HPE Discover 2024: HPE Virtualization Draws VMware Comparison

Did someone say “VMware alternative?” Not HPE, which calls its virtualization stack complementary to partner VMware’s technology.

Dave Raffo, MSP News Editor

June 18, 2024

3 Min Read
HPE virtualization in data centers

HPE DISCOVER — HPE on Tuesday at HPE Discover in Las Vegas launched a virtualization platform that it claims will future-proof its hybrid cloud capabilities. It also looks a lot like a VMware alternative, though HPE isn’t using that term.

HPE virtualization consists of an open-source kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) hypervisor with the company's cluster management for high availability and load balancing. HPE will manage the virtualization clusters through a cloud-based control plane, though the company claims it will remain highly available even if disconnected from the cloud.

HPE executives stopped short of calling HPE virtualization a VMware alternative, although it includes a hypervisor, storage, data protection and cloud capabilities — the same characteristics that VMware sells to enterprise customers.

“We think our offering is very complementary,” said Hang Tan, COO for HPE hybrid cloud. “What we're trying to do is provide choice. What we're really trying to do is provide a radically simplified operational experience. When customers look at virtualization, they're no longer just thinking about it in isolation. They're really thinking about, ‘How do I gain access to future-proof?’ Because I'm not going to spend all this investment to migrate workloads just so I can land on another virtualization platform. I want to land on the platform that allows me to also be cloud-native.”

Related:HPE Optimizes HPE GreenLake for AI

HPE's Hang Tan

HPE virtualization comes at a time when customers and channel partners are disenchanted with Broadcom’s pricing and packaging of VMware since completing its $69 billion acquisition last year. That VMware “unease” has led vendors to pitch themselves as VMware alternatives. HPE has been a strong supporter of VMware since the early days of VMware’s server virtualization, and HPE CTO and EVP of hybrid cloud Fidelma Russo insists that remains the case.

VMware announced last week that we have signed on to co-engineer a VCF [VMware Cloud Foundation] system,” she said. “We have a lot of customers on VMware who are really good customers of ours. We are fully in and they’re very, very important to us. This is all about choice for different workloads and runtimes.”

HPE Virtualization Part of HPE Private Cloud

HPE’s virtualization capability is built on HPE Private Cloud, which is part of HPE GreenLake. It is integrated with the HPE Alletra Storage MP platform HPE hybrid cloud services. The cloud services include HPE’s Zerto data protection and cyber resiliency software and OpsRamp IT-operations management, as well as third-party integrations.

Related:Poll: Partners Like HPE's Juniper Acquisition, but Cisco to Stay Dominant

HPE virtualization also includes Aruba’s network virtualization and segmentation. It enables virtual machines, containers and bare metal runtimes.

“By integrating our full suite of capabilities along with third-party support, HPE is particularly attractive when customers want a single vendor to minimize technology and operational risk,” Tan wrote in a blog introducing the virtualization platform.

HPE GreenLake private cloud offerings now use VMware as the virtualization platform. Tan and Russo said the virtualization will be interchangeable after VMware virtualization becomes available in the second half of 2024.

“Our control plane is stack-agnostic,” Tan said. “We're going to go to our customers and say, ‘You're going to be able to operate under the same operating construct, the same automation scripts, the same UIs, the same integrations with our services as well as third parties. You can do that running the VM stack, our virtualization stack, our container stack, or third-party stacks.”

HPE's Fidelma Russo

Russo said the HPE Private Cloud control plane will also allow customers to use multiple virtualization platforms.

“Having that same control plane allows us to snap in different technologies,” she said. “So it's conceivable the customer has a workload that they can run on VMware and maybe a lower-end workload they want to run on HPE virtualization technologies on the same platform. Not everything has to be isolated.”

We're on the ground at HPE Discover in Las Vegas, so stay tuned to Channel Futures all week long as we bring you news from the event.

About the Author(s)

Dave Raffo

MSP News Editor, Channel Futures

Dave Raffo has written about IT for more than two decades, focusing mainly on data storage, data center infrastructure and public cloud. He was a news editor and editorial director at TechTarget’s storage group for 13 years, news editor for storage-centric Byte and Switch, and a research analyst for Evaluator Group. In addition to covering news and writing in-depth features and columns, Dave has moderated panels at tech conferences. While at TechTarget, Raffo Dave won several American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards for writing and editing, including for column writing.

Raffo covers the managed services industry for Channel Futures. His reporting beat includes the MSPs, key vendors and tech suppliers with managed services programs, platform providers, distributors and all key players in this sector of the market. Dave also works closely on the Channel Futures MSP 501 and our live events.

Raffo has also worked for United Press International, EdTech magazine, Windows Magazine and Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) in reporting, editing and research analyst roles.

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