Hewlett Packard Enterprise to become Azure partner

The company is looking to focus its efforts on services and hardware.

It's been a confusing six months for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and its cloud efforts, not to mention current or potential HPE cloud customers. In June, with much fanfare, HPE (then still HP) rolled out Helion CloudSystem 9.0, HPE's integrated enterprise open source IaaS and PaaS offering. In October it announced the Helion pubic cloud product was dead and would shut down in January 2016. On an analysts call last week, CEO Meg Whitman announced that HPE had signed on with Microsoft to sell Azure as its cloud service.

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While the complete details of the deal were not discussed, Whitman spoke about reaching an agreement with Microsoft which will make HPE a preferred provider for Azure giving it access to Microsoft customers looking for Azure services and support. In return, HPE will sell Azure as its preferred cloud alternative as it no longer has its own horse in that race.

Analysts are presenting the agreement as HPE looking for additional leverage to sell hybrid cloud services, where customers will continue to purchase HP servers and consulting services and utilize Microsoft Azure as the back-end for scalable cloud services that businesses will implement to scale their own IT needs on demand.

Should this approach prove successful for HP, it would give the company a definite leg up in expanding its side of the hybrid cloud to the other major cloud players. And if it can demonstrate that its front end is the more valuable component than an interchangeable back-end cloud service it may have found a path through the maze of problems that hardware and service vendors face in the future as the cloud becomes even more ubiquitous.

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