Hewlett Packard Enterprise made major waves last week with the announcement of its new HPE Container Platform, which it touts as the “industry’s first enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based container platform.” Enabling the containerization of both cloud-native and monolithic apps with persistent storage, I see this solution as a pretty big deal and paramount to HPE’s future success. Let’s take a closer look at the details of the new platform.
HPE Container Platform comes at a time when containerization is undoubtedly on the rise. The emergent technology enables developers to develop applications faster and deploy them anywhere—capabilities that the modern enterprise demands. More and more application development is moving to containers and the open-source Kubernetes platform has essentially become the gold standard for container deployments. At this point, most workloads that can migrate easily to cloud have already done so—what’s left behind are traditional non-cloud native applications. Approximately 20% of apps are in the public cloud while 80% are still on-prem. HPE’s new solution seeks to take containerization and Kubernetes to the next level by enabling large-scale enterprise Kubernetes deployments, across a number of use cases, across on-prem, public cloud and edge environments. It’s a bold move that recognizes the reality of the shifting priorities and needs of infrastructure providers.
The beauty of this new solution, in my opinion, is that it leverages several of HPE’s recent strategic acquisitions as well as its own innovation. While I appreciated acquisitions, I wasn't sure how they would fit together. Now we know. As mentioned earlier, it is based on Kubernetes’ 100% open source platform. For its management control plane, HPE Container Platform utilizes software from BlueData (acquired in November 2018). For persistent data, it utilizes the cutting-edge distributed file system it got in its acquisition of MapR back in August (which goes to show how little time was wasted in developing HPE Container Platform). The platform is capable of running containers on bare-metal infrastructure, which HPE claims reduces complexity and saves enterprises money. This is true if you can get the app there and will likely be a new app. Additionally, it can run containers on cloud instances and virtual machines, important for legacy apps.
The platform does several key things for enterprises, in one turnkey solution. First, it brings monolithic, non-cloud-native apps up to cloud standards while avoiding having to re-architect them (a daunting task). Secondly, it can bridge the gap between on-prem, public clouds and edge environments by allowing developers to build apps once and then run them anywhere and everywhere. Next, it simplifies Kubernetes deployment and provides multi-cluster management capabilities, which HPE says will allow developers to release new code quicker. Lastly, it claims to do all these things with the performance, reliability, security and affordability that enterprises demand.
HPE Container Platform was certainly the biggest piece of enterprise data center news I’ve heard in a while. It’s a smart move that recognizes the changing landscape of infrastructure, the ascendance of containerization, and the evolving needs of app developers. If it works as promised, it should significantly cut down complexity and time for developers. I believe it will prove to be a valuable addition to HPE’s hybrid stack. HPE needs to show it can execute on this and I look forward to hearing customer testimonials of happy users. That may sound like "motherhood and apple pie" but many companies aren't even building what enterprises want.