Hybrid Clouds Are in the Spotlight

Google Cloud, HPE, Lenovo and Nutanix partnerships highlight the growing interest in hybrid cloud environments.

Jeffrey Burt

April 9, 2019

5 Min Read
Hybrid clouds

Top-tier IT vendors and cloud providers are unveiling partnerships this week aimed at accelerating the adoption of hybrid cloud environments among enterprises.

At the Google Cloud Next 2019 show in San Francisco, officials with Google Cloud Platform unveiled partnerships with both Lenovo and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to run Anthos — what used to be called Google’s Cloud Services Platform, which was launched in February to enable enterprises to run Google Cloud applications and services within their own data centers — on systems from the OEMs.

In addition, Google Cloud officials are including other OEMs, saying Anthos will run on hardware from other vendors, such as Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, VMware and Intel.


Google’s Kevin Ichhpurani

“These integrated solutions deliver the ability to quickly deploy hardware on premises for immediate needs while providing a clear path for enterprise customers to move applications and workloads to the cloud without the need to redevelop and retest,” Kevin Ichhpurani, vice president of Google Cloud’s Global Partner Ecosystem, wrote in a blog post.

Meanwhile, HPE officials are leveraging the company’s GreenLake consumption-based pay-per-use model for delivering IT hardware not only in the partnership with Google Cloud but also with hyperconverged software provider Nutanix. With Google, HPE is developing two Validated Designs for Anthos that will enable customers to run and manage services either on-premises or in the cloud and will be built atop HPE’s SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure, Nimble Storage hardware and ProLiant servers.

In addition, HPE will develop infrastructure-as-a-service for on-premises resources via GreenLake, enabling customers to run applications as a service in Google Kubernetes Engine.

With Nutanix, the two companies will create a hybrid cloud-as-a-service that will have Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud OS software running on GreenLake.

All the moves highlight the growing adoption by enterprises of hybrid clouds, and for HPE, the partnership allows it to push back at the offerings that rivals like Dell EMC and VMware are delivering with similar offerings.

Enterprises are increasingly adopting strategies around hybrid clouds, where organizations run some workloads in public clouds and others in private on-premises clouds. Not surprisingly, major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud all have run out offerings that let enterprises run their technologies within their own data centers.

According to Flexera’s RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud report released earlier this year, 58% of survey respondents said they have a multicloud strategy that includes hybrid clouds. That was up from 51% during the same survey conducted a year before.


Moor Insights’ Patrick Moorhead

“The hybrid cloud is real and the space is about to explode,” Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told Channel Futures. “With AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud on board, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.”

AWS last year introduced Outposts, racks of its own server and storage appliances that enterprises can put into their data centers and connect back to AWS cloud services. Microsoft offerings its Azure Stack for private clouds. Google officials said Anthos can run in rival public clouds like those from AWS and Azure.

Anthos will run on Lenovo’s ThinkAgile servers. The companies want to accelerate the adoption of hybrid clouds “and our partnership is built on open services like Kubernetes and Istio that enable applications to move and interoperate across all platforms — the private data center, remotely-managed private clouds, public cloud platforms, and emerging workloads at the edge,” Google Cloud’s Ichhpurani wrote.

HPE officials said enterprises can use Anthos to manage their public clouds and on-premises environments, and that with GreenLake, they can leverage the consumption-based model on-premises.

HPE’s partnership with Nutanix will enable enterprises to get access to Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud OS — including its free AHV hypervisor — through GreenLake on an HPE-managed hybrid cloud. At the same time, the partnership also means that Nutanix channel partners can sells HPE ProLiant or Apollo servers with Enterprise Cloud OS to their customers.

“The biggest part of this deal isn’t necessarily the Nutanix part, but Nutanix on GreenLake,” Moor’s Moorhead said. “Consumption-based models are all the rage now with the public cloud, and with most of enterprises’ data on-prem, GreenLake could be considered best of both worlds.”

With the combined offering from HPE and Nutanix, which will be available in the third quarter, enterprises will get …

… a fully managed hybrid cloud infrastructure delivered as-a-service and that can be deployed in customer data centers or co-location facilities. Customers will see reduce operational and capital costs, faster time to value and greater simplicity, HPE officials said. Nutanix’s technology can reduce IT staff hours in deployment and management by 61%  over traditional data centers, they said.

The HPE-Nutanix deal was seen by some as an answer by the companies to Dell EMC and VMware offer.

“I see two deals — HPE getting closer with Nutanix to combat Dell and VMware vSAN with appliances and also the consumption model part of it,” Moorhead said. “With the success Dell and VMWare are having with vSAN, Nutanix needs more friends.”


Pivot3’s Bruce Milne

Bruce Milne, chief marketing officer at hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vendor Pivot3, told Channel Futures that as “the hybrid cloud market evolves, all eyes are on how legacy providers are adapting to the changing needs of customers. HPE’s partnership with Nutanix is clearly meant as a counterpoint to Dell EMC and its relationship with VMWare, but it confuses the market about their seriousness to support customers with continued investment in its strategy for [HPE’s] ProLiant servers and SimpliVity HCI, just as these native offerings were starting to re-emerge in the market.”

All hyperconverged vendors will need to be able to manage both on-premises and the public cloud and HPE appears to be turning to Nutanix for that ability, Milne said.

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