HPE private clouds get Azure-powered hardware boost

Deal between Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft sees the firm release a new appliance for creating private clouds using an Azure-like software stack.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman Image: HPE

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has teamed up with Microsoft to allow businesses to build private clouds using software that underpins Redmond's Azure cloud platform.

From today HPE will sell a new appliance, the Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft CPS Standard, which comes with Windows Server 2012 R2, HPE OneView for Microsoft System Center and Windows Azure Pack.

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The software is designed to allow firms to rapidly deploy Windows and Linux-based systems on virtualised infrastructure, which can be managed from a single interface or console.

"Public cloud services, like those Azure provides, are an important aspect of a hybrid cloud strategy and Microsoft Azure blends perfectly with HPE solutions," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HPE.

Users of the 250 appliance will also be able to take advantage of Azure-connected services, such as Azure Backup and the disaster recovery offering Azure Site Recovery.

A Hyper-Converged 250 appliance can fit up to four servers with up to 16 nodes in a single 2U chassis. Each node comes with two Intel Xeon E5-2640 v3 or E5-2680 v3 processors, up to 512GB of memory, 2 x 10GbE SFP+ network connectivity and a mix of SAS and SSD or all SAS drives for storage, with capacity depending on configuration.

Dell already offers machines with the same Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard software package, such as the Dell Hybrid Cloud System - a PowerEdge R730 rack server that comes with Azure Pack, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Under a new deal with HPE, Microsoft Azure will be the "preferred public cloud partner" for HPE customers while HPE will serve as a "preferred partner" in providing infrastructure and services for for Microsoft's hybrid cloud offerings. HPE plans to certify an additional 5,000 Azure Cloud Architects to improve integration with Azure for its Enterprise Services customers.

HPE and Microsoft will also create HPE Azure Centers of Excellence in Palo Alto, California and Houston, Texas, that will work on creating "a seamless hybrid cloud experience when leveraging Azure across HPE infrastructure".

Earlier this year HP Enterprise projected that its cloud revenue would be about $3bn in 2015, with annual revenue growth of 20 percent.

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Microsoft will join the HPE Composable Infrastructure Partner Program to accelerate innovation for the next-generation infrastructure, such as the HPE Synergy platform, also announced at HPE Discover in London.

Also revealed at Discover were HPE plans to bolster its cloud management offerings, with the announcement of HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker. The managed service will allow businesses to provision, access, consolidate and securely control services across multiple cloud providers.

Spanning public and private cloud services, the HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker will support the full HPE Helion portfolio - including HPE Helion Managed Virtual Private Cloud, HPE Helion CloudSystem, and HPE Helion OpenStack - as well as traditional datacenter services supported by VMware, and a range of public cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. The HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker will be generally available in 2016 as a managed service with a "consumption-based model".