Discover 2017 in Madrid ended last Friday, and was a great opportunity for HPE to provide customers and partners with its showcase of current and future technology trends. The company may have downsized over the last year, but losing areas like some of the Enterprise Services and Software portfolio seems to be about focusing their offering and increasing agility. And that was Discover in a nutshell: focused.
In this blog we wanted to highlight some of the key takeaways from the event that clearly show that glimpse of the future.
Discover 2017 offered a chance for Meg Whitman to hand over the reins, as CEO, to Antonio Neri. His performance at the event was always going to be under scrutiny as employees, partners and investors were keen to get an early feel for what he will bring and how he will differ from Meg. First signs are that he offers a wealth of experience from over 22 years with the company across many varied roles. The key apparent difference between Antonio and Meg, is that her knowledge comes from developing successful businesses and from the boardroom; Antonio has a deep and wide technical background and is able to focus on what the company wants to do with some real insight from a technology point of view.
Over the last year, Project New Stack has been evolving, developing and has now transformed into a brand-new product, HPE OneSphere, which was launched at HPE Discover Madrid. It's designed to be the one stop shop for managing multi-cloud environments. At face value, it looks great – single pane of glass into your on-premise infrastructure, cloud workloads, all the costs in one place, departmental separation through projects, ease of deployment, as well as the ability to dynamically scale workloads. The reality is that due to OneSphere being released as a minimum viable product (similar to when OneView was launched); a lot of the detail and full feature capability will come in future iterations and updates. But that considered, the initial signs look good, a work in progress.
It is something of a metaphor for the company itself. They have the vision of where they are going and are working towards that with a laser-guided focus. However, customers, partners, and investors are being asked to bear with them and trust in the outcome as they fill in the gaps and add layers of value.
One area of the hybrid portfolio that is clear is how much Infosight is offering to the business. HPE purchased Nimble in April 2017, largely to get their hands on the Infosight analytics platform which allows users to predict infrastructure and storage issues before they happen. Nimble have already proved it works, 86% of support issues are resolved automatically before the need for intervention; they have no first or second line support engineers and are able to offer 6 x 9's of availability – something HPE are going to want to integrate across their platform. The first product to get the 'Infosight' treatment is 3PAR, with the software due to be released in January to support this platform and add further depth and analysis to your environment. Further detail on this will follow in due course.
HPE's push to offer services in the most partner- and customer-friendly way possible has been centered around the HPE Pointnext initiative (formerly Technology Services/Support Services). Although the brand may have changed they've not stopped innovating to develop the support services they offer. At Discover they had a significant announcement around consumption models that will change how customers consume IT in a way that no other company has tried before.
HPE GreenLake was released from under NDA late last month and was one of the dominant features as you entered the main hall. It featured heavily in the General Session on the first day and is clearly the direction that HPE want to move in for consumption based models that are pre-configured for customer requirements. It's an interesting proposition and the whole portfolio builds on what was originally available as HPE Flexible Capacity. This too though has had a revamp and has been released in a new guise as HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity, offering pay-per-use infrastructure which can be consumed on demand. The intricacies of how this works in practice is still being worked through so we expect to be able to publish more on this front in the weeks to come. In addition to HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity there are also five outcome based consumption models, focused around Backup, Big Data, Edge Compute and Databases with EDB Postgres and SAP HANA. Each solution from HPE GreenLake also comes with a design and professional services option to further help with the design and integration into your environment.
It's been two years since HPE acquired Aruba and the acquisition has gone from strength to strength, with EMEA growth of over 30% in EMEA, in the last year. Aruba is one of the key parts of HPE's strategy to deliver the Intelligent Edge; it combines their Edgeline portfolio of edge compute and storage infrastructure as well as their security and management software - a complete portfolio to power the Intelligent Edge. We think this will be an important part of the future landscape; as more and more things are connected, the need to provide real-time control of devices as well as pre-processing of data before transmission back to cloud will be huge.
Mobile first is a mantra that has been adopted within HPE. On stage during the General Session, Keerti Melkote (General Manager and VP of Aruba) discussed how they have embraced the Intelligent Edge to develop a modern, open and collaborative workplace that also helps them attract and retain employees. They have used it to reduce costs in putting physical cables to everyone's desk (in fact there are no desks); they use open spaces to create an environment that is all encompassing. Using location-based services they have also been able to install things like smart lighting, to reduce costs on power consumption – an investment in the Intelligent Edge actually starts to pay for itself.
There wasn't anything in the way of big product releases - Aruba usually saves that for Atmosphere - however there was a lot of detail on how HPE Aruba can help customers deliver on the promise of IoT through the 'Intelligent Edge'. It was interesting to hear that Forbes rate HPE highly in this area, describing them as 'the quiet giant of IoT'.
HPE Next is a major corporate structural change designed to make HPE less bloated, more agile and easier to do business with for both customers and partners.
One major change from the HPE Next initiative is the collapsing of regions. This means that decisions and directives will not go through the three global regions but will be made at the local country level. This may seem a small detail but it could be a big long-term bonus for Softcat, our customers and partners. It means that—as a Platinum Partner of HPE, and HPE's first ever UKI Partner of the Year in 2016—we will be dealing with the UK team at HPE directly. This should make it easier for us to work more closely with the people at HPE who understand the needs and challenges of customers in the UK.
Much of what was shown in Madrid is the start of what is to continue. HPE is focused on Hybrid, focused on the Intelligent Edge and focused on Services – the detail that underpins each of these will come through over the next few months. For now, we need to trust in their judgement and wait on further big reveals. If you'd like to discuss this with us please get in touch with your account manager or send us a message using the button below.
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