As promised, Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Tuesday revealed details of its new partnership with Microsoft to become a “preferred partner” selling Microsoft’s cloud, Azure.
As we previously reported, this partnership is a cornerstone of HPE’s plans to keep itself in the all-important cloud computing game now that it decided to shutter its public cloud computing business and not compete head-on with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM.
There’s just one problem: HPE doesn’t really appear to be getting any special treatment with this deal. It is extremely similar to the same deal Microsoft cut with HPE’s arch competitor, Dell, back in October.
On Tuesday, HPE spelled out the details of the new, three-year cloud partnership:
HPE will be selling a type of computer known as an “appliance” which allows companies to quickly roll out Windows or Linux software servers in their data centers, while also running apps or storing data on Microsoft’s cloud Azure. HP calls the appliance the HPE Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard. (Dell is also selling an Azure cloud appliance.)
HPE is also selling Microsoft’s other cloud services, like Office 365. (So is Dell.)
HPE will also sell software that helps companies manager all their data center servers and all the servers in the Azure cloud from one management console. It will also manage any servers they use in other clouds such as Amazon Web Services.
HPE will also sell Azure cloud consulting services, and will train 5,000 people from its consulting unit to become experts with Microsoft Azure technology. (Dell is also providing Azure consulting services.)
HPE does sound like it will be investing more into co-development work, though. HPE is going to build what it calls “HPE Azure Centers of Excellence” in Palo Alto, Calif. and Houston, Texas, where teams will jointly work on the combined HPE/Microsoft cloud products.
The new cloud partnership was announced at HPE’s Discover tech conference taking place in London this week, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appearing on stage to do an interview via a video conference feed. (Nadella also appeared at Dell’s tech conference in October.)