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HPE hones GreenLake strategy with AI moves, hybrid cloud management

HPE has evolved its GreenLake strategy over the past five years, expanding beyond its as-a-service offerings to include a capital purchase model and a strong focus on hybrid cloud management and AI

When Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) launched its GreenLake suite of cloud and infrastructure offerings in November 2017, the move was seen as a response to organisations’ demand for consuming IT as a service and paying only for what they use.

The as-a-service model has since gained popularity as a way for organisations to control costs and become more responsive to changing IT needs, with HPE’s annual recurring revenue from GreenLake crossing the $1bn mark this year.

But amid high interest rates and an uncertain macroeconomic situation, organisations are “becoming a little less interested in pay-as-you-go”, noted Joseph Yang, HPE’s managing director of Singapore. “They want to swap their assets and see the advantage of owning the infrastructure.”

In response, Yang said that all GreenLake offerings are now available through both capital expenditure (capex) and operating expenditure (opex) models, giving HPE customers flexibility in how they pay for their infrastructure.

Another significant shift that HPE is making with GreenLake is in software, where it provides software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings in areas such as backup and disaster recovery without requiring customers to invest in hardware.

“We can back up AWS workloads, replicate AWS virtual machines to Azure, or vice versa without the need for any on-premises hardware,” Yang added.

HPE is also simplifying the management of hybrid infrastructures through GreenLake’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) management platform. Yang said every piece of HPE hardware can connect to and be managed by the GreenLake cloud platform. This capability originated from HPE’s networking unit, Aruba, whose network access points and switches can be managed through Aruba Central.

“We used Aruba Central to build the GreenLake cloud platform and now we’ve also ported Aruba Central into the new GreenLake cloud platform,” Yang said, adding that other HPE hardware offerings such as servers and storage can also be managed through the cloud, including tasks like provisioning operating systems and rolling out firmware updates.

“If you look at the architecture of HPE hardware, it’s becoming more and more like a modern smartphone, which is managed through the cloud, while your data and applications run on your premises. That’s what GreenLake is evolving into.”

Regarding data protection, Yang emphasised HPE’s focus on helping customers manage and understand the lifecycle of their data, including backup data, whether it resides on-premises or in the public cloud through a centralised management platform.

A robust data strategy is crucial for organisations to effectively harness artificial intelligence (AI), an area in which HPE has been investing significantly. The company offers solutions that cover the entire AI lifecycle, including machine learning data management software.

In June 2023, HPE entered the AI cloud market with GreenLake for large language models (LLMs), a public cloud service that enables enterprises to privately train, fine-tune, and deploy large-scale AI using supercomputers capable of running LLMs more efficiently than hyperscale infrastructure.

When asked about the availability of this service in the Asia-Pacific region, Yang said the company would first need to gauge market demand due to the substantial capital investment required to build a datacentre. Additionally, factors like access to renewable energy in markets such as Singapore, a major datacentre hub in the region, need to be considered.

“One of the major challenges Singapore faces is the lack of renewable energy sources,” Yang pointed out. “Evaporative cooling also doesn’t work here due to the high humidity. These are some of the problems we need to solve to support these AI workloads.”

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