Modernizing Data Management with HPE GreenLake Data Services – Six Five Insiders Edition

Hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman sit down with HPE’s Tom Black and Omer Asad to discuss how HPE is reinventing Storage as a Service to make it accessible to everyone; and how new data protection & ransomware recovery services are protecting customers’ most valuable asset – data.

To learn more, visit HPE GreenLake.

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Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorhead and we are here on the new HPE campus here in Houston, Texas. It’s great to be here, and we are going to be talking HPE GreenLake services, storage, and data. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. I mean, we are face to face. Can you believe this?

Tom Black: It’s great to be here.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah.

Tom Black: Nice to see you Pat, Daniel.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, good to see you.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s good to see both of you, Tom and Omer. Six Five on the Road here at the headquarters. Kind of cool because it’s not actually open yet.

Patrick Moorhead: I know.

Daniel Newman: It’s coming up really soon.

Patrick Moorhead: We’re getting the sneak peek.

Daniel Newman: We’re getting the sneak peek, and of course, we always have fun. We saw San Jose open, and now we’re going to see it open up here in Houston as a couple of Texans, relocated but both from Austin, we love seeing HQs of tech coming to the state of Texas. So this is great stuff. Tom, Omer, welcome to Six Five on the Road.

Tom Black: Thanks.

Omer Asad: Pleasure to be here.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, a lot going on. Some big announcements just made. Let’s start there. Let’s jump in. You guys ready?

Tom Black: Absolutely, let’s go.

Daniel Newman: Okay, you look like you’re at the edge of your seat.

Tom Black: Yeah, ready to go.

Daniel Newman: You guys had a bunch of big announcements. Tom, I’m going start off here with you. Give us the recap of the stuff that’s under your particular purview.

Tom Black: Great. Really what we’ve been talking about today is the introduction of a completely unified HPE GreenLake cloud platform. Fidelma Russo joined us recently to get that into full production. Really what’s exciting for storage and data in today’s announcement is we’ve introduced a complete new block storage service, HP GreenLake for Block Storage, as well as a significant enhancement to our backup and recovery status service on the platform as well.

If you think about really what makes it special, what makes neat is we bring a true cloud operational model to the customer. It’s not just a UI in the sky. It’s really how you have roles and personas and you have IT admins that can do certain things and normal line of business DBAs can do other things just like they would at a hyper-scaler. So, really exciting to bring out these two new services today.

Patrick Moorhead: No, this is excellent. Maybe we can dive in a differentiation. We’ve seen I guess for 12 years now storage service in the native cloud folks, and then what we’re seeing with addition to HPE is a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, right?

Tom Black: Yes.

Patrick Moorhead: So, I want to make sure Omer and Tom, you both have to answer this question. What makes it different? How’s it different? How’s it unique? What are the incremental benefits that you bring to the customers?

Tom Black: Sure. I guess as you said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Patrick Moorhead: Did I say that? I think I inferred it, yes.

Tom Black: But if you look at what we’ve done, we’ve taken a tech stack that took us probably five plus years in Aruba to get it to its current state, right? So 120,000 customers, you’ve got millions of devices around the world, you’ve got a billion events an hour coming in, being ingested by the platform. This was a battle-hardened platform that Fidelma took and made really cross-company useful.

So we have a tech stack that takes a while to get there, a lot of investment. Particular to the block service, and then I’ll hand it off to Omer here, we didn’t bring out just one grade of storage. What we brought out was both our mission-critical 100% data availability line of capabilities, as well as our mid-range six nines business critical. So really any workload, and what really makes it different than the cloud is the cloud does not have that level of availability or performance in any offer today. I don’t know, Omar, maybe you can pile on here.

Omer Asad: No, a hundred percent. So, a couple of things I want to start off with, as Tom mentioned it earlier. It’s a battle-hardened tech stack, but the thing that I want to specify and actually focus on is that it’s not hardware leasing. A lot of the offers outside of the public cloud for storage as a service are essentially the same hardware stack, but you pay by the drink. It’s a leasing model at the end of the day.

But once you think about bringing a true service to the customer, I mean, yes, obviously storage admins are going to use it, but literally it’s for everybody, from the procurement of the service, which is two clicks, very simple attributes-based rate card that you would see, for example, at any hyper-scaler. From that point onwards, the entire experience of ordering, providing your commitment levels, and then consuming the service is completely, click, next, click, next, and then the gear arrives dialed into the cloud, registers on the cloud console, as Tom mentioned, and the cloud operational model then just takes over.

So not only pre-buy, buy, and then operate, N plus one operations are extremely simple. It’s just taking the same hyper-scaler simplified model, but now adding the availability levels, adding the performance levels to the particular service depending on the SLA that was purchased, and then on the customer goes. From a customer perspective, it’s great if you have storage admins, but if you don’t, anybody can order, use, and then consume the service, just like a cloud service with benefits that it now sits in your own data center or at a service provider of your choosing.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. It is funny how some people might minimize the importance of having even a web portal that looks similar to what they’re used to, but if you’ve had somebody who’s maybe been buying storage for 12 years from a cloud service provider, that’s actually a benefit, and then you get into the management of it. It’s funny, we always use the word single pane of glass, which is more like, it’s just minimizing panes of glass, right? I’m not aware of any enterprise who has one pane of glass, right? But it’s really minimizing it. So, I do like the approach that you’ve taken. I looked at the portal just to see what it looked like, and might people under understand this, and I think it’s a good step forward.

Omer Asad: Yeah. A lot of the improvements have actually been made by bringing the cloud operational model for our customers. So it’s like a cloud that comes to you. Once the appliances land, from that point onward, there’s essentially just two cables, power cable, and a networking cable. Then the cloud, you can onboard it through the cloud. You could be sitting on a beach somewhere and the appliances will be onboarded and you can just start to configure and partition store it just like you would do in a hyper-scaler model.

The second biggest advantage that customers have actually told us that have ran previews with this particular service is the amount of usage analytics that we can then throw back to the customer. And because we can bring the power of info site, we have been in that business, so analytical storage business for about I would say 10 years now, marrying the two together to bring the operational model and the analytical model back to the customer really makes this block storage what I call the application context aware.

So, traditionally customers have always been dealing with [inaudible] and volumes with no real indication of what the actual storage sprawl looks like. So to be able to map that back with info site analytics and take it back towards the workload that they’re running and displaying that entire stack from a non-analytical perspective really, really makes the day N plus one operations very, very simple for the customer.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah.

Tom Black: We get some really good customer feedback, critical reports to add, look, I have to run this kind of quarterly or monthly capacitor report. I owe my auditor. It would really, really nice if we could make sure that we have the ability across the entire data state, map it back to say line of business tag or map it back to line of business comma workload comma user, the ability for people just to run reports, look, here’s your chargeback for this month, here’s my capacity report.

A lot of thought went into not just a zero-touch deployment, but really what it means for someone responsible for the gear to do their typical stuff that would be in an Excel spreadsheet or in the back of a, maybe in Notes on their iPad, but actually just have it automated on the console. Then of course, as we said, just like with, say, EBS or any other cloud service, you can have personas that are allowed just to instantiate a volume, delete a volume, snapshot it, freeze it, those kinds of things.

So really that separation, that end-to-end separation of duties, that end-to-end, really thinking about how we drastically simplify where people are spending their time with storage on-premise. We think we’ve really moved the state of the art forward.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. I think there’s a really interesting opportunity for HPE to lean into the data services side.

Tom Black: Yes.

Daniel Newman: As your legacy tends to have people think about big iron, big storage, and as we’re seeing the data and the compute and the services all moving closer together, that GreenLake story starts to make more sense. What you guys are building starts to make a lot more sense, because you need all that data. It needs to be accessible. You’re seeing very much software-defined type of data, infrastructure being put into place so that all data is more immediately accessible for machine learning, for acceleration, and of course, you’re seeing new companies come into the market, and you guys, as an on-prem slash cloud that comes to you, I know there’s some different ways you guys like to explain that, hybrid architecture opens up the doors to partner with some of these software companies to make sure data maximization is in place.

I mean, you guys did a fairly elaborate partnership last year with Splunk, and that was a good instance of where two companies coming together to solve a big data problem for a massive, I believe that was Wells Fargo, and that’s public, right? So I can talk about that. You guys kind of answered my question, because I was going to ask you about what this means for customers, and frankly, you guys hit that question really well. So I want to move forward and just talk a little bit about data protection.

So, we’re seeing this exponential data growth. We’re seeing it from edge to cloud, which is the underpinnings of your narrative. But we’re also seeing enterprise, government, all the customers you serve, they’re all on the defense. Everyone seemingly is under attack. It’s not an if, it’s a when. Data protection is in focus. What is the HPE approach to provide some comfort and help customers deal with these challenges right now?

Omer Asad: There are a couple of ways we’re attacking the problem, right? Along with the block as a service, we’ve also announced significant enhancements to backup and recovery service, which is now GreenLake Backup and Recovery Service. We’re taking it out of preview mode, so it was running in preview mode for about three months with some introductory customers of ours. Now we have added the capability of backing up any virtual machine using GreenLake Backup and Recovery Service, so now it’s applicable to almost all forms of storage that the customers may deploy.

The number one thing that we have focused in there is again the service experience, right? Data protection, as you well know, it’s a painful field, right? Nobody looks forward to backing up mountains of virtual machines and mountains of data, right? So, when we fundamentally looked at the experience, we noticed that media servers and catalog servers have a huge sprawl managing, patching. Nobody looks forward to that. Then in addition to that, when you go into data protection appliances, or what we call backup targets, these sometimes range at petabytes in nature, right? Life cycle management, maintenance, patching, upgrade, lift and shift. It’s just the amount of painful labor that goes in that along with backup management is just excruciating for customers.

So when we looked at it, we looked at both of those and said, “How can we bring the cloud operational model to the data protection world?” That was the birth of GreenLake Backup and Recovery Service. What we have again done from the unification console that Tom mentioned on the GreenLake platform, it’s really as simple as going to the GreenLake platform, you type in your vCenter address for your virtual machine environment, could be anywhere, and from that point on, the console just takes over. We shoot down our proxies, which are completely cloud-managed, the customer doesn’t have to touch it, and boom, you restart protecting your virtual machines. The chargeback just starts at that point. No media server management, no data backup target management, they’re all included in this particular service. Life cycle management, and a full three, two, one on-prem, cached, and cloud protection is complete turnkey as part of this solution.

That’s just on the backup side. Then as you know, we were fortunate enough to bring another company called Zerto into the family, and they’re a leader in disaster recovery as a service. One of the biggest facets they bring to the table is ransomware protection, because they literally simplify and revert you back to seconds before, when the ransomware attack took place, right? So bring both of these together for backup and disaster recovery as a GreenLake cloud package is now available for our customers.

Patrick Moorhead: Oh, that’s exciting stuff. I don’t know, maybe Tom, hit you up, any closing comments? I’m sure what I get the question a lot of is, hey, this storage as a service thing, how do I get started, what do I need to be thinking about? Maybe you can take us out here?

Tom Black: Sure. You go to go to the GreenLake console, create yourself an account, and from there, you’re off and running.

Daniel Newman: Wait, wait, wait. When he was talking about it, though, you saw Tom got a little smirk. He was just smiling and you could tell he was proud. He was feeling good about what you guys are building.

Tom Black: Actually, I’m sorry, you caught me with a private joke between us, because he’s like, “Tom, three clicks, you’re protected. That’s it.” I was like, “Okay.” So I looked at a competitor in the market, and they had a 126 page quick start guide, and I went, “Okay-”

Patrick Moorhead: For backup.

Tom Black: Yeah. “You win. You proved your point.” That was a-

Daniel Newman: Well, no millennial will read that just so you know. As a millennial, I can say that.

Tom Black: But really it’s about getting yourself a GreenLake account. Right from there off the portal, you can start to specify what you would like, pick some attributes, gear shows up, and away you are off and running. Actually, for several months we had a preview of the block service out that people were able to go and go take a peek. Again, got some really good feedback on that. But yeah, we’re trying to make this as simple as possible.

Daniel Newman: Well, you’re doing a good job. I mean three clicks, compelling. We’ll have to listen. Our job as analysts will be listening to the street, listening to the CIOs and enterprise executives that are rolling this out and saying, “Is it as easy as Tom and Omer told us?” But I doubt you would come on and say it if you didn’t believe in it.

By the way, like I said, congratulations on the momentum of GreenLake as a whole. I think the data services is a really big opportunity. It’s probably an area that HPE can be known even more for, whether that’s through your own services, through the acquisitions you’ve made, or partnerships that you’re rolling out into market. But one thing we can all agree on, data is exponential, and the impact of data from edge to cloud, every business has to be thinking about it, thinking about architecture, thinking about protection, safety, security, and of course utilizing it to get the best insights, to be able to deliver the best services to your customers, and of course, taking care of your infrastructure in house.

Daniel Newman: Gentlemen, I want to thank you so much for taking the time with us.

Tom Black: Thanks Daniel, thanks Pat. Got it.

Daniel Newman: Tom, Omer, thanks for joining Six Five on the Road. Congratulations on the big GreenLake announcements, and by the way, beautiful facility here in Houston.

Tom Black: It is.

Daniel Newman: If you’re out there and you’re working with HP, I recommend stopping by.

Tom Black: It’s almost a modern art museum.

Daniel Newman: If you like modern art. So gentlemen, we’re signing off now. Thank you so much. We’ll see you again soon.

Tom Black: Thanks. Thanks for having us.

Omer Asad: Thanks.

Tom Black: All right.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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