HPE bags $2bn HPC-as-a-service gig with the NSA

Ten-year agreement kicks off in 2022 to help spies do spying

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has scored a $2bn contract with the US National Security Agency to provide the cyber-spies a high-performance-computing-as-a-service via the tech biz's GreenLake platform.

Under the deal, HPE will fully host and manage the service over a ten-year period. The HPC service is intended to allow the NSA to “harness” AI and data to create insights, the company said.

“Implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities on massive sets of data increasingly require High Performance Computing systems,” said Justin Hotard, HPE senior veep and GM of HPC and Mission Critical Computing.

HPE's Apollo systems and ProLiant servers comprise the major hardware elements of the Greenlake service that will be managed for the NSA via a QTS data center. The contract kicks off in 2022.

The size of the agreement will aid the financial recovery of HPE following a particularly challenging fiscal 2020

All of the major old-world technology vendors are trying to compete with cloud providers with their own take on consumption-based services. HPE got in on the act relatively early via Greenlake, a fully managed cloud service that runs on-premises. Dell, Cisco, and others have since followed.

As of next year, HPE intends to make its entire portfolio available as a service, something it vowed to do in 2018 when services accounted for just five per cent of annual revenues.

This latest agreement with the NSA follows the agency last month awarding AWS a $10bn cloud computing contract. This was promptly contested by Microsoft and so is currently on ice while that complaint unfolds.

“The agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations,” the NSA told us in August.

Reg readers may remember that Microsoft itself won a decade-long $10bn cloud computing contract, dubbed JEDI, from the Pentagon in 2019, but this was scrapped this year amid continued challenges by Oracle and AWS that had delayed the start date.

In other related news today, HPE completed the $370m purchase of cloud data management and protection outfit Zerto. ®

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