Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HPE, has announced that the HPE Container Platform, unveiled in November 2019, is now generally available. The HPE Container Platform is the industry’s first enterprise-grade container platform designed to support both cloud-native and non-cloud-native applications using 100% open source Kubernetes running on bare-metal or virtual machines, VMs, in the data centre, on any public cloud, or at the edge. In addition, HPE is introducing new professional services to ensure faster time-to-value and several new reference configurations for data-intensive application workloads such as AI, machine learning, deep learning, data analytics, edge computing, and Internet of Things.
Many organisations started their container journey with stateless workloads that are easier to transition to a cloud-native microservices architecture. However, the majority of business applications today are monolithic, stateful, and non-cloud-native workloads that live throughout the enterprise. Organisations seek to modernise and containerise these applications without significant refactoring, while ensuring production-grade security and persistent data storage.
While some early on-premises Kubernetes deployments used containers with VMs, this approach is no longer necessary. Running containers on bare-metal provides significant advantages to organisations seeking to modernise and run containers at scale in the enterprise. These include: reducing unnecessary overhead, avoiding lock-in with a proprietary virtualisation format, and eliminating vTax licensing costs.
The HPE Container Platform dramatically reduces cost and complexity by running containers on bare-metal, while providing the flexibility to deploy in VMs or cloud instances. This allows businesses to embrace a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud approach to deploying Kubernetes with enterprise-class security, performance, and reliability. Organisations seeking greater cost savings, efficiency, utilisation, and application performance can eliminate the need for virtualisation and expensive hypervisor licenses, by running containers directly on bare-metal infrastructure.
Additional advantages of the HPE Container Platform and bare-metal containers include:
- Speed. Deploying and running containerised applications on bare-metal is faster. There’s no need to start up the guest operating system of the VM, including a full boot process; this speeds development, operations, and time-to-market.
- Reduction in cost and resources. Since each VM has its own guest OS, eliminating it reduces the RAM, storage and CPU resources, and the associated data centre costs, required to sustain it.
- Elimination of an orchestration layer. There’s no need to have a management framework for a virtualised environment and a Kubernetes orchestration environment for containers.
- Increased density per hardware platform. Run more containers on a given physical host than VMs, by eliminating multiple copies of guest OSes and their requirements for CPU, memory, and storage.
- Better performance for applications that require direct access to hardware. Analytics and artificial intelligence workloads with machine learning algorithms require heavy computation to train the ML models; these applications will deliver faster results and higher throughput on bare-metal.
Built on proven innovations from HPE’s recent acquisitions of BlueData and MapR, the HPE Container Platform is an integrated turnkey solution with BlueData software as the container management control plane and the MapR distributed file system as the unified data fabric for persistent storage.
“With the HPE Container Platform, GM Financial has deployed containerised applications for machine learning and data analytics running in production in a multi-tenant hybrid cloud architecture, for multiple use cases from credit risk analysis to improving customer experience,” said Lynn Calvo, AVP of Emerging Data Technology at GM Financial.
“The next phase of enterprise container adoption requires breakthrough innovation and a new approach,” said Kumar Sreekanti, SVP and CTO of Hybrid IT at HPE. “Our HPE Container Platform software brings agility and speed to accelerate application development with Kubernetes at scale. Customers benefit from greater cost efficiency by running containers on bare-metal, with the flexibility to run on VMs or in a cloud environment.”
“We’re leveraging the innovations of the open source Kubernetes community, together with our own software innovations for multi-tenancy, security, and persistent data storage with containers,” continued Sreekanti. “The new HPE Container Platform is designed to help customers as they expand their containerisation deployments, for multiple large-scale Kubernetes clusters with use cases ranging from machine learning to CI / CD pipelines.”
Commitment to open source
HPE is actively engaged in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Kubernetes community, with open source projects such as KubeDirector. A key component of the HPE Container Platform, KubeDirector provides the ability to run non-cloud-native monolithic applications on Kubernetes. HPE’s recent acquisition of Scytale for cloud-native security underscores its commitment to the open source ecosystem, with ongoing contributions to open source projects, including Secure Production Identity Framework for Everyone and SPIFFE Runtime Environment.
Use case-specific reference designs
The software uniquely addresses the requirements for enterprise containerisation deployments across a wide range of application use cases, including data-intensive application workloads such as AI, machine learning, deep learning, data analytics, edge computing, and Internet of Things. HPE is aligning its hybrid IT portfolio of products and services to support these use cases and enhance the capabilities of the HPE Container Platform. The new reference designs provide best-practice blueprints for workload-optimised configurations on HPE infrastructure.1 These include AI, ML, DL, and data analytics workloads running on HPE Apollo; edge analytics and IoT workloads on HPE Edgeline; and DevOps workloads and CI / CD pipelines on HPE Synergy. The HPE Container Platform also works with storage solutions such as HPE Cloud Volumes and the HPE Container Storage Interface Driver for hybrid cloud deployments with Kubernetes.
New professional services
HPE Pointnext Services provides expert advisory, deployment, training, and support services for containerisation. New design, implementation, and operational services for the HPE Container Platform will help customers to accelerate their containerisation strategy, de-risk enterprise adoption of containerisation, and assure faster time-to-production.