After weeks of rumors about Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE’s) long-awaited hybrid cloud management platform, the company today debuted OneSphere. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) provides a single point to access workloads and compare costs across public clouds and on-premises private clouds.
HPE has been talking about the product, then dubbed Project New Stack, since its HPE Discover conference in June. At the time, company executives said New Stack would be an appliance that “shows up as a private cloud that bridges to hybrid cloud.”
Since then it morphed into a SaaS, but the idea remains the same: provide customers with a tool to build private clouds and connect public cloud resources, supporting both traditional and cloud-native applications.
“We’re trying to make hybrid IT simple,” said Ric Lewis, senior vice president and general manager, software-defined and cloud group at HPE, in a webcast with reporters prior to the product launch. “All your clouds are available in one place, eliminating silos across on-prem and public clouds. HPE can manage the end-to-end lifecycle through the SaaS portal.”
OneSphere, which will be generally available in January, works across virtual machines, containerized workloads, and bare metal applications. It also spans hyperconverged and converged infrastructure.
It will initially support Amazon Web Services (AWS), and will “soon” add Microsoft Azure and Google public clouds, Lewis said. In customers’ on-premises data centers, the product will work with VMware-based private clouds and Kubernetes containers. “In the future, OpenStack, Azure Stack, and others will be supported,” Lewis added.
The platform’s single view also compares costs and usage across clouds and on-premises deployments. This can help CIOs better control resources and spending.
OneSphere’s unified experience streamlines DevOps as well, the company claims, because it gives developers access to a virtual resource pool with all of an enterprises’ templates, cloud-native tools, and applications.
Early-access customers include film studio DreamWorks and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.
OneSphere to Manage All Clouds?
As companies increasingly embrace a hybrid cloud approach, HPE isn’t the only vendor selling its hybrid or multi-cloud management story. Cisco’s CloudCenter allows companies to deploy and manage applications across public clouds or data center environments. It also compares costs of running applications in public and private clouds.
“Dell EMC is working on a similar unified composable software layer,” said analyst John Abbott, co-founder of 451 Research, in an email.
“HPE’s differentiation with OneSphere comes from its lightweight approach, multi-cloud support (with no dependencies on a dominant cloud partner), combined with its expertise with converged and composable systems gained from its Converged Systems, Synergy, and Cloudline servers,” Abbott said. “It’s also early to pick up on the idea of separating out the control plane layer and hosting it in the cloud as the management point for multi-clouds, on-premises private cloud, and legacy physical hardware – also spanning virtualized, containerized, and bare metal system resources, as well as converged and hyperconverged.”
Despite HPE and other vendors’ claims, there is no one hybrid cloud management tool on the market today that does everything, said Gartner analyst Mindy Cancila.
“Organizations must plan to use multiple tools, and I recommend they adopt the native cloud providers’ tools where possible,” Cancila said in an email, adding that these native cloud providers pose the biggest competitive threat. “They are innovating at a pace that nearly everyone struggles to keep up with; and in time their management capabilities may become complete enough that organizations no longer need third-party tools — specifically Microsoft Azure, which recently acquired Cloudyn, an expense management tool.”
Launch Follows Sluggish Sales
Another challenge for HPE will be reaching AWS and Microsoft Azure customers that are not HPE customers, Cancila added.
OneSphere could help drive customers toward HPE’s other next-generation data center products — like its composable and hyperconverged infrastructure systems — at a time when the company is struggling to grow revenues and spending billions of dollars buying cloud software and storage companies.
“HPE wants to get its existing customer base on board in the first instance, ensuring that they commit to a hybrid cloud strategy rather than move wholesale to the public cloud and away from on-premises and private cloud deployments,” 451 Research’s Abbott said. “By unifying the management around multiple on-premises architectures, it can also encourage its customers to move to its newest generation products.”