'HPEaaS' and other key takeaways from HPE Discover

June 28 2019
by William Fellows, Jean Atelsek, Christian Renaud, Henry Baltazar, Al Sadowski, John Abbott


At HPE Discover in Las Vegas, Hewlett Packard Enterprise committed to driving a consumption-based, service-driven, retail-model discipline across its portfolio, and to make everything available as-a-service, driven by its GreenLake model. There were key product introductions, and refreshes at the edge, hybrid cloud and enterprise core.

The 451 Take

Sixteen months into the role, and HPE CEO Antonio Neri used this year's Discover event to articulate a vision for the next stage of cloud transformation. 'Cloudless' is essentially a rendering of how the experience should be one in which the friction and barriers involving hybrid/multi-cloud security and management have been removed. The term cloudless is intended to provoke conversations – and this was achieved. There are specific technology initiatives supporting cloudless as well as by definition, the multi-cloud design point for its products and services, but the marketing is palpable. We'll be interested in 2020's progress update. More significantly, we think, is HPE's own cloud transformation – its plan to offer everything in its portfolio as a service by 2022, and the conversion of its sales incentive model, which will be needed here. The success HPE has already achieved with its consumption-based HPE GreenLake offering is the accelerant, and is poised to act as a force multiplier for the company's business if it can execute sufficiently.

Consumption-based GreenLake model extends to midmarket and edge

HPE's GreenLake portfolio underlies the company's 'deliver everything as a service by 2022' pledge. From its original incarnation, marketed as Flexible Capacity (a baseline-plus-metering model for on-premises infrastructure), GreenLake has grown into a range of workloads, services and tools configured to enable a more 'cloud-like' buying experience for on-site deployments. Announcements at Discover stretched GreenLake in three directions:

  • For midmarket customers, HPE has launched five preconfigured GreenLake workloads – for compute, database, private cloud, storage and virtualization -- to be sold mostly by channel partners, but also direct. The HPE GreenLake Quick Quote tool steps through the parameters and pricing for these offerings, and end-user customers without their own datacenters can take advantage of HPE's colocation partnership with multitenant datacenter providers Equinix and CyrusOne.

  • HPE GreenLake for Aruba is a networking-as-a-service product with metering at the edge to enable pay-per-use billing; it will be sold by Aruba and its network of channel partners.

  • HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud, a fully managed service delivered by HPE Pointnext Services (Cloud Technology Partners) will partner with Google to develop a container-based cloud running Google Cloud's Anthos on-premises stack, with HPE SimpliVity or HPE ProLiant plus HPE Nimble Storage under the hood.  

  • HPE emphasized that as-a-service delivery has become a first-class citizen in its design thinking (akin to similar pivots made by Microsoft and Adobe), noting that it reaps $2 in hardware revenue for every $1 spent on GreenLake services.


    HPE set out its vision for the next step in the cloud 'journey' that it calls cloudless – when workloads, computing and data can run where they need to, when they need to. Like a mobile phone interface for multiple execution venue choices – that's one way to describe 'cloudless,' in that it should deliver seamless security, seamless connectivity and a seamless experience. Removing the friction and barriers from hybrid/multi-cloud security and management is a sensible and pragmatic goal, although not uniquely HPE's.

    The term is deliberately provocative, and got conversations started as a result however. While 'cloudless' is not strictly in the technical realm, HPE is putting some technology initiatives against it to credential the concept in the form of 'fabrics.' A 'trust fabric' for seamless security is based on HPE's silicon root of trust, which features in its Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) embedded server management technology. It plans to move this up the stack from silicon and into the OS kernel to provide provenance, while automating privacy and data sovereignty compliance for assets in the supply chain. HPE says that any endpoints that meet the security requirements can participate in the trust fabric; however, it believes only HPE servers already reach this bar.

    The 'connectivity fabric' orchestrates network topologies, and will optimize application performance without the need for application developers to be concerned about the network. The seamless experience, or 'value fabric,' is an economic and collaborative framework to enable landing zones for Cloud Native Computing Foundation landscape software, beyond what HPE sees as the current 'walled garden' clouds – and provide a unified management portal.

    HPE hopes the Open Service Broker (OSB) API can be used in the trust fabric so that assets going into and out of marketplaces and catalogs (such as its OneSphere catalog that already uses OSB) can be authenticated at the source. A cloudless environment should enable customers to access, assemble and pay for digital services in a simple, seamless and automated manner without requiring any specific knowledge of the underlying physical infrastructure. It is instantly available, operates and scales regardless of specific requirements, and is billed and metered in a manner the customer prescribes. It just works.


    In rotating toward a consumption model, HPE recognizes that the key challenge it faces is not a battle between on-premises and off-premises, but how customers want to consume and pay for machines and infrastructure, and importantly, who owns the resources that can deliver this. As buyers increasingly prefer consumption-based, service driven, retail model discipline, hyperscalers have been the initial beneficiaries. However, there is a rising tide of interest in on-premises managed cloud, especially where latency and (data) sensitivity – or mostly, we suspect, control – is an issue .

    First there are the cloud-to-ground strikes of Outpost, Anthos and Azure Stack (as well as Cloud Pak, Cloud Online and Aspara). While this appears to make the problem for traditional vendors – cloud vendors are now playing in their ballpark – it is also making those vendors' flexible consumption approaches more attractive (Dell EMC, HPE, IBM, Oracle and NetApp). In HPE's case, HPE GreenLake has a leadership position here, and GreenLake may well become a force multiplier for HPE's own transformation, if HPE can sufficiently execute on it, given the momentum and deal pipeline this approach has already generated ($1bn already done here, and a $2.8bn pipeline).

    To this end, HPE plans to make its entire portfolio available 'aaS,' under the GreenLake banner, by 2022. The key to success for HPE, however, will be its ability to rotate/convert its sales and incentive model from up-front payment to recurring revenue. Management has already implemented a multiplier for selling aaS, but intends to further pivot the sales model in order for aaS to be the core sales motion.

    HPE unveils Primera mission-critical storage array

    HPE Primera was launched at the Discover 2019 show, and it is being positioned as the vendor's top platform for mission-critical storage. The array leverages technology from 3PAR, but has significant architecture differences from its predecessors, such as a new storage operating system that runs in user space, which can be updated without forcing a system reboot. 

    Primera's data services are modular, and can be restarted without disrupting the system and the workloads residing on it to improve system reliability and availability. HPE is providing a 100% Availability Guarantee with the system that will offer up to 20% of credit based on the outage, support contract, and configuration –  with credits going toward a future storage purchase. 

    HPE extends and enhances HCI family

    HPE's InfoSight AIOps platform continues to be the cornerstone of its Intelligent Data Platform, and at Discover 2019, HPE announced that the SimpliVity HCI will be integrated with InfoSight in August, which will provide customers with predictive analytics and recommendations for system and performance optimization. 

    At the show, the vendor also announced HPE Nimble Storage dHCI (Disaggregated Hyperconverged Infrastructure), which physically looks like a converged infrastructure system and is built out of Nimble Storage arrays and HPE ProLiant servers. The main innovation is in the automation software, which HPE claims will provide the ease of use of HCI. While SimpliVity will continue to be HPE's platform of choice for customers seeking out HCI, the vendor is positioning HPE Nimble Storage dHCI for workloads with unpredictable growth, where the ability to scale up compute and storage independently is needed.

    HPE harmonizing internal edge computing initiatives, launching new services and COE

    Concurrent with Discover, HPE announced the creation of a new organization within the company to tie together its numerous edge computing-related products and services. This helps bring clarity around positioning and capabilities of the Aruba access portfolio, HPE Edgeline (a Q1 2019 451 Research Firestarter innovation awardee) and the PointNext IoT services offerings.

    As part of the announcements, the company has created a new Center of Excellence as part of its Hewlett Packard Labs organization to identify and develop new edge-centric capabilities for the HPE edge portfolio. The only piece apparently missing from this harmonized edge function is the company's OEM business of embedded and white-labeled edge computing; however, we anticipate this will soon be incorporated into the new vision.

    Aruba Central

    The Aruba team also announced significant additions to the cloud-hosted Aruba Central offering. The company has integrated its Aruba security portfolio (Clearpass, Introspect, etc.) with Aruba Central to enable device intelligence and behavioral analysis of endpoints, including IoT devices. Given the company's strengths in healthcare, education and retail – all vertical industries that suffer from a large and rather uncontrollable security attack surface, with patients, students and customers logging onto networks with a diverse set of devices – 360-degree security will be even more important.

    Security concerns continue to lead the list of inhibitors to IoT initiatives within enterprises, according to 451 Research IoT, Budgets and Outlook 2019 survey respondents, with 44.3% of respondents identifying security concerns as the leading inhibitor.

    Greater Synergy

    The three-year-old Synergy platform, now installed at around 3,000 customers, has been upgraded with performance enhancements for VMware and VDI, and with more flexible configuration options aimed at telcos. At the same time, composability is being extended beyond Synergy to the ProLiant DL 360/380/560 Gen 10 rack servers with the addition of HPE's Composable Cloud bundle of software, based on HPE OneView.

    Synergy's composable fabric networking architecture, with added capabilities derived from Composable Fabric's (from Plexxi) software-defined networking stack (acquired in May 2018), now also extends to ProLiant DLs and to SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure nodes. Customers can deploy and scale their workloads across composable rack resources, integrated with their choice of cloud, virtualization or container stacks. HCI nodes can be deployed alone or alongside other storage.

    HPE expands partnership with Google Cloud in an effort to get a piece of containers market

    According to 451 Research's Cloud-Enabling Technologies Market Monitor, the application container market is over $2bn and growing at nearly a 30% CAGR. Like other hardware and software vendors in the space, HPE is looking to get a piece of the action by offering container services with a Google Cloud partnership that was announced in April 2019.

    HPE's value proposition here is that it can support deployments on the customer's premises with its HPE Validated Designs for Google Cloud's Anthos, or through a managed service through HPE GreenLake. At Discover, HPE announced an expanded partnerships to deliver a true hybrid cloud with Google Cloud's Anthos with HPE ProLiant, HPE Nimble Storage and HPE Cloud Volumes to enable bidirectional data mobility. HPE wraps the offering with a portfolio of services from HPE Pointnext. Only a few others can make similar claims.