April 28, 2017

When it comes to container technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been considerably more aggressive than any other major vendor in terms of bundling third-party platforms with its IT infrastructure offering. After striking an alliance with Docker Inc. last year, the company has now moved to embrace Mesosphere.

HPE had been an earlier investor in Mesosphere. But under the terms of a new reseller agreement the company will now bundle and support the Mesosphere DC/OS platform running on its servers and storage systems. In addition, Mesosphere has joined a Cloud28+ community, which HPE created to promote adoption of its commercial systems by cloud service providers.

Bob Moore, vice president of global security services, says as part of its commitment to a “New Style of Computing,” HPE views containers as a foundational component of a modern enterprise IT environment. In fact, Moore notes that one of the primary reasons IT organizations are adopting containers is that they make it simpler to run applications on any cloud computing platform they choose.

To facilitate that transition, the company has developed HPE Cloud Native Container Service for Mesosphere, a set of services delivered via HPE Technical Services that aims to help IT organizations not only deploy Mesosphere, but also integrate it into their DevOps processes.

HPE has already created a reference architecture for deploying Mesosphere DC/OS alongside Apache Spark, Kafka, Cassandra and Zeppelin on its infrastructure. Mesosphere DC/OS itself is based on Mesos, an open-source distributed system kernel that Mesosphere has adapted in a way that can be used to schedule and orchestrate containers using an open-source Marathon container orchestration engine that has been baked into DC/OS.

In general, DC/OS has a reputation for being complex to install and manage. But many IT organizations have implemented DC/OS to manage containers at scale in microservices environments spanning both bare-metal servers and virtual machines.

Moore says HPE has not yet announced what specific implementations of Kubernetes it intends to support. Unlike Mesosphere and Docker Inc., there are several distributions of Kubernetes available. But eventually Moore says HPE will support multiple options for orchestrating containers. In contrast, Moore says its major rivals have yet to launch any comparable effort when it comes to supporting containers and microservices.

Naturally, HPE is betting that as IT organizations move to embrace containers and microservices they will upgrade their IT infrastructure environments. Containers and microservices, in general, create a lot of contention for I/O resources that are best served by IT infrastructure platforms that are loaded with memory and Flash storage.

Moore concedes that in terms of overall adoption of containers in the enterprise, it’s still early days. At the same time, however, support for DC/OS and other container technologies provides HPE with an opportunity to get in on the ground floor as organizations start to embrace microservices. That challenge, of course, is not limited to software as IT organizations gear up to re-engineer their entire approach to invoking IT infrastructure inside and out of the cloud.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.