HPE fires more shots at public sector use of cloud

HPE says public sector organisations using the public cloud are finding themselves locked into expensive and unnecessary contracts with no tangible benefits.

Posted 21 December 2022 by Christine Horton

HPE says public sector organisations using the public cloud are finding themselves locked into expensive and unnecessary contracts with no tangible benefits.

HPE’s UK and Ireland MD, Matt Harris, said that with hyperscale, multi-tenant clouds, “it’s quite easy to put your data there, but quite difficult to take it back. Very expensive to do so.”

Harris was speaking at the recent HPE Discover 2022 event in Frankfurt, Germany. He said organisations need to question if they are actually saving money by using the public cloud in many cases.

“When I think about hyperscale cloud, where it really brings value and comes to life is when you’ve got very ‘peaky’ workloads. Or it’s being able to provide infinite scale. But the reality is, how many of your workloads need infinite scale and are very peaky their usage and therefore have a cost benefit by putting them into a hyperscale? A lot of the time that’s not the case,” he said.

“The reality is, there is very little to stopping the major hyperscalers adding zeros to the bill for customers,” he added.

Last year HPE launched a campaign criticising the UK government’s cloud-first policy. This may have shifted to ‘cloud appropriate’ now, but the problems remain the same, said Harris.

“Given costs are going up, energy prices going to going up, we’re all going to have some difficult bills to pay. I think customers will take a long hard look. ‘Am I getting the benefit and what does that mean? Just by lifting and shifting my virtual machine environments from on premise to cloud? Is it cost saving me? I’m not just consuming more because it’s there? Is there some out of control costs going on? Is the cloud chaos going on?’ I think customers need to really understand the benefit of cloud, so it’s giving taxpayers value and benefit.”

Harris also said that “one of the traps that a lot of public sector customers fell into was this view that cloud was going to be some sort of bounce around model, where it’s in AWS today, it’ll be cheaper Microsoft in tomorrow. Sorry, you’re not moving workloads around, you’re not moving data around.”

Bringing cloud to the edge

The exec admitted that for the past decade, cloud “has been the destination that customers have built their digital transformation journeys on.” However, he believes there is now a mature market understanding that cloud needs to be an operating model rather than a destination.

“It needs to be an experience that should have tangible benefit,” he said.

At the event, HPE focused on promoting the benefits of its hybrid ‘cloud to edge’ platform, GreenLake. “As more data gets created at the edge, and not necessarily the datacentre, you’ve got to bring that cloud to the data and the applications, not the other way around,” said Harris. “Because it’s going to be far are too expensive. It’s got to be far too cumbersome to control and that can data first modernisation will require a cloud everywhere approach.”

Harris also told Think Digital Partners that while he couldn’t publicly name them, the vendor “closed significant business with very large central government departments last year on GreenLake.”

With GreenLake, he said, “You don’t have to give up the control. You don’t have to worry about with data sovereignty. You don’t have to worry about your exit strategy.”