Microsoft Azure for offering its own public cloud services. Said CEO Meg Whitman in a tweet from the company, "Microsoft Azure will be the preferred public cloud partner for our customers while Hewlett Packard Enterprise will be Microsoft's preferred provider of infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings" in order to "advance innovation in hybrid cloud computing."
You may remember that Hewlett Packard Enterprise had its own public cloud service called HP Helion Public Cloud, which it rolled out in June. However, that service turned out to be short-lived -- in October, HPE announced that HP Helion Public Cloud will cease to exist at the end of January 2016.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Cloud Evangelist, Stephen Spector explained the move in a blog, saying the new division intended to serve their customers who want "the ability to bring together multiple cloud environments under a flexible and enterprise-grade hybrid cloud model." Back then, Spector also hinted at some further news relating to "a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities."
Whitman provided more details about HPE's direction and partnership with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure in an earnings call on November 24. She explained the strategy as both delivering what customers really want and as way of capitalizing on the company's strengths.
"We see a significant opportunity as enterprises move to a hybrid cloud environment," Whitman asserted. Bringing up the consideration of customers, she said, "Our goal is to help customers source, manage and consume services across traditional, private, public and manage cloud environments." She presents the choice to "sunset" their own public cloud as a strategic one that would enable the company to focus and capitalize on their "strength in private and managed cloud."
She didn't explain why they chose Microsoft Azure as the preferred partner for public cloud beyond a common view and mutual benefit -- but some speculate the partnership is an effort to go up against Amazon Web Services which brought in $2.08 billion in Q3 2015.
"Microsoft shares our view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises and we both see opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure for our customers," said Whitman. She also said that just as Microsoft would get preferred status at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, "HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings."
On the Microsoft end of the partnership, a company news release said that together, the two companies are introducing the first hyper-converged system with true hybrid cloud capabilities, the HPE Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard.
The idea is that "the jointly engineered solution brings Azure services to customers' data centers, empowering users to choose where and how they want to leverage the cloud." It's meant to be the best of both worlds, the public cloud and the user's control. An Azure management portal enables business users to self-deploy Windows and Linux workloads, while ensuring IT has central oversight, according to the release. Customers would use HPE OneView for Microsoft System Center to "get an integrated management experience across all system components," according to the release. HPE's support would expedite and lower the cost of getting set up.
HPE's function would be making it easier for Microsoft's customers to access an open, agile hybrid cloud with improved security that integrates with Azure. In addition to directing customers to Microsoft's cloud solutions, HPE would also direct them the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365. Microsoft's take on it is that together, they form "end-to-end cloud, mobility, identity and productivity solutions."
So far, the market appears to agree, as the announcement of the partnership is credited with the rally for HPE's stock. We'll have to see whether the actual performance lives up to expectations in the next quarter -- and if it's able to take a bite out of Amazon's public cloud pie.
— Ariella Brown, Freelance Contributor, special to The New IP