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HPE Takes Aim At Apex, ‘Welcomes’ Dell To As-A-Service Market

‘While HPE welcomes Dell’s entry into the as-a-service market, HPE made the pivot to address this customer need three plus years ago and has been delivering on this vision,’ says HPE Senior President and General Manager of the GreenLake Business Keith White in a prepared statement.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Wednesday took aim at Dell Technologies’ ambitious Project Apex launch, welcoming the $94 billion enterprise powerhouse to the pay-per-use on-premises cloud services market.

“We’re glad other vendors are recognizing the customer need for an as-a-service model to help accelerate digital transformation,” said HPE Senior President and General Manager of the GreenLake Business Keith White in a prepared statement. “While HPE welcomes Dell’s entry into the as-a-service market, HPE made the pivot to address this customer need 3 plus years ago and has been delivering on this vision.”

White’s missive came just hours after Dell announced general availability of Project Apex at its Dell Technologies World virtual conference. Dell told partners it is providing a market leading 30 percent incentive on Apex Data Storage Services and Cloud Services Deals and a 20 percent incentive on Apex Custom Solutions deals. That compares to HPE’s long standing 17 percent up front payment on GreenLake deals.

White called the GreenLake Cloud Services portfolio – which began as HPE FlexCapacity in 2016 – the “market’s most established as-a-service offering on-premises, with a fully-fledged self-service platform” with GreenLake Central and cloud services offering for multiple workloads.

White also pointed to HPE’s rich channel and ISV relationships for the GreenLake platform which are helping to drive increasing momentum for the on premise cloud services platform.

HPE’s GreenLake cloud services were up 116 percent year over year in the channel in the most recent quarter with the number of active partners up 62 percent.

The GreenLake channel mix – which was in the single-digit range several years ago –hit 29 percent in the most recent quarter, up 11 points year over year.

“HPE customers have already been transforming their businesses with our automated, scalable hybrid cloud services comprising compute, storage, VMs, containers, MLOps, HPC and more,” said White. “Today, the HPE GreenLake Cloud Services business has over $4.5 billion in total contract value, and in Q1 2021 HPE grew its Annualized Revenue Run Rate (ARR) by 27 percent year-over-year.”

White said HPE- which unveiled its Data Services Cloud Console and storage data services platform on Tuesday- that HPE has already “been delivering Storage-as-a-Service for years, allowing customers to unleash the power of their data wherever it resides.”

White said HPE just took the storage-as-a-service offering to the next level with its Unified DataOps vision, Data Services Cloud Console, and HPE Alletra – which all together bring “cloud operational agility to data- wherever it resides. “Customers can now maximize agility and innovate faster than ever before with the cloud experience where their data lives,” he said.

HPE partners, for their part, said the edge to cloud platform as a service powerhouse has a substantial head start in the everything as a services market versus Dell.

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE’s top Platinum partners, said the Dell Project Apex announcement simply validates the value of the GreenLake on-premise cloud services model.

“Dell’s announcement just shows that HPE has been doing the right thing for the last three years,” said Cohen. “Dell is admitting that HPE got it right with GreenLake. HPE is ahead and they are constantly enhancing the offer.”

Dell’s entry into the as a service market is likely to increase “market interest” in GreenLake and greater customer adoption of the platform given GreenLake’s three year history and continued innovation, said Cohen.

“There is a lot of momentum around GreenLake,” said Cohen. “HPE is doing a yeoman’s job of enablement and training and they are constantly improving the GreenLake offer with new features, better internal processes, quoting and turning deals around quicker. It is getting better and better. Our reps are fully engaged. From a channel perspective it is very lucrative. It is better for customers and it is better for the channel. We have a huge pipeline and it is getting bigger by the week.”

Mike Vencel, president of Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner headquartered in Ramsey, N.J., said it is not surprising that Dell is copying the HPE playbook with Apex.

“If you look at the history of innovation from HPE their strategy has been copied all the way going back to Blades (Blade Servers), composable infrastructure which they defined and now we are seeing it again,” said Vencel. “It is no surprise that the day after HPE’s announcement of Cloud Console we have the same language from one of their competitors. That is part and parcel of what has happened historically. As they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Dell is likely to face major cultural challenges as it moves Apex into the market, said Vencel. “Just because you launch a new product doesn’t mean the culture of the organization follows immediately,” he said. “A culture is built around specific products and solutions and when you dramatically change those it takes time to get everyone in the organization bought into those changes. It’s great that Dell made these announcements. Now all the hard work is just starting for them. Now it’s all about how do you get everyone rowing in the same direction?”

More customers are looking to GreenLake on premise cloud services as a more secure and lower cost alternative to public cloud, said Vencel. “I think we are going to see more customers wanting to repatriate or launch newer workloads with GreenLake versus public cloud,” he said. “We are at a fascinating inflection point in the market as workers start to go back on campus. As we begin to reopen and IT workers start to go back to their offices there could be an emphasis on trying to get costs under control. Public cloud is very expensive. HPE is putting a stake in the ground and being very clear that they are providing a very secure, high performance, low-cost, cloud technology platform that is flexibly consumed. You are basically getting all the things you want with public cloud but you drive a lot of costs out of it.”

In April, Comport won a four-year GreenLake deal with a manufacturer that was customized with ComportSecure managed services. “We were able to customize that offer to really reflect specifically what the customer was looking for,” he said. “We are going to probably triple that implementation of GreenLake by the end of this calendar year.”

Vencel said he sees GreenLake gaining “confidence and momentum” with Comport’s sales team and customers. Comport’s ComportSecure platform has made the offering more attractive to customers, he said. “I think the secret sauce is the MSP customization, that makes it a real solution, delivering a full platform for the customer.”

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