HPE has pulled the sheets off a service designed to advise punters on the bits of their IT infrastructure to keep in-house, and the workloads to offload to public cloud data centres.
Right Mix Advisor comprises a bunch of software tools, consulting from HPE's Pointnext division and migration assistance.
Some of the features used in Right Mix were obtained with the recent acquisition of British cloud consultancy RedPixie and the purchase of Cloud Technology Partners in 2017, while a subset of automated discovery capabilities is being provided by Irish startup iQuate.
According to HPE, Right Mix can suggest a hybrid cloud configuration based on the needs of the business, as well as the cost of the infrastructure, by relying on data slurped from configuration management database systems, for example ServiceNow.
"I like to tell customers there are a thousand things they could be doing – but they need to find the 10 most impactful things they should start on tomorrow morning," chirped Erik Vogel, global veep for hybrid at Pointnext.
Hybrid cloud has emerged as the dominant IT architecture and, according to Gartner, will remain so in the near future. The analyst firm predicts that by 2020, 90 per cent of organisations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management, and spending will be divided equally between enterprise data centres and cloud vendors.
But dividing your entire IT estate into two or more parts is no easy task. "IT executives have noted to us that identifying the optimal fit for their individual workloads is one of their top challenges today," said Jed Scaramella of IDC. "Past approaches that relied on best practices and manual analysis are now too costly and time consuming."
HPE's track record in on-premises IT deployments cannot be understated: it is the world's second largest server vendor, both by revenue and number of units shipped. At the same time, its relationship with the public cloud has been complicated.
Back in 2015, HPE started its own public cloud service in the US, Helion, which was based on OpenStack. In Europe, it launched Cloud28+, a catalogue that brought together services from more than 150 regional cloud providers, all based on the OpenStack platform.
But Helion struggled to find much traction, and the service was shut down completely on 31 January 2016, while the OpenStack technology was sold to German open-source specialist SUSE. Cloud28+ also went through considerable changes – today, it's an aggregator of cloud computing services, not limited to either Europe or OpenStack, with the website simply stating "sponsored by HPE".
As it dealt the finishing blow to Helion, HPE cosied up to Microsoft and made it a "preferred public cloud partner". Later, the purchase of Cloud Technology Partners beefed up the company's AWS credentials. And that remains its preferred tactic: investing in "partnerships".
Whether HPE can remain objective in its recommendations, considering its close relationships with some of the world's largest cloud vendors on one side, and its hardware business – which relies on on-premises data centres – on the other, is not clear.
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And if you lack the tools and processes to act on such recommendations, it'll be quick to pint out, you can always try GreenLake, HPE's recently announced managed service for private, public and hybrid clouds.
Despite the company's continued standing in enterprise hardware, Pointnext and consulting services are turning into something of a cornerstone for HPE, following the split of the business from HP Inc in 2015. The division has around 25,000 employees.
HPE calls Right Mix Advisor an "industry first" but this claim is questionable: the concept of hybrid cloud has been around for years, and there are plenty of automated tools and consultancy services that can help with right-sizing infrastructure. Examples include software from CloudHealth, a company recently acquired by VMware, and Apptio – which primarily focuses on optimising the cost of hybrid cloud. ®