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hpe-helion-logoHewlett Packard Enterprise, a cloud, server and storage company that split from Hewlett Packard in late 2015, laid off an undisclosed number of employees today in North America.

HPE spokeswoman Meghan Fintland acknowledged in an email that “previously announced restructuring changes took place today,” including “workforce changes that are part of a company-wide strategy to give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer and partner-centric company.”

A source with knowledge of the situation speculated this morning that the Seattle offices might be closed. But Fintland said that “HPE will not be shutting its Seattle offices” and didn’t respond immediately to a request for more details on the layoffs.

Several HPE employees posted about the layoffs today on Twitter. Here’s a tweet from Vicky Brasseur, a senior engineering manager for HPE based out of Portland:

Among those laid off were many on the team producing Stackato, a service that lets developers create applications that run on private, hybrid or public clouds, the source said. Stackato is in the process of being sold to SUSE, a German Linux-distribution provider owned by Micro Focus International, under an agreement made last month.

The Stackato team had about 130 people in North America and Europe, roughly 50 of whom were located in Seattle. Of the 130, a source tells GeekWire that at least 65 people are losing their jobs, possibly as many as 100.

The moves suggest HPE has stumbled as it seeks to find its place in the cloud-driven world dominated by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Earlier this year, HPE pulled the plug on its HP Helion Public Cloud.

Seattle is Ground Zero for cloud computing, home to market leader AWS and runner-up Azure, and the competition for cloud business is rough, with high financial and engineering barriers to entry.

Bill Hilf of Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Bill Hilf of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Indications of trouble with HPE’s Seattle-based cloud operations have been building for some time. In August, long-time Seattleite and former Microsoft general manager Bill Hilf, senior VP and general manage of HPE Cloud, left the company “to pursue other opportunities.” The Helion OpenStack and Helion CloudSystem teams were to be moved to the Enterprise Group, where they were to become part of the newly created Software-Defined & Cloud Group, led by Ric Lewis, according to a blog post. Mark Interrante was to lead the team. Hilf didn’t respond to a request for comment today.

The source said that Helion was broken up in August, though a small contingent remains in Seattle dealing with hardware. In all, HPE had a total of more than 200 people in the greater Seattle area at one time, the source said.

Stackato is part of Helion. Now at version 4.0, it supports developing applications Java, Python, Ruby, Go, Node.js, Scala, Clojure, and Perl, as well as popular database and messaging technologies such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, Memcached, and RabbitMQ, according to HPE’s website. It uses the open-source CloudFoundry technology, as well as container technology from Docker.

HPE and SUSE deepened their relationship in September when HPE named SUSE as its preferred Linux distribution partner.

SUSE’s parent company, Micro Focus at that time announced it would merge with HPE’s Software Business segment in a transaction valued at about $8.8 billion.

“We will bring together HPEs’ Helion OpenStack and Stackato solutions with SUSE’s OpenStack expertise to provide best-in-class, enterprise-grade hybrid cloud offerings for HPE customers,” HPE CEO Meg Whitman said in a recent earnings call, according to Channel e2e.

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