back to article HPE goes on the warpath, attacks AWS over vendor lock-in

Migrating your data to the machine that is Amazon Web Services is a little like booking into the Hotel California, the title track from The Eagles late 1970's album of the same name, the rub being that customers, like guests at the hotel, can check out anytime they like but never truly leave. This is the view of HPE CEO …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    translation: its SO UNFAIR that AWS is eating our lunch, lets pretend they are bad.. How is HP is going to keep gouging its customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What lunch?

      Ok, so this post might be unpopular but I hope coming from a hardware vendor background, people can appreciate some honest unbiased observation.

      On-prem is a dying concept. Lets face it. As techies we may not like it, but it's the cold hard truth. Most companies out there can easily be convinced and brought onboard any cloud with magic words like encryption, replication, high availability etc. To them, its just more stuff they don't need to pay for upfront. And they trust these major cloud vendors to do it much better than small and mid sized IT departments.

      Hybrid clouds account for a tiny subset of customers who haven't quite been able to move to the cloud yet, and believe me, the majority of these are itching to do so.

      Most people think of cloud as simply being AWS, Azure, Google. Nope. Think again. Once you add other heavyweights like Salesforce for CRM, commerce, sales; Microsoft for Office, outlook, even AD; Adobe for their entire creative suite. What is left? Its an uphill battle against the collective marketing resources of all every major Cloud vendor. And then add the fact that your average office employee wants to work from their iPad/iPhone/own device/browser, from home nonetheless, and most companies will happily move away from expensive specialised high end equipment in favour of offloading everything including the kitchen sink to the cloud.

      Most companies out there see IT as being an unwanted stepchild that they, until now, had to care for. No more. They would much rather focus on their primary business. Even IT companies themselves see their internal IT as an afterthought. Its sad but it is what it is.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What lunch?

        Also, let me add that Amazons move into hybrid is certainly not positive news. It seems more like a strategy to lure undecided enterprises into the cloud world. A taster if you you will. HPE is simply upset at having to compete in this teeny tiny niche market with a behemoth like Amazon.

        It just shows how amazingly incompetent HPE are though. They ditched their Openstack based Helion line, spun off their software with Microfocus, who then sold off SUSE and thus widened the prospects of any meaningful partnership between HPE and an actual open source cloud vendor. SUSE went back and bought Helion and now the platform is being marketed entirely as a SUSE offering.

        HPE, once again is left behind complaining about vendor lock-in. Hilarious.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What lunch?

        I work for a small engineering company that designs and provides mission-critical plant control services to other companies. Our own offering is, in essence, our customers outsourcing their controls and analytics to our cloud service.

        The problem is that it's extremely difficult and costly for a company our size to deploy and manage full five-nines redundancy on our own. We've managed to do so during the initial ramp-up of the service, but as we gain customers and the transaction volume goes up, our multi-data-center, multi-connection high-availability has to scale up to match.

        When you factor in (a) the acquisition costs of adding and upgrading servers and networking gear, (b) the ongoing costs of ever-larger data pipes and power equipment for full redundancy to two data centers, growing the business on our own resources would put our largest focus on data-center operations rather than design and development. Basically, IT becomes the tail wagging our dog.

        Thus, we are migrating our operations to a cloud IT provider. In addition to handling all of the stuff like backup power, cooling, redundant hardware & data pipes, etc., we can scale our compute on demand at any time, without having to buy servers and resources to handle occasional volume peaks. By the same token, if we lose a big customer, we can dynamically reduce our data center expenses in a way that we could not with racked servers in our own data centers.

        Yes, cloud providers can have outages; but so can we. A couple of years ago, we learned that the the only two internet providers available to our main office and data center ran their fiber in the same right of way. Unfortunately, we learned that when someone put a backhoe through said fiber lines. We also learned that in spite of our best efforts, failover took longer than we thought and our backup data center could not provide quite enough bandwidth to support customer demand.

        All of this to say that cloud computing is not necessarily just catnip for PHBs with an eye on their next cost-reduction target. When used correctly, it can be a really good solution for some business cases, and enable smaller companies to compete in ways that we could not if we had to do all of the above on our own.

        My $0.02.

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: What lunch?

          But that fibre line into your building also provides you with your cloud service. So put a spade through that and your cloud access also goes down.

          1. T. F. M. Reader

            Re: What lunch?

            But that fibre line into your building also provides you with your cloud service.

            I think the point is that in this setup their cloud service to their premises is not mission-critical. Their customers' cloud service is, but that would not be affected if that fibre were severed, right? What would be affected is their DevOps ability to manage said cloud, and that could be temporarily remedied by said DevOps working on laptops somewhere else, at home or at a local coffee shop, off the data path, until the now-non-mission-critical fibre is mended.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What lunch?

              I think the point is that in this setup their cloud service to their premises is not mission-critical. Their customers' cloud service is, but that would not be affected if that fibre were severed, right?

              OP here. You are correct. In the new model, the customer will access the commercial cloud service directly. If we have an outage in our offices, we can still access the commercial cloud for management purposes using any available internet connection -- phone WiFi hotspots, even.

              I should note that we are also concerned about the vendor lock-in issue. In addition, the nature of our business requires multi-layer secured connections to a ton of customer sites; changing those over to a different provider is a massive undertaking. However, given the cost of scaling up our own data center operations -- and the risk of damage to customer equipment and our company if we screw it up -- we're accepting that risk.

      4. Aitor 1

        Re: What lunch?

        AWS makes sense for some companies.

        It does not for mine, yet they want to push it.. and we will end up paying four times as much to have less control of it.

      5. Arthur Daily

        Re: What lunch?

        Most companies out there see IT as being an unwanted stepchild that they, until now, had to care for.

        Well, the stupid ones might. For some business their data IS their only business. A Cloudtastrophie in the making.

        I don't see Walmart placing their sales and inventory online for Amazon to either dump, read, or somehow exploit. Lawyers can legitimize the data theft later. One believes Boeing placed their data in an online cloud, and the inability to hide smoking guns and internal emails - well not good. Tobacco and vaping purveyors probably truly know the risks.

        Down the line the IRS will be trolling not only the company, but probably their legal council communications that are neither private nor safe from internal trusted executives claiming a reward after their golden parachute.

        Thirdly remote access is a two sided coin. You are a fool if you believe the risk is low. As AWS usually keeps three copies of data, if you do a secure wipe - how long does that operation take to percolate over all backups and archived storage?

        Sure, some will go for the short term win. The cause of this data migration was caused by vendors charging unsubstainable inflated retail plus plus for a range of software must haves. AWS got a bulk purchase rate, and passed it on, until say MS pulled the pin - so the 'savings' have evaporated. While others not picking bespoke clouds with NO breakins or leaks or operating beyond the law VPN services.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Alternatively - "Don't go to AWS, let us lock you in instead". And, of course, "Microsoft let us down".

    3. tomjoyce64

      HPE really needs a totally new angle

      HPE still builds the best servers, and they have Aruba. That’s it. That’s their win. Just sell that. Tell that story and just that story, all day long: “If you’re gonna buy a computer and hook it to a network, here is why HPE is 100x better.” Then, shut the F Up. They’re done in storage and software and cloud. Greenlake, sure, fine, whatever, but that’s financing and PS. You’re an elite compute company. Go sell that.


      MAKE THEIR EXECS STOP SAYING STUPID $@&! like data has gravitational force, the world is hybrid, it’s all about the data, people go to cloud and come back cuz it sucks, data moves here and there, data is the heartbeat of your company, the edge the edge the edge. The cloud-can’t-reach-the-edge thing is total effing nonsense. These are the same dumbass marketing blurbs they were spitting out 10 years ago. HPE, you are going to wither and die if this and whining about AWS Microsoft and Cisco being mean is your story.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HPE really needs a totally new angle

        HPE might be more creditable if they believed in their own products themselves, but no, they've offloaded their IT functions to saleforce and mircosofts clouds.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hotel California is very apt

    I wonder how many companies who fall for the AWS (other cloud services are available) seduction story actually work out beforehand how much it will cost them to get all that lovely data out of AWS if it does not work for them?

    Or do the just soldier on with it and hope that it does not fail at the wrong time and cause the company to go TITSUP?

    My experience which is admittedly a bit long in the tooth now is that they don't. I did one such exercise shortly before I retired and presented it to the company. The shudder that went through their CFO when I told him put the kybosh on the whole thing.

    It is what the Cloud Salesdroid does not tell you that is important.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Hotel California is very apt

      It is what the Cloud Salesdroid does not tell you that is important.

      It's always what the salesdoid doesn't tell you which is important. Let's face it, in most walks of life if they told you the truth you'd walk out of the shop

    2. Gordon 10
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Hotel California is very apt

      But how is that different from every other software and hardware vendor under the sun?

      Nothing to see here move along. (YAWN)

      Vendor Lock in is a fact of life and pretty much universal, AWS's particular flavour isn't any different except maybe in terms of scale and vertical integration. Its not like MS or HPE are any less lock-ins.

      Paris - coz even she gets lock-ins are inevitable.

      1. fidodogbreath

        Re: Hotel California is very apt

        Vendor Lock in is a fact of life and pretty much universal

        It's not in vendors' interest to have us be able to easily change providers. I imagine clay tablet vendors used to tell the scribes that legibility and longevity were only guaranteed if they used the proprietary companion stylus.

    3. macjules

      Re: Hotel California is very apt

      Interesting question. One of the very first things I always have to consider when using a cloud service (PaaS or iPaas) is how we would get all the data off it and securely remove everything from that cloud provider should they breach SLA. With AWS this used to be very easy, but with storage retention policies that is becoming harder and harder.

      Then again with other cloud services (Salesforce, Sage etc) I should think that you are totally screwed if you think that you can remove your data from them securely, if at all.

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Hotel California is very apt

      Reading that reference to Hotel California upset me - am I now really that old that they felt the need to explain the premise of the song to a generation of readers that might not have heard it?

      Happy Christmas, and baaaah humbug to the lot of it!

    5. Skoorb

      Re: Hotel California is very apt

      I don't disagree, but this is what the implementations of The Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) and similar projects are all about (OpenStack etc). You don't build and deploy your IaaS / PaaS workload on AWS, or Azure, or whatever, you build it on OpenStack/OpenShift/OpenNebula etc, then deploy that where you want, whether that's in house, on AWS, on Azure, on IBM's cloud etc. It also makes it easier to move between cloud vendors and your own hardware.

      The problems start when people build directly on AWS/Azure, rather than using a vendor agnostic interface layer.

      I do admit this does nothing for SaaS though (Microsoft 365/Adobe and the rest).

  3. Alister

    the cloud is not democratising IT, nor is it an open environment, just the latest form of vendor lock-in.

    Well no shit, Sherlock. I don't think anyone who has used a public cloud offering can be unaware of this, can they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah - if you were to ask any IT Infrastructure person. Trouble is, the PHBs are the ones making the half-arsed decision to put everything in the cloud regardless of suitability.

      I was interviewed for a job that involved migrating everything to the cloud. The guy was interested in my opinion - so I asked him a simple question. How will your business cope with no access to its data or systems for a day? I pointed him to this fine website and told him to look at the outages that get reported. It was a great discussion and he went away with a some doubts and a few new ideas.

      The cloud has its place - but it has to be used in the right way for the right job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Spill the beans - did they offer you the job, and did you take it?

  4. a pressbutton

    If only

    ...HP had a section or subsidiary that specialised in analysis of large scale unstructured big data.

    If they had that they could really clean up

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only

      I'd pay £7.4 billion for that!

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: If only

        Buy it now and get $8.8billion* reduction!

        *vendor mail-in rebate. Terms and conditions apply. Not valid in Iowa.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only

      I like how you can savage HP and/or any of their acquisitions by just..well, mentioning them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only

        To be fair to HPE (it hurts, it hurts) you can pretty much do that to any big vendor.

        Take MS and (Skype or Nokia or Danger or ...)

        Although HP/E do seem bring their own special brand of incompetence to the party...

    3. a pressbutton

      What triggers my allergies...

      Something called ZANTAZ - an HP Autonomy offering - was inflicted on us a few years ago with $previous_employer

      "ZANTAZ Enterprise Archive Solution (EAS) is a highly scalable and flexible archiving platform that enables your organization to capture and preserve email messages, attachments, and files in a way that both optimizes storage and allows immediate access for discovery and review by courts, regulators, administrators, and end-users. Powered by IDOL, EAS automates the processing of enormous volumes of information, dynamically exposing the patterns, linkages and meaning within."

      The effect - typically speaking - was that when outlook was not frozen, it ran like a dog. It forcibly archived anything over a couple of months old and the attachments often got lost.

      When you tried to restore, it seems the special references often went missing

      When they stopped using it, _all_that_data_was_gone_

      Fortunately I worked out how to switch it off v. quickly.

      With the benefit of hindsight, why there was an exe on my laptop at all completely escapes me.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. a_yank_lurker

    Lock in

    What the idiot fails to realize is the reality of lock in. When you chose an OS you have lock in. When you chose various applications you have lock in. When you chose online services, again you have lock in. Now the issue is how severe is the lock in. Or as a question how easy would it be to migrate to different OS, application, service, etc.? If it is relatively easy then lock in is not a major issue. If there are significant hurdles (such as proprietary file formats) then lock in is a very real problem. So the question becomes not whether one gets locked in to AWS, you do but whether a competent person could migrate to another competitor relatively easily. Now remember one of the problems with any migration is not really lock in but the complexity of the system being migrated. Migrating a complex database (pick the one you like) is not a trivial undertaking even with the weakest lock in.

    My personal needs for online services are limited and migrating to another provider would be fairly straightforward as there is nothing complex about my situation. But it would be tedious because of the amount I would need to move. So inertia keeps me put which is a form of lock in; the competing services are not significantly better that it is worth the effort to move. Now I can imagine if someone has a large, complex database with a good bit of infrastructure migrating from or to AWS would be undertaking and it the ROI had better be there. So if you are on AWS or Azure you might not be tied to the service that tightly in a technical sense but in a commercial sense you might be tightly tied; it's just too bloody expensive to move without a compelling reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lock in - mostly agreed

      With the exception of the OS bit. I don’t think the OS is all that important (and nor should it be). Besides, it’s not like it’s the naughties anymore. There are no bad OSs anymore; just a lot of bad strategy floating around. Which brings me to AWS... If you’re locked into AWS, surely you are doing something wrong?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lock in

      It's just what degree of lock-in and loss of control you are ready to accept. Cloud, in many ways, is a total lock-in.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much X86 server market-share has HPE lost while Neri rose through the ranks?

    All this and much more - like splitting HP Inc into two - would be moot if Neri actually knew how to run a business .... Of course, why would he Meg?

  8. FrenchFries!

    It's called the Hotel California...

    Cos it's inexpensive to get your data in (ingress costs), and very expensive to get your data out (egress).

    AWS, Azure, etc., give you so, so, so many tools to get your data (unstructured, semi-structured, structured) IN but only a few to get your data OUT.

    HPE is just crying along with every other vendor because they are losing business to traditional CapEx revenue to the new norm of IT, OpEx. That's why we're seeing these vendors either attempt to beat 'em (better have a lot of cash on hand), or join 'em (because, eh, now that we're in the new Rome...).

  9. james7byrne

    He has a point

    Many services are only available in a particular cloud. For example code written for AWS lambda only works in AWS. You can't take lambda code and run it in Azure. You need to take some care when going to the cloud. If you run an application in AWS make sure you can do the same in Google and Azure. The more generic you make your environment the more portable it is. This is why many companies still use VMs because they can be run anywhere (AWS, Google, Azure, VMWare, Hyper-V, KVM, etc.). If you run a 'serverless' environment, like most cloud providers recommend, you will get locked in.

    1. Arthur Daily

      Re: He has a point

      The definition of a cloud used to be 'No lock-in' in the official govt tendering rulebook. You could more to another one in just like that. Vendors and CRM marketing droids have perverted that definition. The worst perversion is the 10 Year! deal awarded to Microsoft over AWS. It sure looks like hire-purchase or leaseback.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Cloud" (or to give it a more meaningful description)

    "anonymous server farms in unknown jurisdictions"

    Or as they used to call it back in the day a "Mainframe"*

    To mis quote Dune "He who controls the data controls the universe."

    *Because that's basically what it logically is.

    Amazon really is the IBM for the 21st century.


    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: "Cloud" (or to give it a more meaningful description)

      My reaction to this article was along the lines of "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Do bears crap in the woods?".

      Its kind of obvious that that there would be an element of vendor lock-in. But then you get it with any technology, including a legacy mainframe.

      Speaking for myself I find the concept of cloud useful but its a trade off -- convenience and cost trade for control. Common sense would say that you'd want to use a cloud provider judiciously but I feel that the typical bean counter only see the upside, they'll mandate going all in because of the extra costs of maintaining core business functions under their control, even if they're just a backup.

  11. werdsmith Silver badge

    Cloud if it’s done right and your infrastructure is significant enough doesn’t need to lock in, Take a processing resource and have it host your own VMs. on your own hypervisor in the cloud. You can move them in and out quite easily.

    In my experience, not much changes. Devs still work in dev and test. Ops still deploy and monitor applications. Network guys still tweak firewalls and vlans. Sysadmins still empire build. DBAs still rebuild indexes and complain about poorly written SQL. First line still support end users. The only thing missing is the racking of new kit and the hot swapping out of failed spindles - and data centre cabling and who wants to do that for the rest of their working lives? Still plenty of on premise switches and cables to keep those folk happy.

  12. BigAndos

    My company is busy migrating from on premise to Google cloud. They keep telling us about how we aren't locked in and how easy it is to move to another vendor. Anyone with any technical knowledge at all can tell us there is de facto lock in however easy they claim to make it.

    Sure you can run a docker image on any cloud, but the scripting to build, deploy and manage that image will vary between cloud providers. Plumbing like setting up VPNs / interconnects all take time and money and will have to be redone if you move providers. Potentially you end up paying for and managing multiple interconnects while you do a phased migration. Anything you do with a data service like BigQuery probably has to be thrown anyway and redesigned from scratch if you move to another cloud's services.

    Of course if you deployed on premise you still have the same issues, once you have invested time and effort into making one product or service work there is ALWAYS a cost in moving to another one even if old and new both sit in your own data centre. At least with cloud you haven't had to spend out on hardware and licenses up front.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I’ve seen it done, not just moving the VPNs and Connectivity for the business, but also for dozens of customers too. It is a bit of an effort but it’s a long way from lock in.

  13. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Welcome to the new mainframe.

    Hybrid cloud vendors are starting to point out that moving your IT workloads into AWS is pretty much like moving them into the old mainframe data center. One big dominant vendor who doesn't care about anyone but themselves. You have to use their tools and you have zero leverage with them, and very little interoperability with other vendors unless you layer it on from the outside. Welcome to the new mainframe.

  14. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Do we really want another monopoly?

    After living through decades of IBM and then decades of Microsoft, do we really want a third monopoly era, this time of AWS? Anyone in charge of IT at their organization would be foolish to trust their computing to Amazon. I'm not saying don't use cloud; I'm saying don't use Amazon.

  15. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Gonna take HPE's side here.

    Gonna take HPE's side here. AWS is now the big behemoth that IBM was in the late 20th Century, and that Microsoft was around the turn of the century. It isn't good to feed a monopoly. AWS needs to be taken down a few pegs, maybe more than a few pegs.

  16. luis river


    Which one heart question, it is principally?...Firts, you see, accept and understand in deep what our most precious value is the ownership of “sensible data”.... and second, you work it shall be protect of outside eyes? And also we shall be consider what it can made “genuine advantage”and transform our organization in one most competitive world business player. The ownership of “sensible data” empowered to owner to superior competitive level Moreover, I launch to air one question? Should us sacrifice confidential-critical data on external partner or on strange hands, simply by important saved operational cost... it don´t seem hasty-imprudent? and it can bring fatal result. ? Moreover I ask.... Is you completely aware of this?

    A lot of world people, ignore or look down on the great value of “sensible data” without consider their importance.

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