HPE Takes Aim At Dell With VMware Cloud Foundation On GreenLake

‘We think this is a huge breakthrough over Dell,’ says HPE Vice President of Global Marketing Paul Miller in an interview with CRN. ‘We think we have a better VMware solution with Synergy that enables speed, agility, a lower cost point and more flexibility over Dell with metering at the VM level.’


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Monday used the VMworld conference as a platform to take direct aim at rival Dell by unleashing VMware’s Cloud Foundation as a Service on HPE GreenLake.

The new GreenLake as a service offering, which runs on HPE’s fast-growing Synergy composable cloud platform, allows partners for the first time to provide VMware virtual machines (VMs) on a pay-per-use basis with the full VMware Cloud Foundation stack on GreenLake.

[Related: HPE On Why The Competition Can’t Keep Up With GreenLake]

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“We think this is a huge breakthrough over Dell,” said HPE Vice President of Global Marketing Paul Miller in an interview with CRN. “We think we have a better VMware solution with Synergy that enables speed, agility, a lower cost point and more flexibility over Dell with metering at the VM level. … Dell meters at the server level. We are the only ones that meter at the VM level and enable customers to bill at that level.”

The HPE expanded partnership with VMware, which is owned by Dell Technologies, comes with more customers eyeing pay-per-use options rather than opting for traditional legacy capital expenditure IT on- premises offerings. GreenLake provides public cloud pay-per-use metered software consumption capabilities and features in an on-premises private cloud model.

Miller said that HPE’s VM pricing “granularity” is a pay-per-use game-changer for customers who have become accustomed to paying for VMs on a core processor server basis under complex licensing agreements. “With GreenLake you only pay for the exact VM,” he said. “The ability to pay based on VM granularity is an economic game-changer for customers.”

Synergy’s composable cloud architecture is also a notable advantage over Dell, said Miller. He said the combination of Synergy and the GreenLake pay-per-use metering model gives customers embracing DevOps the flexibility to dynamically scale up and down with a composable cloud architecture, said Miller.

“With Synergy you can scale up or down and do DevOps,” he said. “That is a huge advantage. This is delivering the ultimate cloud experience both economically and agility-wise for customers that no one else can touch.”

The GreenLake VMware Cloud Foundation as-a-service offering comes with the enterprise Infrastructure-as- a-Service battle between Dell and HPE heating up. HPE said the new GreenLake VMware Cloud Foundation service will be available in 45 days.

Dell Technologies, for its part, attempted to steal the thunder from HPE GreenLake by announcing at VMworld that its Cloud Data Center as a Service offering—running VMware Cloud on Dell EMC infrastructure —is publicly available in the U.S. The Dell offering is based on its VxRail hyper-converged enterprise-grade platform.

When asked by CRN if its new Data Center as a Service could provide metered VMs as HPE GreenLake does, Dell said the Data Center as a Service offering is initially available in one- or three-year subscriptions with a plan to have “Flex On Demand” available for other Dell offerings in the future.

As for Flex On Demand, Dell said it is offered with a monthly usage rate based on a combined measurement of both storage and compute. Dell said storage measurement is based on average GB usage per month, and the compute measurement is based on the average RAM usage per month.

HPE partners, for their part, said the ability for GreenLake to do metered VMs—which is largely a result of HPE’s acquisition two years ago of metering software provider Cloud Cruiser—gives HPE a marked advantage in the pay-per-use battle with Dell Technologies.

In fact, HPE partners said putting VMware Cloud Foundation on Synergy opens the door to the most lucrative market opportunity yet for GreenLake—a pay-per-use private cloud built on VMware Cloud Foundation—which is being embraced as a multi-cloud standard.

Steve Tepedino, president and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner based in Tempe, Ariz., said the new HPE GreenLake offering for the first time provides a seamless integrated pay-per-use model for VMware Cloud Foundation.

“This is a really big step because now the whole [VMware Cloud Foundation] infrastructure can be consumed in that [GreenLake] consumption motion,” said Tepedino. “It’s game-changing. Before this, the challenge we had is the hardware could be metered but the VMware software had to be bought separately. There was a disconnect.”

Seamless integration with Synergy and VMware Cloud Foundation is a hybrid cloud game-changer, said Tepedino. “Integrating with public cloud and really giving the customer a seamless way to use both private and public together is the money play,” he said. “VCF is the platform that does that. Now the HPE platform underneath VCF with GreenLake creates that wonderful motion. It allows for a more seamless integration with public cloud.”

Tepedino said he sees a massive market opportunity for the new GreenLake offering. “Everybody runs VMware,” he said. “The market opportunity is the whole market. VCF is the foundation for the private cloud computing model. Every customer is now a sales target. Every single customer.”

Tepedino said he expects the new GreenLake offering to result in tighter working relationships between channel sales reps and VMware and HPE reps in the field. “This is going to get the sellers in the field to work closer together,” he said. “I am expecting easier field engagement and a seamless motion for customers who want to use VCF as a foundation for building private cloud.”

As for the HPE versus Dell infrastructure battle, Tepedino said VMware Cloud Foundation on GreenLake neutralizes the Dell claim that VMware runs better on Dell EMC. “What this gets you is an integrated platform motion which mutes that whole conversation,” he said. “VMware as an ISV integrates with HPE as good as Dell—period. This integrated stack makes it easier for the customer to consume it. Simplicity rules the day. Simplicity wins here.”

Dan Molina, chief technology officer for Nth Generation, San Diego, one of HPE’s top enterprise partners, credited Dell CEO Michael Dell for maintaining VMware’s independent status by expanding the partnership with HPE. “Dell is doing the right thing,” he said.”This is another proof point for the industry that Dell is keeping VMware independent.”

Molina said the GreenLake VMware Cloud Foundation offering opens up GreenLake to what is the biggest private cloud market. “This takes GreenLake into the mainstream,” he said. “It validates GreenLake as a solid option for customers. Ninety-five percent of our customers have standardized on VMware. This is going to have a very substantial impact on our GreenLake sales in 2020.”

Molina said Synergy combined with VMware Cloud Foundation is the ultimate killer combination for customers looking to aggressively adopt a DevOps digital transformation model.

“Synergy is the right platform at the right time,” he said. “Many of our customers want a future-proof platform like Synergy that they can rely on for many years just like they did with HPE Blade systems. We have many customers who have had their HPE Blade systems for well over 10 years. That’s a long time in the IT industry.”

VMware Cloud Foundation also opens the door for HPE GreenLake to seamlessly embrace any and all public cloud platforms through VMware including VMware Cloud on AWS. “VMware Cloud Foundation is the strongest and most powerful private cloud available,” said Molina. “Most of our customers standardized on VMware a long time ago. VMware Cloud Foundation on Synergy—the only true composable platform we are aware of—combined with the everything as a service capability of GreenLake makes a ton of sense for our customers. GreenLake is gaining strong momentum.”

Molina said he is seeing increased acceptance of the GreenLake pay-per-use service versus public cloud offerings.“You can scale and provision very fast with GreenLake,” he said. “You get all the benefits of public cloud but can stay on premise at a lower cost with better control and data privacy.”

Molina said many customers are frustrated with high-priced public cloud egress charges and are looking at pay-per-use on-premise options like GreenLake. “Customers don’t want to be concerned about cloud egress charges,” he said. “With GreenLake you get all the benefits of public cloud and more with Synergy composability.”

Partners say HPE GreenLake has a big lead in the race to provide metered, consumption-based services based in large part on its decade of experience offering flexible consumption-based solutions.

HPE GreenLake had its largest quarter ever with a robust 39 percent sales growth for HPE’s second fiscal quarter ended April 30.

HPE is stepping up its pay-per-use charge with a commitment from HPE CEO Antonio Neri that the company will transform its entire portfolio to as-a-service by 2022.

HPE’s Miller, for his part, said the GreenLake VMware Cloud Foundation offering targets the upper mid-market and enterprise customers with a per-VM cost comparable to public cloud. “Almost every customer is running the VMware stack,” he said. “This is going to open doors to new workloads and initiatives that partners can take advantage of.”