LAS VEGAS–For Hewlett-Packard, it seems, breaking up really isn’t that hard to do after all.
First of all, it’s actually happening. The new Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and the consumer PC and printer company HP Inc. are going to be operationally separated on Aug. 1, right on schedule, officials said this week at the HP Discover 2015 conference. The legal separation will occur Nov. 1.
It’s going to be the end of an era, not only for a venerable Silicon Valley company, but also for customers who can no longer ignore the benefits cloud computing can bring to their businesses and who must adapt their IT infrastructures to take advantage of those opportunities.
The new Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is in a unique position to meet those needs. Not only does it have the products and services to help companies make that transition, the split-up of HP itself has given the company first-hand experience to enable customers to “start the journey with HP”—a common refrain here this week. The split is not only the right move for HP, but it’s also happening at the right time for company and its customers.
HP has accomplished a lot getting to this point. It has had to deal with separating 2,800 applications and 75,000 APIs among 300,000 employees while consolidating data centers and network infrastructure, according to John Hinshaw, HP’s executive vice president of technology and operations. The company plans to publish documentation about the separation from an IT operations perspective once everything is complete, Hinshaw said, pointing to the current trend of businesses splitting up or consolidating.
What HP has learned is that cloud infrastructure and consolidation works. “If you are on the journey to consolidate, I would accelerate that,” said Hinshaw, pointing to the benefits the process has brought to HP by transforming to a hybrid infrastructure. “We learned a lot about DevOps along the way,” he said.
The result has been, or will be, a successful separation, but the real benefits of the split are opportunities now available for the new HP Enterprise and its customers.
The split hasn’t been without some pain, though. There have been thousands of layoffs and a lot of long hours and weekends for those doing the actual work of separation. But even while HP has been occupied with the separation, it has been laying out and executing on a strategy formed around a transformation to hybrid computing, enterprise security, the data-driven organization and workplace productivity.
HP has made three key acquisitions since February to help deliver on that strategy, strengthening networking, with Aruba and ConteXtream, and security, with Voltage Security.
HP Split Teaches Valuable Lessons About IT Consolidation in the Cloud
Last September’s acquisition of Eucalyptus also will figure into HP Enterprise’s hybrid strategy with the ability to integrate with applications hosted on Amazon Web Services.
In addition, the expensive 2010 acquisition of 3Par storage appears ready to start paying off. Customers are getting lured in by the price point of $1.50 per usable gigabyte for the all-flash arrays and sticking around for the performance.
SOCAN, a music licensing clearinghouse in Canada, dumped its EMC VNX late last year for a HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 flash array, said Trevor Jackson, director of IT infrastructure and architecture at SOCAN. “We have been using it six months in production, and it’s been very positive for us,” he said. “Workloads have shown dramatic improvement. IOPS and response time are a non-issue.”
CEO Meg Whitman even got to announce a cool five-year deal with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox studios to provide the “digital experience” for the three sequels in the Avatar movie franchise, with the first planned for release in December 2017.
A final point is that HP obviously has been listening to its customers. “We are the bridge from the traditional to the new,” Whitman said, echoing the theme EMC executives talked about a few weeks ago in the very same Sands Convention Center location. “A bridge from where IT is today to where it needs to be.”
That sentiment is reflected in a recent Forrester study that shows that the top drivers of hosted private cloud adopters are “improved IT infrastructure manageability and flexibility (81 percent) and on-demand capacity and scalability (78 percent).
“We are already doing now what we are doing after the split,” said Roy Ritthaler, vice president, product marketing, IT operations management, HP Software. “Meg said this kind of focus is what the company needs to take the customer to the next level. We are already executing on that.”
And I would add, to take Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to the next level. All this does not mean that the future is bright and sunny for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, but they are on the right track.
Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise, While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.