HPE had announced last week that Azure would become the preferred public cloud for HPE customers – although not an exclusive one, as it would be insane for HPE to stop supporting Amazon Web Services (AWS). Azure became the de facto replacement for HP‘s own public cloud, which is being discontinued.
At HPE Discover in London today, the companies indicated that the partnership, as expected, goes deeper than that. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke briefly via video-conference, apparently taking a break from a board meeting.
The partnership is serious enough that the companies are creating HPE Azure centers of excellence in Palo Alto, California (HPE’s home base) and Houston. HPE also plans to certify 5,000 more of its employees as Azure Cloud Architects.
More immediately, they will develop computing platforms together, starting with the HPE Hyperconverged 250, announced today and available for orders. Built from HPE’s ProLiant servers, it’s a platform for running Azure at an enterprise’s own data center, making it easier to flip between using or not using the cloud.
Azure will start offering its customers more of HPE’s products, including those related to application lifecycle management, big data, and security. And Antonio Neri, executive vice president of HPE’s Enterprise Group, noted that Azure would be using more HPE infrastructure in general.
Brokering the Cloud Sprawl
Azure is part of HP‘s more pervasive theme of hybrid computing, where enterprises combine the usage of on-premises IT, generally consisting of old applications, and a variety of clouds. HPE described this “hybrid transformation” as a customized job that requires a knowledgeable integrator. (Guess which one.)
It also results in an inevitable “cloud sprawl,” as HPE puts it. So, HPE is launching the Helion Managed Cloud Broker for monitoring and controlling the clouds an enterprise is using. It’s different from the kind of cloud broker IBM recently acquired in Gravitant, a startup whose software helps an enterprise shop among available cloud services.
The Managed Cloud Broker supports HPE’s Helion Managed Virtual Private Cloud, Helion CloudSystem, and Helion OpenStack. Obviously it supports Azure, and HPE’s press release specifies that it supports AWS as well. Customers will also have the option of using pieces of the Managed Cloud Broker to build cloud-brokering applications of their own.
The Managed Cloud Broker will be sold on a consumption-based model. It’s slated for general availability next year.
Disclosure: Craig Matsumoto is attending HPE Discover as a paid speaker.