HPE unveils storage as a service overhaul to take on edge market

The tech giant is after more edge infrastructure business with a new cloud platform and services

HPE headquarters

HPE has unveiled an overhaul of its storage business that has a greater focus on edge-to-cloud software and infrastructure, delivered through its consumption-based GreenLake subscription platform.

The new storage subscription model is comprised of three parts: a storage platform called the 'Data Services Cloud Console', new subscription services in its GreenLake Cloud service, and a storage management tool called HPE Alletra.

Considered the latest milestone in the company's larger shift towards a services model. The new subscription model aims to provide holistic cloud software provisioning, from billing to data processing, and also more financial flexibility for its customers.

The Data Services Cloud Console is an API with which customers can manage cloud and data-centric operations. It can be used for HPE-led application automation and developers can use it to access infrastructure and data as code.

HPE Alletra, however, is a completely new 'pay-as-you-go' suite of cloud storage tools, managed through the Data Services Cloud Console. It aims to deliver a unified operation from edge to cloud, with customers no longer needing to make specific hardware choices. Instead, Alletra will run on all-NVMe (nonvolatile memory express) HPE systems, which includes HPE Alletra 9000 and Alletra 6000.

The tech giant said the new offerings will simplify edge to cloud management, but there are some concerns, according to Forrester's cloud analyst, Naveen Chhabra. Customers will not only still need to have substantial technical knowledge to fully utilise the service, but the new model may do little to alleviate friction in the procurement process.

He also told IT Pro that decision-makers will have to evaluate the tech and overall pricing, which will require a full understanding of the finer details of the service, its payment model and the overall costs. What's more, he suggests that customers will still be responsible for their data centre facilities, which only adds to the complexity.

However, Chhabra also explained that companies moving to edge computing should not be seen as the "panacea" for data centre infrastructure vendors. While companies will require more compute storage infrastructure, HPE will be up against established firms that are already specialists in this area. The likes of Honeywell, Schlumberger, and Siemens already provide embedded tech infrastructure and Chhabra suggests it might be difficult for HPE to find traction with its pay-as-you-use offerings.

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"Tech infrastructure, certainly, is an embedded solution in all these edge use-cases, but not the leading solution," argues Chhabra. "Hence, leading with an IT solution will not cut the ice much longer and deeper. These tech vendors that are going after edge use-cases and with flexible pay-per-use pricing will have to go to these vertical solution builders and get themselves embedded, to the point that the factory floor decision-maker won't even know whether it's HPE, Dell, or Lenovo under the hood."

"The tech infrastructure vendors will continue to remain relevant and known in the IT deployments but not in the true edge scenarios as they would like," Chhabra added. "Will businesses care if Siemens bases its solution on a low cost yet reliable system from an ABC vendor? Maybe not as much."

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