The newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is to partner with Microsoft as part of its cloud strategy, with a view to Azure filling the public cloud requirement for HPE customers, replacing its own Helion Public Cloud services in the future.
HPE officially began operations on 1 November, when the former HP split into two firms. HPE targets infrastructure and services for the corporate market, while HP Inc concentrates on the consumer side.
Just before the split, however, HP announced plans to withdraw its HP Helion Public Cloud offering from the end of January 2016.
The move prompted much speculation about the firm's cloud strategy, but further light was shed on the matter during the fourth quarter 2015 HP earnings conference call this week, when HPE chief executive Meg Whitman disclosed the partnership with Microsoft.
"Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings. Overall, the move to a hybrid cloud environment presents a significant growth opportunity for us and you can expect to hear more about our approach in the coming months," she said.
HPE's Helion portfolio still comprises a private cloud platform based on OpenStack for customers to deploy on their own premises, plus managed Helion cloud services delivered from HPE's data centres.
Sources told V3 at the time that one reason for the shutting down of the Helion Public Cloud service was that it represented such a small part of the overall Helion revenue that the firm saw little reason to continue offering it. If HPE can instead resell access to Microsoft Azure to fulfil any public cloud requirements from its customers, this would seem to justify the decision.
"This is the right move. It plays to our strength in private and managed cloud. We will continue to extend our cloud infrastructure leadership and integrate the public cloud element for our customers through a strategic partner-based model," Whitman said.
"In line with that approach, we reached an agreement with Microsoft that you'll hear more about during Discover next week. Microsoft shares our view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises, and we both see an opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure for our customers."
HPE's Discover event is taking place in London next week, at which the firm is expected to discuss numerous hot enterprise IT topics, including the transformation to a hybrid infrastructure for organisations.
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