During the conference call, Whitman stressed that HPE isn't giving up on software. While the company is spinning out its application software business, it is keeping its systems software, such as OneView, StoreVirtual and Helion. Data centers will continue to move to software-defined environments, which will make such offerings important. In addition, systems software is critical to such areas as converged, hyperconverged and composable infrastructures.
In a research note, Molly Gallaher Boddy, research analyst with Technology Business Research, wrote that HPE's decision to move much of its software—while keeping other software assets—"will help the company to further narrow its focus on hardware and converged systems. In moving its non-core assets to a new company, HPE will free up resources to drive its hyperconverged and software-defined businesses, with remaining software assets primarily used to enable these infrastructure-focused solutions."
In a nod to HPE's continued focus on system software, Whitman also pointed to a partnership that will tap SUSE as the company's preferred Linux partner. The combination of HPE's Helion OpenStack and Stackato offering with SUSE's OpenStack capabilities will push forward the company's capabilities in hybrid clouds.
The CEO got some pushback from several financial analysts during the conference call, with questions about HPE shrinking from a $50 billion company immediately after breakup to a $28 billion organization now and whether continuing to parcel out pieces of the company is a sustainable strategy against the likes of Dell and Cisco Systems. Whitman argued that HPE is becoming a more focused, agile and innovative company that is centered around its Enterprise Group, while Dell is burdening itself by taking on another large, old-tech company. For its part, Cisco lacks a component—storage—that is key to developing a complete infrastructure portfolio.