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HP Enterprise Partners with Microsoft for Private Clouds

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft have teamed up to bring a hybrid cloud platform to enterprise businesses. The new partnership will allow enterprise businesses to develop their own private and hybrid clouds and will employ Microsoft’s existing Azure cloud software. HP will officially become a “preferred provider” of the Azure services. Additionally, HPE has decided to shut down its own public cloud services early next year.

The deal between the two tech giants is not their first big partnership. When Microsoft first moved into the enterprise spectrum with Windows Server, HP hardware was preloaded with Microsoft server software. This new deal will seek to keep both companies relevant amongst stiff cloud computing competition that is already out there, such as Amazon Web Services. And HPE in particular is looking to remain relevant as a supplier to the enterprise.

As such, HPE is selling an all-new product that businesses can use in conjunction with the cloud services — the HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC StoreVirtual — which is a piece of hardware that comes preloaded with Microsoft software. HP states that it will allow businesses deploy a fully-developed virtual environment from a single interface in less than 15 minutes. Businesses that use the 250-HC StoreVirtual will be able to use the value-added Azure services such as Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup.

The 200-HC StoreVirtual has enough room to store up to four servers within a single 2U chassis. It also features a simple management environment — the network admin in charge of it can manage everything through HP’s OneView tool for VMware vCenter. According to the product page, the appliance has a 99.999% availability rate (uptime) as well as built-in disaster recovery protection.

Here are the noteworthy specifications for the appliance:

  • Two Intel Xeon processors; choose from E5-2640 v3 or E5-2680
  • Up to 512 GB of RAM
  • 10GbE SFP+ network connectivity
  • Choice of SAS or SSD storage

This deal is crucial for HP. The company’s desktop PC, laptop and server markets have been losing more and more of the market share in each of those segments. In fact, HP’s total revenue has dropped 9 percent in 2015 — HP needed a niche pick-me-up, and this partnership with Microsoft is huge. Enterprises that need an in-house Microsoft cloud solution and HPE’s new appliance offering is the company’s answer to raising its revenue again.

The leap into the cloud services partnership wasn’t a blind leap for HPE. The company had expanded its enterprise efforts and has been rewarded for it — the company has been selling more and more inexpensive servers to cloud computing businesses, and as such, the resulting sales for its servers has risen five percent.

HP Chairwoman Meg Whitman said that Microsoft Azure will become the company’s preferred method when it comes to the hybrid cloud industry going forward. Likewise, HPE will be the preferred partner for Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

A Microsoft press release stated that HPE and Microsoft also plan on developing dedicated support service centers called the Azure Centers of Excellence in California and Texas. The support centers will certify that their customers will have a “seamless hybrid cloud experience” that is also open, flexible and secure when using all related platform infrastructure, applications and services. Both companies plan to invest in and advance their respective hybrid cloud offerings at the centers and to begin development of the next generation of offerings, such as the HPE Synergy platform. Another way they are investing is by employing an additional 5,000 certified Azure Cloud Architects to work at the centers.

HPE also plans to raise its enterprise cloud management offerings. HP recently announced the Helion Managed Cloud Broker, which is an upcoming professional managed cloud service that will allow HPE’s customers to keep up with maintenance tasks and updates as well as access and consolidate their services across a number of cloud providers. The Cloud Broker service will include multiple public and private cloud services and providers, including:

  • Helion Virtual Private Cloud
  • Helion CloudSystem
  • Helion OpenStack
  • VMware-supported datacenter services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services
  • An array of other public cloud providers

The HPE service will also accelerate cloud deployment, educate users about cloud technology, and provide other solutions such as environment assessments to “modernize” and improve individual platforms that businesses have deployed. The Helion Managed Cloud Broker is being released in 2016 as a managed service by HPE.

In Q1 of this year, HPE projected that the company would raise its cloud revenue to $3 billion this year.