Archrivals Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) aggressively battle against each other in the server and storage markets, and now they’ve extended that competition to multi-cloud and consumption-based infrastructure.
This week at Dell Technologies World, Dell rolled out a pay-as-you-go infrastructure program similar to HPE’s GreenLake portfolio. And, a year after HPE CEO Antonio Neri said “Dell doesn’t have an edge-to-cloud approach,” Dell unveiled a multi-cloud strategy with VMware and Microsoft. CEO Michael Dell also threw a jab at HPE’s multi-cloud strategy, telling reporters that it “isn’t going so well.”
Per usual, HPE wasted no time striking back. A blog post touted GreenLake’s prowess as the first consumption-based offering to market nearly a decade ago and the $2.4 billion it has under contract. With more than 600 customers, GreenLake is one of HPE’s fastest growing businesses because it combines on-premises performance and security with the flexibility and economics of public cloud, said Scott Ramsay, global VP of HPE GreenLake, in an interview with SDxCentral.
He also pointed to a report that says Dell looked into HPE GreenLake in developing its own consumption-based program: “Even Dell and Lenovo both publicly acknowledge that we are in the lead.” (Lenovo launched its own pay-as-you-go offering in February).
And about Michael Dell’s comments? “We can quickly dismiss Michael Dell’s comment,” Ramsay said. “He has no real substance behind it. We’ve been beating on this hybrid drum for many years now. It’s been a stated part of our strategy, and we were first to market with some Microsoft Azure capabilities within GreenLake — even before Azure Stack came out.”
Now Azure Stack runs in on-premises data centers on HPE hardware, as do VMware-based private clouds and VMware Cloud on AWS, along with a host of other cloud software stacks. At Google Cloud Next last month HPE announced a new partnership with Google on Anthos, the cloud vendor’s on-premises and hybrid cloud product. And Ramsay noted that both cloud migration acquisitions HPE made in the last couple years, Red Pixie and Cloud Technology Partners, are helping customers move their workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.
“We have major plays with all of the three major hyperscalers, and on top of that we have partnerships with a number of people in the cloud community and more local cloud vendors,” Ramsay said. “We offer the biggest range of choice in the market for on premise and that choice extends very much into the public cloud space. If that’s not a successful multi-cloud strategy, then I don’t know what is.”
Dell’s Cloud Strategy
While Dell’s cloud strategy isn’t unique, it is hybrid, supporting on-premises and cloud-based workloads, and that’s what customers want.
“Dell is doing a lot of good things here,” said Gartner analyst Craig Lowery. “What I’ve noticed at this show [Dell Technologies World] is that for the first time they have a cloud strategy — they haven’t before. It’s not unique, but it is a real story, and of the companies that are doing something similar they are probably the best positioned to make something of it.”
Customers already use multiple clouds, and they want to be able to manage them from one place while using the tools and services native to each environment.
“What Dell’s bringing to market does have an opinionated view of how to do that, and VMware is the key,” Lowery said. VMware gives Dell Technologies access to all of its cloud provider partners, and it also brings an on-premises stronghold, which makes its technology the lynchpin in Dell’s cloud strategy. “Just about every data center has VMware right now,” Lowery added.
This clearly helps Dell, which owns 81 percent of VMware, but does this tighter integration with Dell help or hurt VMware?
“You can argue either way,” Lowery said. “VMware has partners other than Dell, and you have to wonder if VMware can really be as independent as they insist that they are. [VMware CEO] Pat Gelsinger insists that they are independent, but you see the go-to-market with something so tightly integrated here, and it’s natural to wonder if the other partners are getting the same amount of love?”