LAS VEGAS—This year’s Discover 2016 conference (June 7-9) got a lot more interesting as a result of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s announcement last month of a deal to spin out its Enterprise Services division to Computer Sciences Corp., creating a new services company.
The deal cut the size of HPE by about another third, after its split in November with HP Inc. that cut the once-giant consumer and enterprise technology company in half. There still is plenty left, with the remaining enterprise group generating some $33 billion in revenue, placing it among the leaders in the server, storage, networking and software markets.
That Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) deal led to speculation that another deal was imminent. Was HPE setting itself up to divest further, add more pieces or stand pat? HPE officials weren’t talking about it and, instead, told the 10,000 attendees at the conference about ways they could further modernize their business with HPE’s current lineup, with the help of a few key partnerships.
Things on the Edge
HPE waited until Day 2 to its most significant news—the creation of a new category that it is calling the Converged IoT System, with two new products, the Edgeline EL 1000 and EL4000 servers. They are a joint product between HPE’s server and Aruba wireless and security technology groups, and National Instruments, maker of PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation)-based data acquisition and control cards.
The units are ruggedized and designed to sit with devices out in the field, factories or remote areas. The servers can go up to 16 and 64 Xeon cores, respectively; up to 15TB of storage; and include apps such as HPE’s Vertica analytics platform and PTC’s ThingWorx augmented-reality apps. HPE is also partnering with GE and other operational technology (OT) vendors. The initiative includes services and four new IoT Innovation Labs in the United States, France, India and Singapore.
The Edgeline idea is trying to flip the current model of IoT, which currently puts sensors on the edge and all the compute in the data center or cloud. As Dr. Tom Bradicich, HPE’s vice president and general manager for servers and IoT systems, puts it, Edgeline brings the data center “to the other off-premise—the edge. This is a fundamental shift of how to manage data in IoT, engineered for the edge, where the thing is.”
With the new products, HPE aims to capitalize on the fact that much of what IoT is these days is still more of a concept than a reality and is lacking in true IT infrastructure solutions. The technology to capture much of the value from IoT either doesn’t exist or lies in far-flung industries. HPE is attempting to bridge those gaps.
HPE also had news around cloud architectures and converged systems, including its so-called composable infrastructure. The company extended its OneView program to manage software-defined infrastructure across HPE’s products, including cloud-based environments. This arrangement gives users the ability to “compose,” consume and reuse their own instances of compute, storage and networking from a pool of available resources.
Complementing that is an upgraded set of cloud solutions. The Helion Cloud Suite is a new cloud software bundle that includes Stackato 4.0, a platform as a service (PaaS) based on Cloud Foundry, and Helion OpenStack 3.0. That software also comes integrated with HPE Proliant 380 or Synergy servers as Helion Cloudsystem 10.
HPE Focuses on Future as It Leads Customers to Digital Transformation
Completing the cloud picture is the deal with container company Docker Inc. to bundle the Docker engine and other products on HPE servers, with service and support supplied by Docker Inc. The deal clearly is a boon for Docker because it puts the container technology into the hands of many more enterprise users than it currently can.
For HPE customers, the deal expands the availability of cloud native technologies that they can run in their own data centers and experience the benefits of cloud architectures, agility and DevOps without giving up control of the environment to a cloud provider.
HPE is telling customers that the day of the pure-play IT vendor is over, or is about to be. Things are too complex to buy best of breed and hope to get it all to work.
“This is a new era of the integration of the stack,” said Manish Goel, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage. “Leaders will be those who can bring tech competency in each layer and put it together. EMC and Dell are combining because they recognize the same thing. Cisco doesn’t have the storage, and IBM is exiting hardware and going up-stack. The next generation in innovation is at the full stack.”
That remains to be seen. The integrated stacks, hyperconverged servers and cloud-in-a-box strategies are not unique to HPE. Customers will still have a lot to choose from. For HPE, like the other large enterprise vendors, such as Oracle, SAP and Dell/EMC, keeping current customers won’t be the big problem. It’s finding new ones—those who want to modernize but want to avoid the public cloud. There may not be enough of those to go around.
Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. 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.