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HPE Helion cloud brokerage supplants its defunct public cloud

With its public cloud soon a thing of the past, the HPE cloud strategy around hybrid management continues to take shape with Helion Managed Cloud Broker.

No longer operating its own public cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise will broker other public cloud platforms for customers, with workloads in environments both on premises and off.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the hardware and software offshoot of the recent HP split, said last week it will offer a cloud brokerage service in early 2016 for hybrid IT management. It's a move that follows the path of several other legacy IT vendors that have sought to meet customers' needs in a fluid market.

The brokerage service, taken as part of the larger strategy, is an important step for HPE, said Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys Solutions Inc., a systems integrator and HPE partner in Concord, Calif.

"There's a long way to go as a community as far as universal adoption of platforms that work across environments, but this is a huge step in the process," Strohl said.

Helion cloud brokerage connects to VMware, Microsoft, AWS

HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker is based off existing HP orchestration, automation and operations software, and will provide customers with a self-service portal, monitoring dashboards and reports, as well as management services for security, performance, budgets and application lifecycle. HPE also offers advisory and platform services for clients building their own cloud service broker.

Helion Managed Cloud Broker will support the entire Helion portfolio, except for its public cloud, which will be shut down early next year. It will also support on-premises offerings from VMware, and public clouds from Microsoft, Amazon and others. The service will be available sometime in 2016. And while it will be priced in a consumption model, exact cost figures have not been released, nor has a full list of supported platforms.

HPE doesn't come up much with smaller customers, but for larger organizations with more strategic connections, it remains a relevant company as they make the shift to cloud, Strohl said. Unlike vendors such as Cisco and VMware, which have tried to steer customers to use only their products and those of their partners, HPE is building Helion to be a universal interactivity system for both on premises and public cloud.

There's a long way to go as a community as far as universal adoption of platforms that work across environments, but this is a huge step in the process.
Mike StrohlCEO of Entysis Solutions Inc.

Customers are starting to move from on premises to the cloud and back again, or to other cloud providers, so a vendor like HPE eventually won't be able to meet customer demand if it doesn't have a platform that supports that type of work and everything has to be done manually.

"These are things that aren't blazing problems, but they are being more noticeable, so HP is putting itself in the right area to be where the puck is going to be, so to speak," Strohl said.

Several vendors have followed the brokerage model, including Cisco and Dell, and it's a smart move for HPE, said Dana Gardner, an analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC in Gilford, N.H. Cloud brokers can pick and choose the right requirements at the right price for their customers, so there will be a market for those services.

"I look at it like the systems integrator of cloud computing," Gardner said. "Systems integrators have done quite well the past 20 years."

And brokers won't be simply throwing a switch and moving everything to Amazon Web Services (AWS), as things such as jurisdiction, industry verticals, types of workloads and mobile devices will all impact the decision-making process about where best to run applications, Gardner said.

"Most enterprises I speak with, they don't view public cloud yet as being soup to nuts at all," Gardner said. "They still need to have multiple providers, multiple technologies and multiple platforms, and so as long as this heterogeneity remains, the brokering, the integration-solution approach makes a lot of sense."

All of these providers want to solidify their own install base, but they also want to find the "magic solution" that's going to attract new customers, too, Gardner said.

"What's the right formula of services at the right price with the right [service-level agreements]? It's still a work in progress," Gardner said.

The one advantage HPE might have, along with fellow legacy hardware provider IBM, is a focus on security not just at the perimeter, but through the application lifecycle and across data, Gardner said. The company has a big presence in test and quality assurance across hybrid environments, and with its new composable infrastructure system, Synergy.

Expect these large vendors to make more acquisitions to fill these types of gaps and others, as evidenced by Dell's massive deal to acquire EMC and its federation, Gardner said.

The move to brokering public cloud services comes as HPE tightly integrates with Microsoft Azure, which is seen as a clear second to AWS in terms of market share. Azure is a preferred public cloud partner for HPE customers, and HPE will provide infrastructure and services for hybrid cloud services from Microsoft.

Trevor Jones is a news writer with TechTarget's data center and virtualization media group. Contact him at [email protected]

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