Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) sees a hybrid future for IT, and is supporting customers with infrastructure and services to allow them to be more flexible and agile where necessary, and to operate workloads across private and public clouds, as well as traditional infrastructure.
Among these is the HPE Synergy platform intended as a single infrastructure capable of operating all IT services; a cloud service broker offering to serve as a single pane of glass across environments; and an extended partnership with Microsoft that includes a jointly developed solution for Microsoft's 'Azure in a box' Cloud Platform System.
Bill Hilf, senior vice president and general manager for cloud at HPE, explained that moving towards a hybrid infrastructure is fundamental to everything affecting the firm's customers and their IT service delivery.
"We hear about hybrid a lot in the industry, and it means a lot of different things to different people. But when we talk to customers, we see that the first wave of cloud was adopted by startups and young companies going all-in to the public cloud," he said.
"What we're seeing now as relates to the enterprise is that enterprises want to have those those same benefits of public cloud, but they have to deal with the environment they have today, and have to deal with concerns like security and data sovereignty."
Hilf added that customers used to ask what workloads are appropriate for the cloud, but are increasingly saying that they want to use the cloud for all workloads in future.
"What hybrid means is that IT will be a combination of these different types of cloud technologies and non-cloud technologies," he said.
"From that basis, you can start to turn some of the administrative tasks done by humans every day into things that are much more automated and much more policy driven, so those IT professionals can do higher value work and not just do the configuration and management of the infrastructure."
This focus can be seen in some of the new technologies HPE unveiled at Discover. HPE Synergy is an all-new converged infrastructure platform designed around HP's notion of "composable infrastructure" that can be configured and allocated completely through software and APIs.
Synergy is due to be available in the second quarter of 2016, and comprises a pool of compute, storage and network fabric integrated under the control of a management layer that can automatically configure it and provision resources for the task in hand, whether that is operating an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) private cloud or a database cluster.
A key part of Synergy is HPE OneView Composer, which provides built-in intelligence and will automatically discover and configure all the hardware components. Another is the Synergy API, which provides a simple and speedy way to configure compute, storage and network resources required for the task in hand, according to HPE.
"It's a template-driven approach to define the infrastructure according to the needs of the workload," said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for converged systems at HPE.
Under this vision, customers can build a catalogue of templates detailing the requirements for specific workloads, and Composer can simply pull those from the pool as required and release them again when no longer required.
"When a line of business calls and says they need a platform to deliver a new application, Synergy can make that happen in minutes," Miller said.
Another key new tool for hybrid IT is the HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker, a managed service intended to give IT chiefs control and visibility over their entire infrastructure, including traditional IT as well as private and public cloud resources, from a single pane of glass.
Available sometime during 2016, this will support cloud services from partners like Microsoft, HP's own cloud services, as well as oversight of traditional IT infrastructure.
"This service was built in concert with a lot of our largest enterprise clients, and it's a game changer, offering them a single pane of glass to manage all of their IT assets," said Sita Lowman, director for the Helion SaaS Portfolio.
However, Lowman explained that the most important aspect of Cloud Broker is the financial management, so that customers can see what infrastructure is being used by whom and set limits, as well as see what infrastructure is being underused or overused.
HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker can be operated on-premise or delivered from an HPE data centre, and is part of a broader portfolio of HPE services to help customers find the optimum level between "build versus buy", Lowman said.
HPE also extended the partnership announced last week with Microsoft concerning the Azure cloud services. As well as Microsoft becoming HPE's preferred partner for public cloud services, the pair announced that HPE is now the preferred infrastructure provider for Microsoft's hybrid cloud offerings. They also unveiled a new jointly developed platform.
Available to order now, the HPE HyperConverged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard is based on existing ProLiant server technology, but offers a ready-made 'Azure in a box' capability with Windows Server and the Windows Azure Pack to provide consistency with Microsoft's Azure public cloud services.
"This is the first hyperconverged infrastructure that is truly integrated with Azure from the get-go, and is hybrid in that it is pre-configured to do backup and disaster recovery right out of the box," said Garth Fort, general manager for cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, who was also speaking at the event.
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