HPE inks $2 billion high-performance computing deal with the NSA

The logo of the National Security Agency in front of the US flag
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

HPE has signed a $2 billion computing deal with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to provide high-performance computing (HPC) services.

The agreement, which spans 10 years, will involve HPE providing the secretive intelligence agency with on-premises cloud computing services via its Greenlake offering. Greenlake, launched in December 2020, offers high-performance computing as a service through on-premises or co-location offerings.

The NSA system will go live in 2022 using a combination of HPE Apollo and ProLiant servers. It won't run on the Agency's premises, though. Instead, HPE will build and manage the entire system for the NSA at a data center provided by QTS Realty Trust.

Information on the NSA workloads that will run on Greenlake is sparse, but HPE said it would handle "complex data needs," including deep learning, which uses artificial neural networks to find patterns in large amounts of data.

The Agency has long been a heavy data user in its mission to gather foreign intelligence and other programs that controversially directed its domestic surveillance efforts.

Before whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its mass surveillance program, it began building a controversial Utah data center capable of processing exabytes of data, drawing the ire of local politicians. It finished that facility in 2014.

At launch, HPE said Greenlake would accelerate the deployment of HPC projects by up to 75% and cut capital expenditure by up to 40%.

The NSA has been busy commissioning new computing contracts in the past month. In early August, the NSA awarded a $10 billion cloud contract to AWS, which Microsoft immediately appealed.

HP shares jumped 1.5% upon the deal's announcement.

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.