Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will soon offer Alibaba Cloud’s hybrid cloud stack on its infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific. HPE says the deal makes it the first vendor (excluding Chinese companies) in the region to provide a hybrid-cloud product in partnership with the Chinese cloud giant.
The partnership will see Alibaba Cloud’s Apsara software — this is the cloud provider’s on-premises hybrid cloud stack — certified on HPE platforms including its ProLiant Gen10 servers and FlexFabric networking switches. It will also give Alibaba Cloud customers access to HPE services including artificial intelligence (AI) and elastic GPU computing.
“Customers are increasingly looking to deploy and design the right mix of cloud environments to take on different workloads of data while maintaining control of on- and off-premises solutions,” said Scott Morris, vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific Channel, Distribution and Alliances for HPE. “In supporting Alibaba Cloud, HPE is aiming to help customers leverage Apsara Stack powered by HPE technology and services to deploy a comprehensive suite of scalable cloud computing services that securely and cost-effectively manage their business needs.”
The collaboration helps Alibaba Cloud’s expansion strategy as it moves into Southeast Asia and seeks to become a viable alternative to global hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft in Asia and Europe.
It also boosts HPE’s hybrid cloud strategy.
“Our approach to software-defined is unique because we enable customers to create and deliver services dynamically – with the control they need for their business and with the speed of deployment,” Morris said in an email. “By making it easier to scale infrastructure up and down, software-defined everything can simplify how enterprises buy services from cloud providers and run workloads across hybrid cloud environments. We’ve applied software-defined abstraction to the infrastructure that powers legacy enterprise workloads as well as new cloud native apps — on-premises and off-premises.”
This echoes HPE CEO Antonio Neri, who during a keynote at the company’s annual event in June, said: “The world is hybrid. It means your applications and your data will live in hybrid clouds designed specifically to your business needs.”
And HPE wants to be the infrastructure vendor that supports all of these hybrid clouds.
“HPE is positioning as the leading provider of private infrastructure for hybrid cloud infrastructure platforms,” said Moor Insights and Strategy analyst Rhett Dillingham. “HPE recently touted early market share leadership in sales of Microsoft Azure Stack. The addition of Alibaba Apsara Stack as an hybrid cloud infrastructure option for customers in APAC looking to extend their public cloud use of Alibaba Cloud positions HPE well for top consideration amongst enterprises deploying hybrid cloud platforms.”
Boosting HPE’s Cloud Cred
The collaboration also allows HPE to capture some of Alibaba’s customer in the region, which could be a substantial win for the infrastructure vendor considering Alibaba’s prowess in China.
“HPE is trying to attract a customer in the Asia-Pacific region that has not been as well served as, say, Amazon or Azure,” said IDC analyst Crawford Del Prete. “That customer bought into the AliCloud experience, they like Alibaba’s stack, but because of legislation, or compliance, or security, or performance — for whatever reason they want their data in a data center in Australia.”
Although the deal focuses on Asia-Pacific, it could also boost HPE’s cloud credibility in North America, said ZK Research analyst Zeus Kerravala.
“HPE has been on the outside looking in with respect to cloud and China, and this solves both problems,” he said. “HPE has been working toward developing a hybrid cloud strategy and they have had a hard time gaining traction. The partnership with Alibaba — the Amazon of that region — legitimizes all they’ve done. If they execute on this correctly they can take some of the success they have there and bring it back to North America and establish a stronger presence here.”