Microsoft, HPE partner on cloud integration

Bill Hilf, general manager, cloud business unit, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

Bill Hilf, general manager, cloud business unit, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

LONDON — Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft confirmed Tuesday that each would be a “preferred partner” for the other when it comes to cloud development and deployment.

The announcement, which was first discussed last week, was announced ahead of HPE’s Discover 2015 event here, and will see the two companies work more closely to support each other’s cloud efforts, including Microsoft’s Azure platform being named as HPE’s preferred public cloud platform, and the two companies working together to more easily integrate Azure-based offerings with HPE’s hardware and software for the cloud.

“We have a very shared worldview when it comes to what it’s going to mean to run hybrid,” said Garth Fort, general manager for cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, at a press gathering here. “Our revenue mix reflects that hybrid world, but we’re still going to have to integrate public cloud-based services with what HPE would call traditional IT.”

While HP’s anointment of Azure as its go-to public cloud platform is interesting, perhaps the bigger impacts for the channel will be in the product co-development likely to come out of the partnership announced today. Fort pointed out that Microsoft and HPE have 31,000 joint channel partners worldwide, and said new offerings — both announced today and to come in the future — will ease partners’ go-to-market with hybrid cloud solutions.

“We’re doing the engineering work to make sure that a combined offering from HPE and Microsoft will work,” he said.

Bill Hilf, HPE cloud business unit chief, said the creation of a series of Centers of Excellence will not only make sure HPE technology runs well on Azure, but that combinations are “deeply tested,” making it easier for solution providers to bring them to market. The companies have long offered Flex Bundles combine HPE hardware with Microsoft software to tackle specific workloads, but Hilf said the new partnership takes things further.

“In the past, it was about simplifying transactions. This is about simplifying the overall solution in a way that drives complexity out,” Hilf said.

The companies announced the HPE Converged System 250 for the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which they call the first hyper-converged platform that’s pre-configured to run Azure-based cloud backup and disaster recovery out of the box. And while the Converged System offering is a first step and is available today, it is simply a first step to a much broader effort, Fort said.

“Our aim is to let Azure be integrated in every server HPE sells, to light up the native ability of Microsoft software to back up to Azure out of the box, and to work on jointly integrated solutions on a variety of workloads,” Fort said.

The companies will also work with each other’s partner programs, with hPE joining the Cloud Platform Solution program, allowing them to resell all Microsoft-made cloud services, and Microsoft joining a partner program supporting HPE’s Composable Infrastructure products, also announced here at Discover under the HPE Synergy brand. HPE will also make it more of its software portfolio available via the Azure Marketplace, with Arcsight and Fortify slated to debut on the cloud service in the first quarter of 2016.