UPDATED 20:07 EST / OCTOBER 10 2019

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Unique pricing and partnerships help HPE GreenLake stand out in HCI crowd

Hatched nearly a decade ago as a private cloud solution, GreenLake has grown to become the hyperconverged hub within Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s computing empire. GreenLake has survived by broadening its portfolio and partnerships across public cloud functionalities, differentiated by a pay-per-use pricing model that’s scalable for modern, mixed-up workloads.

“Go back to real basics, almost before cloud, the customers accessed HPE technology and infrastructures through capital purchase, leasing, and some cases through subscription models,” said Craig Routledge (pictured), vice president and global sales leader of HPE GreenLake at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “GreenLake was born about nine years ago to help customers match cost to revenue. Over the years, we’ve adapted GreenLake to be the private cloud solution for many direct customers, channel customers, service providers, and partners.”

Routledge spoke with Stu Miniman (@stu) and Rebecca Knight (@knightrm), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the .NEXT Europe event in Denmark. They discussed the evolution of the GreenLake cloud portfolio, where HPE’s new partnership with Nutanix Inc. fits into GreenLake’s efforts, and what’s driving an expansion of its respective portfolios (see the full interview with transcript (here). (* Disclosure below.)

Specialized pricing meets expert HCI

GreenLake’s specialized pricing model enables customers to purchase in increments based on the holistic needs of their workloads. A best-fit solution may combine increments of container’s virtualized technology alongside high-capacity storage. As mainstream media distributors have begun to parse out content by the season or just an episode, so too has GreenLight micro-serviced its solutions to detach the infrastructure restraints from a customer’s actual workload needs.

“We’ve disconnected the linkage between infrastructures, so the customer doesn’t choose that infrastructure. [They] give us a workload, and we specify how that workload is designed. We have some recommended architectures,” Routledge said. 

To fulfill its promises to customers for hands-off workload management, GreenLake has been building out its hyperconverged infrastructure strategy. Two years ago HPE acquired HCI specialist SimpliVity in an effort to bring the expertise and technologies in house. But as all tech service providers have learned, they can’t be all things to all customers.

“[SimpliVity] is working very well in a few large cases. But it works at a different level, with different scaling parameters. So the Nutanix partnership — the reason why the two CEOs were excited — this gives customers another choice … other than the default virtualization engine, which everybody uses. It also brings in the Nutanix expertise in end-user computing,” Routledge said. 

That expertise is valuable to GreenLake, according to Routledge, noting the combined benefits of GreenLake’s pricing model, HPE’s server technology, and Nutanix’s database know-how.  

Meeting demands of the IT consumer generation

The real-time nature of today’s data management has driven GreenLake’s services portfolio to date. By following customer usage data, GreenLake can lean on its integration points across public-cloud profiles to best manage customer workloads. 

“Our service team monitors customer usage 24×7. We own the metering and management technologies, so we can snapshot customer usage in their infrastructure environment as often as we need. So on Black Friday, you can guarantee we snapshot every retail customer in our portfolio at least every 30 minutes. And if there’s a financial crisis as various presidents pick a fight with a global trade war, shares prices bounce up and down. Not naming names … and you need to meter the usage very rapidly, very accurately and very often,” Routledge stated.

It’s all an effort to take the worry out of the equation for customers, building intelligence into the portal and making management recommendations for upgrades, reconfigurations, and other maintenance tasks. 

“Let’s just say we need 500 [virtual machines] or we need 400 Nutanix and GreenLake licenses. We always provide a buffer. And in the early stage, let’s say it’s a 20% buffer. That gives the customer some overflow room. So not only when we provision above their utilization, but without a buffer to de-risk it for them. It’s at our risk, and that’s to make sure the service is seamless,” Routledge explained. “That’s something IT departments aren’t used to, but it matches the expectation of the internalized — I call them the IT consumers, really — in business.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the .NEXT Europe event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the .NEXT Europe event. Neither Nutanix Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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