Leading up to the spate of announcements coming out of HPE Discover this week is an expanded partnership with Nutanix that will extend the HPE GreenLake hybrid cloud platform with a managed database service.
The joint service, announced before this week’s event, fills a gap with HPE GreenLake’s database services, while providing Nutanix a partner that goes the last mile in delivering the company’s software-defined Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), Era. The Era service will run on HPE ProLiant servers and delivered as a service through HPE GreenLake.
At first glance, it might appear that HPE and Nutanix offer similar capabilities. Both offer software-defined as-a-service platforms sharing similar roots with hyperconverged systems and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Both appeal to organizations that are seeking hybrid cloud solutions for data and applications that cannot readily go into a public cloud. The drivers are the operational simplicity that a cloud control plane can offer, where tasks such as provisioning or patching are highly automated, and secondarily, the opportunity to pay for the platform by metered usage.
Admittedly in database-as-a-service, at first glance there also appear to be some overlaps on the HPE side. HPE GreenLake already has a couple of database offerings in its portfolio for PostgreSQL and SAP HANA; those databases are pre-integrated by HPE, and with HANA, is SAP-certified. These databases are packaged in with the HPE GreenLake system on a choice of choice of validated configurations which include ProLiant, Synergy, and Superdome, and are billed on a metered usage basis.
By contrast, Nutanix Era is broader-purpose in that it supports a wider variety of databases, but as a software-only offering. Nutanix positions Era as a “one-click” database administration and automation solution for legacy relational databases. Era currently supports Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, SAP HANA, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB. Instead of a prepackaged offering, it superimposes a cloud-like control plane that handles provisioning, backup and restore, copy data management, and patching.
Nutanix already has a couple partners, including Wipro and HCL, that focus on Era implementation; but they do not run Era as a service for customers. By contrast, the HPE GreenLake partnership is operations-oriented; HPE manages it and provides metered billing for the HPE infrastructure. Later this quarter, HPE will extend metered billing to Era so that the entire bundle is delivered and billed as a service.
Nutanix Era largely appeals to lift and shift scenarios, where organizations have an existing fleet of transaction databases that would be difficult if not impossible to move to a public cloud, or migrated to a public cloud provider-specific service such as Amazon Aurora, Azure SQL Database, or Google Cloud Spanner. Often, it’s the scenario where there are too many interdependencies with other on-premises applications or where internal policies or external regulations constrain options for public cloud deployment. With Era, they can redeploy these legacy databases on any commodity hardware.
With the joint offering, customers (or integrators) would still be responsible for migrating their legacy databases onto the HPE GreenLake platform, which comes bundled with the Era control plane. The Nutanix solution which is located on an HPE ProLiant DX server lives within the customer’s data center or colocation provider and is under their control.
For Nutanix, delivering Era through HPE GreenLake provides the missing last mile. The joint offering allows Era to not only operate like a cloud service, but be managed, pre-integrated, and billed as a cloud service. There will still separate consoles for managing the underlying HPE GreenLake infrastructure and the Era database control plane. We’d like to see HPE and Nutanix take the integration a step further, initially adding an Era tab to the HPE GreenLake Central console; that could be followed up with a DBA “skin” to HPE GreenLake Central so that system admins and DBAs could, literally, be on the same page.
HPE GreenLake with Nutanix Era is available now, and as noted above, metered billing will come to the joint offering in July.
Disclosure: HPE and Nutanix are dbInsight clients.