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Easy infrastructure management across the edge and the cloud

Managing flexible clouds with HPE GreenLake for HCI

Sponsored Feature Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is all well and good for companies that only need onsite hardware which supports business processes done in a standard way. But what if you need a solution with more flexibility and faster scalability? What if you don't want capex investments – or the headache of managing hardware onsite?

Firms might desire a deployed solution that does not cause project delays, is not wastefully over-provisioned, is resilient, can be consumed only when required, and which is fully-automated when it comes to data management and security.

Those are the complex and diverse requirements which HPE GreenLake for HCI has been designed to address. The platform was built to simplify the management of on-prem infrastructure and VMs (virtual machines) located either in a public cloud or at the edge, thereby helping companies get the best out of business data to support their digital transformation ambitions.

Its overall aim is to provide a flexible hybrid cloud solution that allows customers to deploy and host virtual on-demand applications and VM workloads, either in the data center or at the edge, depending on their individual preference. You can use a single dashboard to monitor the status of multiple systems and sites, scale deployment of new systems, and manage automated full stack upgrades for example, as well as deploy and manage VMs across hybrid clouds when you want.

HPE says customers are looking for a radically simplified experience for their data infrastructure, and a cloud-native control plane can help them find it. HPE GreenLake technology tackles operational complexity caused by fragmented infrastructure, tricky manual processes across diverse environments, and the ever increasing data silos springing up between the edge and the cloud. And with its self-service agility, the platform's Data Services Cloud Console allows companies to manage hundreds of systems across many different geographies.

Chuck Wood, Senior Product Marketing Manager for HPE Storage and Hyperconverged Infrastructure, says: "We are 100 percent customer-focused and are listening to where our customers are going in their digital transformation journey. As a result, we are bringing our full GreenLake product and advisory service capabilities to help them achieve their data aims in a hybrid cloud environment."

He adds: "Everyone is looking to VMs to help them run their businesses, but the reality is that it is still too complex. As VMs have been easy to provision across the organization, there is now a big sprawl of them. It's not just your on-premises estate to provision and manage, it's about your colocation site, the edge and public clouds. Apps are going into the cloud, and some are coming back to on-prem. With deciding where to host apps, customers are concerned with many issues – including processing performance, security, total cost of ownership, and ease of management across diverse environments."

On-demand scalability fits opex requirements

To solve the problems caused by these challenges, and to achieve their business objectives, Wood also points out that most companies want to use opex (operational expenditure) rather than capex (capital expenditure) solutions. They want to pay for the resources they use to solve their data and app problems when they need them with transparency on a monthly basis, rather than spend big upfront on monolithic systems or get charged for hidden usage costs for cloud, he says.

HPE GreenLake for HCI is a key component of the Cloud Infrastructure Services part of the GreenLake portfolio. It sits alongside HPE solutions like Block Storage, Backup and Recovery, HPE InfoSight, Setup Service, Storage Fabric Manager, Policy Manager, and others.

Like the other services, it's consumed flexibly, which means customers only pay for what they use. And it's a multi-tenant, multi-cluster and multi-site aware solution, which means you have everything you need at your fingertips to globally deploy, manage, upgrade, and optimize your VMs and infrastructure, anywhere they are.

Serving the needs of everyone from a small school, health provider or manufacturer to a large corporation, HPE GreenLake for HCI can be easily scaled up to meet individual requirements. For example, the service could be deployed for VMs that need just a couple of servers, a hypervisor, a networking switch and some storage.

"This is all leveraging innovation from HPE," says Wood. "It is a cloud native service that delivers infrastructure composability. You're buying a service and a service level agreement (SLA), you're not ordering a server. You're ordering a service to get the best out of your virtual machines, with a little buffer included to maintain operations."

The console gives users low touch VM provisioning and orchestration, VM infrastructure and lifecycle management, and global management and visibility, all streamlined through a wizard interface with automation. HPE provides set-up blueprints to speed first time deployments and help automate expansion deployments across multiple sites.

All this enables IT units to reduce operating costs while helping to optimize resource utilization. HPE GreenLake for HCI supports a shift from just managing infrastructure to managing VMs and data, thereby refocusing resources and skills on higher-value strategic initiatives for the business.

Wood says: "One customer told us that it took 10 hours to life cycle upgrade a single cluster running VMs without GreenLake for HCI. They are now able to reliably do it in a couple of hours." A key control element is the 1-click multiple site upgrade feature to ease the pain and gain time back even further.

"You can engage a channel partner and explore the solution online. A rate card will tell you how much it will be to run the VMs you want," Wood says. "If you want to buy, upgrade, add apps to your iPhone, you just do it, you self-serve. This is what we are enabling with this automated service, it offers the necessary resilience, resource capacity for your apps and data based on your needs."

Automation and data management speed up problem solving

The automation of the service is supported by the artificial intelligence (AI) generated by the extensive HPE customer base, which provides data to support deployments, orchestration, upgrades, manage VM performance issues and detect bottlenecks and security threats.

The automation promises to solve Day 2 issues much faster, with HPE saying that almost nine-in-ten (86 percent) problems are solved automatically with the help of its AI capabilities with HPE InfoSight. In addition, 99.9999 percent data availability is guaranteed by the firm for the business-critical apps you run on the system.

To help with business continuity and managing risk, the service goes beyond resiliency with extra VM-centric data protection, rapid restore, and VM mobility for disaster recovery.

In the arena of data management, this all helps meet business requirements around data privacy, data location/data sovereignty, and data compliance.

The Data Services Cloud Console contains services such as HPE Backup and Recovery, and Cloud Physics – analyzing data center infrastructure and revealing potential cost and performance optimizations. Alongside these is also HPE InfoSight, which offers intelligent insights and predictive analytics from storage, servers, VMs and other system components.

HPE GreenLake for HCI is optimized for provisioning VMs on HPE hardware that provides in-built resiliency, performance and efficiency. The solution extends provisioning and control to hybrid cloud including managing Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instances in the public cloud. And for mobility, existing VM deployments on other infrastructure can be migrated into the GreenLake HCI system.

On cost, Wood says: "A key thing here is that there are no extra charges on top of the monthly service chosen – no data usage charges and no egress fees – unlike many other cloud and data handling services.

"As part of the broader HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, this new hyperconverged solution helps customers modernize their businesses."

A bit of modernization never goes amiss in an IT industry that shows no sign of slowing down the pace of its own continuous transformation. So solutions like HPE GreenLake for HCI are likely to go down well with customers that need the flexibility to accommodate different locations, applications and workloads which move with the times as well as their business objectives.

Click here to learn more about HPE GreenLake for HCI.

Sponsored by HPE.

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