HPE Allies With Nutanix

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By: Michael Vizard

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nutanix today announced an alliance under which HPE will offer the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS as an option for the HPE GreenLake managed service, while Nutanix will make available servers from HPE as one of the appliance options it supports in an on-premises IT environment.

HPE GreenLake is a managed service that bills customers on a consumption model using metering software that HPE installs on either a server in an on-premises data center or on a public cloud. Previously, the only software HPE made available via the HPE GreenLake service came from VMware. By partnering with Nutanix, HPE is now adding support for a stack of software based on the AHV hypervisor developed by Nutanix.

In the future, HPE plans to add support for additional stacks of software for a HPE GreenLake managed service that has of late become the dominant means through which customers are now choosing to consume HPE infrastructure, says Pradeep Kumar, senior vice president for HPE PointNext, an IT service organization operating within HPE.

The primary driver of that shift has been the rise of public cloud computing, said Kumar. Organizations now want to consume IT infrastructure on-premises using the same model, says Kumar. HPE achieves that goal by constantly monitoring and metering consumption to forecast when an organization will need additional capacity. HPE PointNext then installs additional server capacity before the organization runs out of compute capacity. That approach results, on average, in a 40 percent reduction in the total cost of operations, says Kumar.

The HPE GreenLake approach differs from other managed service offerings in that HPE charges customers using metering software that tracks actual consumption, versus breaking up the cost of the IT infrastructure across a series of flat monthly payments that are then made over the course of a multi-year contract that essentially mimics a traditional leasing agreement, says Kumar.

“This is now our lead offer,” says Kumar. "Most HPE customers are now picking this option."

Most of the instances of HPE GreenLake are purchased directly from HPE rather than channel partners because most of HPE’s partners don’t have the metering technology in place required to track consumption, adds Kumar.

Nutanix, meanwhile, has agreed to make HPE servers available to value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators that participate in its channel program. Nutanix already makes servers available from Dell Technologies to those partners and will continue to do so alongside HPE servers, says Greg Smith, vice president of product marketing for Nutanix.

“There’s no change with our relationship with other partners,” says Smith.

HPE, meanwhile, plans to continue offering its Simplivity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software on HPE servers that it sells to customers that prefer to treat IT as a capital expense versus an operating expense that the HPE GreenLake alternative enables. HPE acquired SimpliVity for $650 million in early 2017. Since then, however, there’s been a marked shift toward consuming IT infrastructure as a service.

It’s too early to say just how much IT infrastructure will ultimately be sold as a service versus purchased as capital equipment. IT organizations that treat IT infrastructure as a service gain two fundamental advantages. The first is that capital budgets can be reallocated to projects outside of IT. The second is that by consuming IT infrastructure as a service, an organization doesn’t have to commit to buying servers upfront. 

If the application strategy changes, an organization isn’t stuck with a bunch of servers it needs to either find something else to run or try and sell as refurbished equipment. In addition, organizations can rely on a consumption model until they establish whether the characteristics of the workloads running on those servers might lend themselves to be run on equipment they purchase. Long-running applications that have consistent processing requirements tend to be less expensive over a multi-year period to run on servers purchased as capital equipment. In fact, the only thing that is certain going forward is the way IT infrastructure will be consumed: It will vary widely, not only between organizations, but also within them.