HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity Review

Helps us have a better defined lifecycle in place


What is our primary use case?

We are using it to procure and replace hardware. It covers storage, backup, and compute. We acquire all of these components through GreenLake.

How has it helped my organization?

It has brought newer technology in more quickly. This comes with an associated lower risk of failure, as we can replace older gear that we might otherwise have been stuck with.

It has helped us with the planning, and in concert with this, we are doing a lot of virtualizations. For a lot of cases, we are bringing in less gear and equipment to be able to accomplish the same things. It makes better use of what we do bring in.

Eliminating the need to overprovision ties into just using the hardware more wisely. If you are dealing with a lot of standalone Windows Servers, studies have shown they don't get used all the way. Since we are bringing in virtual hosts and running VMware on them, then building guests on top of that. We are packing more out of the same hardware.

The service decreases the time it takes to deploy IT projects when we have several sites going at once. Once we get it in-house, we have our own processes for installing and configuring, so it hasn't really changed that much, as we are using the same standards processes.

It has made the administrative aspect of our IT operations easier. Going through this faster, we are keeping the generations closer. We are not winding up with four, five, or as many generations or iterations of hardware. Everything is staying much closer together, so it is a more consistent infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

Personally, it was being able to cycle out the old gear faster than we might have been able to otherwise. 

It helps us have a better defined lifecycle in place.

The service has increased the flexibility of our IT operations by being able to do more of our refreshes faster.

What needs improvement?

Part of the integration, with cutting things over to Unisys, may have hurt us a bit. We had a couple of rough implementations earlier this year. Part of that was due to some internal system changes on HPE's side. We are keeping an eye on this to make sure it doesn't happen again. It was dealt with and cleaned up when brought to the attention of our account team.

From what I heard in the keynote address today, it sounds like they are expanding it to Aruba and pretty much any HPE product. Based on what we need, that would be able to cover the whole range.

For how long have I used the solution?

We helped them write the book, because we were one of the early adopters back in 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are heading for our second round of GreenLake. There have been some changes as we have learned things that worked better, but it has been the same process even despite some personnel changes on both sides (HPE and us).

Getting hit by some of the Intel bugs was not helpful, but that was outside HPE's control.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has scaled up for us worldwide. The only places where we really can't implement, or do GreenLake yet to its full extent, are in places where the in-country rules prevent us from doing that.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. It is really no different than the old purchased, straight, capital expense, purchased support. It is still the same support on the back-end.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Things were getting old, and we had to replace hardware. Back in 2010 and 2011, we bought a ton of hardware worldwide. We were at a big conversion. We would put off refreshes for a while. It all needed to be dealt with. Some of the stuff that we are replacing even now is seven to eight years old. It was bought back then, and we haven't been able to get back to it until now. We knew, sooner or later, some of this stuff was going to start failing and hurting us.

How was the initial setup?

We set up GreenLake before it was called GreenLake. We worked on that for close to a year to get it all in. Not only was HPE writing the book for this service, but also some of our internal processes had to change to deal with the service. 

What about the implementation team?

A lot of deployment was done through HPE. When HPE divested their support environment to Unisys, we didn't have much choice there, as there are a lot of former HPE people working under Unisys now. 

If you ask enough people in our organization, we would tell you that we wish that divestiture hadn't happened. They should have kept it in-house.

What was our ROI?

When we did the first refresh in our main facility, we were able to bring in as much as we did at once. We stood it all up at once. Then, being able to do the migrations off for our old stuff, that went faster than it otherwise would have. There was no way in the legacy capital expense outright purchase model that we would've brought all that stuff in that fast. We would not have gotten that approval.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you are looking to turn some of your capital expense into operational expense, this allows you to do it. It is a good idea.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're an HPE shop. We have been since before I started there.

What other advice do I have?

Something that burned us upfront was underestimating some of the work involved. Once, we got some of the hardware in, then there was some other back-end stuff that had to happen. We buried a couple of people in a backlog because we were moving so fast. We had to slow ourselves down a little to allow that backlog to catch up.

In terms of refreshing the gear, we are able to do it a lot faster. With the four-year cycle that we are doing on GreenLake, and at end of this year, we are starting the second cycle, which has always been the goal, but we have never really been able to hit it. Even now, I still have some hardware out there which is seven to eight years old that I would love to get rid of. Some are easier than others, but we have done quite well over the last four years with shuffling a lot of the older stuff out.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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