HPE moves further into the hybrid cloud space, ramps up ‘innovative enterprise’ strategy

There is a major vendor cloud conference taking place this week. No, not that one: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has moved lock, stock and barrel to Spain this week for its Discover 2018 Madrid Conference, and taken the opportunity to update its product roadmap and strategy with it.

First up, the products. HPE has launched Composable Cloud, aimed squarely at workloads for both private and hybrid cloud environments. The overall focus was to unveil ‘the next phase of HPE’s composable strategy’ – in other words, putting together on-premise hardware, software and cloud into a single server platform.

The composable cloud has two strands; for customers of ProLiant DL servers, HPE’s rack-based server, and for customers of infrastructure platform Synergy. The ‘open hybrid cloud platform’ – open as in being available to provision more than one cloud provider – promises greater scalability, 90% faster deployment of new configurations, and a 97% decrease in time for lifecycle operations. As has to be the way today, Composable Cloud for ProLiant DL can also make use of HPE’s InfoSight software – ‘AI for the data centre’ as the company puts it – to offer predictive analytics and continuous learning.

Speaking of InfoSight, HPE also unveiled new machine learning capabilities for the tool, including an AI-driven resource planner, as well as the ability to self-diagnose performance issues. This has been extended to purely on-prem environments, or those with restricted access to the cloud.

Other announcements as part of a more general product tune-up included the expansion of multi-cloud storage service HPE Cloud Volumes to the UK and Ireland, HPE Memory-Driven Flash, an enterprise storage offering, and renewal of vows with hyperconverged storage provider Cohesity focused around hybrid cloud consolidation.

HPE’s strong position when it comes to both cloud and traditional IT infrastructure equipment – servers, routers, switches and so forth – remains, with the company competing at the top end with Cisco, Dell EMC, and Microsoft. It is upon these foundations that the company is targeting a more holistic approach looking at public, private, and hybrid cloud.

Alongside other vendors in its position, HPE is focusing on what CEO Antonio Neri calls the ‘innovative enterprise.’ Essentially, it is just a question of semantics: SAP, for instance, prefers to call it the ‘intelligent enterprise.’ Yet the concept is the same, focusing on the full enterprise digital transformation journey; connecting and making the most of data garnered from edge to cloud, sprinkled with a smattering of AI and machine learning, among other emerging technologies.

The company has spent the past 15 months beefing up its cloudy knowledge. HPE’s consultancy unit, Pointnext, has welcomed both Cloud Technology Partners, an AWS specialist, and RedPixie, an Azure house, to its bosom. In an editorial post outlining the company’s strategy to be a partner for the ‘edge-centric, cloud-enabled, data-driven enterprise of the future’, Neri noted that 90% of cloud projects which don’t involve advisory and professional services fail.

In June, HPE outlined a $4 billion investment over four years to define the ‘intelligent edge’, a term also favoured by Microsoft. While specific details were thin on the ground at the time, the announcement represented a statement of sorts, and Neri used the editorial to add more context.

“Today, 75% of data is created at the edge, but 94% of that data is untapped or lost,” Neri wrote. “This data waste is a missed opportunity and lost value. HPE knows the value of data and the insight it can give us, and that’s why we have announced our commitment to invest $4bn in the intelligent edge over the next four years.

“We’ve started at the edge because it is increasingly here that business – and life – takes place,” Neri added. “The edge Is all about using technology and data to redefine the experiences and business outcomes you deliver to your end customers, making them more satisfied and loyal. For your employees, the edge helps them to be more productive and engaged, whether they are in an office, oil rig, or university.”

Ultimately, despite the different buzzwords and the eye-catching investments, vendors are all pulling in the same direction – in some cases after dragging their feet – and recognising a data-driven future, as well as the tough road ahead for enterprise digital transformation. “We believe that the cloud experience should be open and seamless across all your clouds, public, private, on-premise and off-premise,” added Neri. “Further, we believe the best cloud partner is one who is unbiased and without an agenda.

“At HPE, the cloud is an experience, not a destination. It is by engaging edge to cloud that new opportunities can be created.”

You can find out more about HPE’s Discover announcements here.

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