HPE teams up with Nutanix for GreenLake managed service

HPE has reversed its no partnership stance with Nutanix to work together on the GreenLake Nutanix managed service.

Let’s roll the clock back to May 2017 when Nutanix made its hyperconverged infrastructure software available on HPE ProLiant servers without HPE’s help. This riled HPE, which fired off a HPE Community Home statement entitled: “Don’t be misled… HPE and Nutanix are not partners.” 

This statement is no longer live but is still available via Google’s cache. The author, Paul Miller, VP of marketing for the HPE Software-Defined and Cloud Group business unit, wrote: “It came as no surprise when I read the news: Nutanix wants to run its software on HPE ProLiant. It was only a matter of time. Customers love HPE ProLiant—the DL380 is the best-selling server in the industry[1]. Now, Nutanix wants a piece of the pie… but then again, what software vendor wouldn’t?

“Here’s what we believe: if you’re considering running hyperc-converged infrastructure (HCI) on an HPE server, you should consider the HPE HCI offerings. Over the last 18 months, HPE has invested nearly a billion dollars to bring the best solution to the market. HPE is combining industry-leading data services with the industry’s best-selling compute platform, and we are continuing to invest in the future.”

The HPE HCI offerings are,based on its acquired SimpliVity HCI business

Times change

Fast forward to today: “Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nutanix today announced a global partnership to deliver an integrated hybrid cloud as a Service (aaS) solution to the market…delivered through HPE GreenLake to provide customers with a fully HPE-managed hybrid cloud.”

HPE ProLiant or Apollo servers will be installed, and loaded with Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software, including its AHV hypervisor, in customers’ on-premises or co-location data centres and consumed as a service through HPE’s GreenLake cloud-like consumption offering.

Suggested use cases are mission-critical workloads and big data applications; virtualized tier-1 workloads such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft; as well as support for virtualized big data applications, like Splunk and Hadoop.

Nutanix founder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey said: “We are delighted to partner with HPE for the benefit of enterprises looking for the right hybrid cloud solution for their business.”

Nutanix’s channel will also be able to sell HPE ProLiant or Apollo servers loaded with Enterprise Cloud software and delivered from HPE factories. In effect, HPE is OEMing its servers to Nutanix.

But HPE’s channel will not be able to sell these HPE server/Nutanix software appliances.

SimpliVity or Nutanix?

It seems that SimpliVity is no longer enough. If Dell EMC can OEM Nutanix software with its XC server range then why can’t HPE do the same, albeit using the GreenLake subscription business model?

HPE’s Miller said; “Our strategy has not changed…SimpliVity is our lead HCI” for the company’s channel. However since May 2017 Nutanix has adopted a software-led business model and has become a more hardware-neutral provider, he said.

HPE believes its SimpliVity product is the best HCI product offer in the general marketplace, with built-in data protection among other features. Enterprises use it to run large virtualization farms and remote office/branch office (ROBO) deployments, according to Miller.

SimpliVity, via Plexxi software-defined networking has an involvement with HPE’s Synergy composable infrastructure and there is no role for Nutanix in that.

How should customers choose between SimpliVity and Nutanix? Miller said that from a GreenLake (OPEX) standpoint, customers wanting the VMware or Hyper-V hypervisors should choose SimpliVity whilst those wanting a free hypervisor should head in the Nutanix AHV direction.

From a CAPEX standpoint HPE sells what it considers to be the best HCI product in the marketplace while Nutanix sells its own product.

To help you choose we built a handy little table comparing the two products:

Blocks & Files‘ was told by a source close to Nutanix that the SimpliVity system is limited in its ability to scale up to larger workloads because it has no distributed file system. However SimpliVity can scale up to 16 nodes in a cluster which puts it firmly in the enterprise class on that front.

We were told: “The biggest customers in Europe (like Sanofi) use it for ROBO scenarios.” Also, “GreenLake plus Nutanix is clearly positioned as an alternative to public cloud, it will give HPE customers the ability to consume their HPE plus Nutanix infrastructure as a service.”

HPE thinks the GreenLake Nutanix offering adds hypervisor choice, which its customers want, and, secondly, SimpliVity is an enterprise-class offering with a sound roadmap.

HPE is convinced GreenLake is a great idea. Pradeep Kumar, SVP for PointNext at HPE, says the company has not lost a single GreenLake customer in two years of operation. Customers want public-cloud-like consumption models, he said.

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software on HPE GreenLake and the integrated appliance utilising Nutanix software on HPE servers are expected to be available in calendar Q3 2019.

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