Microsoft and HPE make their hybrid cloud partnership official

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We reported that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft would be partnering in the hybrid cloud space, with Azure becoming HPE’s “preferred cloud alternative” and HPE becoming a Microsoft “preferred” cloud services provider for consulting and other services. Today, Microsoft made it official with the obligatory press release.
As expected, the partnership centers around Azure, HPE’s infrastructure and services offerings, and some new programs that should bring some enhanced cloud services to Microsoft and HP customers. Both company CEOs had statements to make on the new partnership:

“Hewlett Packard Enterprise is committed to helping businesses transform to hybrid cloud environments in order to drive growth and value,” said Meg Whitman, President and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Public cloud services, like those Azure provides, are an important aspect of a hybrid cloud strategy and Microsoft Azure blends perfectly with HPE solutions to deliver what our customers need most.”
“Our mission to empower every organization on the planet is a driving force behind our broad partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise that spans Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows 10,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “We are now extending our longstanding partnership by blending the power of Azure with HPE’s leading infrastructure, support and services to make the cloud more accessible to enterprises around the globe.”

The partnership will focus on three primary areas:

  • “Product Integration and Collaboration”: The HPE Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform Standard will be the partnership’s hardware centerpiece, built around HPE ProLiant technology customized for Azure. The CS 250, for short, can be ordered starting today.
  • “Extended Support and Services to Simplify Cloud”: HPE Centers of Excellence will be established in Palo Alto, CA and Houston, TX, where investments in advancing Hybrid IT and Composable Infrastructure technologies will be aimed at improving hybrid cloud experiences. HPE will also certify 5,000 additional Azure Cloud Architects, pumping up its Global Services Practice.
  • “Partner Program Collaboration”: For its part, Microsoft will become a member of the HPE Composable Infrastructure Partner Program aimed at innovating and advancing in the automation and integration of Microsoft System Center and HPE OneView. HPE will also leverage its participation in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program to market Azure, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Office 365 cloud solutions.

Whew, that’s quite a mouthful of buzzwords, but it all seems to imply a strong move in Microsoft’s “cloud-first, mobile-first” strategy. Because HPE has been split off from the HP that’s selling Microsoft Surface competitors, any conflicts of interest should be minimized. HPE and Microsoft should therefore present a formidable cloud services competitor, and we’ll be keeping an eye on the partnership’s progress.