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HPE signs 10-year GreenLake HPC deal worth $2bn with US National Security Agency

The US National Security Agency has enlisted the help of HPE and its GreenLake platform to aid the delivery of its data management strategy

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has signed a 10-year, $2bn, managed high-performance computing (HPC) deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

The HPC capabilities will be delivered to the NSA in an “as-a-service” manner through HPE GreenLake, an offering designed to provide enterprises with access to managed public cloud-like IT resources housed in their own on-premise datacentres.

The deployment will also, claimed HPE, make it easier for the NSA to draw on artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics for forecasting and insight-gathering purposes, which it said was an increasingly important part of the agency’s overall data management requirements.

Justin Hotard, senior vice-president and general manager of HPC and mission-critical solutions (MCS) at HPE, said what the NSA was trying to achieve with its data management strategy hinged on its ability to access HPC resources.  

“Implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities on massive sets of data increasingly requires high-performance computing systems. Customers are demanding HPC capabilities on their most data-intensive projects combined with easy, simple and agile management,” said Hotard. 

“By using the HPE GreenLake platform, which delivers secure on-premise solutions as a service, the National Security Agency is gaining industry-leading HPC solutions to tackle a range of complex data needs, but with a flexible, as-a-service experience,” Hotard added.

The setup the NSA is favouring will also feature a combination of HPE Apollo systems and HPE ProLiant servers, which will enable it to ingest and process high volumes of data in support of its AI workloads, with HPE managing the setup on the NSA’s behalf through GreenLake.

The deployment is set to go live in 2022 and will be housed in a datacentre run by colocation provider QTS, HPE confirmed.

The contract win was announced on the same day that HPE completed its acquisition of the cloud data protection and disaster recovery firm Zerto for $370m, having gone public with its plans to purchase the firm in July 2021 in a bid to flesh out the cloud-native and software-defined data services capabilities of GreenLake. 

The decade-long HPE deal is the second sizeable IT contract the NSA is known to have signed in recent months.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, the agency is known to have awarded a $10bn deal to public cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) in July 2021 as part of a wider push by the organisation to move more of its data and workloads off-premise.

The decision to award that contract to AWS has been contested, however, by Microsoft over claims the agency failed to conduct a “proper evaluation” during the procurement process.

On these grounds, Microsoft has filed a bid protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). The outcome of this is expected to be made public sometime before 29 October 2021.

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