Tuesday, December 8, 2015

HPE's composable infrastructure sets stage for hybrid market brokering role

Making a global splash at its first major event since becoming its own company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) last week positioned itself as a new kind of market maker in enterprise infrastructure, cloud, and business transformation technology.

By emphasizing choice and adaptation in hybrid and composable IT infrastructure, HPE is betting that global businesses will be seeking, over the long term, a balanced and trusted partner -- rather than a single destination or fleeting proscribed cloud model.

HPE is also betting that a competitive and still-undefined smorgasbord of cloud, mobile, data, and API service providers will vie to gain the attention of enterprises across both vertical industries and global regions. HPE can exploit these dynamic markets -- rather than be restrained by them -- by becoming a powerful advocate for enterprises sorting out the complexity of transformation across hybrid, mobile, security, and data analysis shifts.

"The most powerful weapons of competition are now software, data, and algorithms," said Peter Ryan, HPE Senior Vice President and Managing Director for EMEA. "Time to value is your biggest enemy and your biggest opportunity."

HPE led off its announcements at HPE Discover in London with a new product designed to run both traditional and cloud-native applications for organizations seeking the benefits of running a "composable" hybrid infrastructure. [Disclosure: HPE is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Time to value is your biggest enemy and your biggest opportunity.

Based on new architecture, HPE Synergy leverages fluid resource pools, software-defined intelligence, and a unified API to provide the foundation for organizations to continually optimize the right mix of traditional IT and private cloud resources. HPE also announced new partnerships with Microsoft around cloud computing and Zerto for disaster recovery.

HPE Synergy leverages a new architectural approach called Composable Infrastructure, hailed as HPE's biggest debut in a decade. In addition to nourishing dynamic IT service markets and fostering choice, HPE is emphasizing the need to move beyond manual processes for making disparate hybrid services operating well together.

The next step for businesses is to "automate and orchestrate across all of enterprise IT," said Antonio Neri, HPE Executive Vice President and General Manager of the company's Enterprise Group, to the 17,000 attendees.

"Market data clearly shows that a hybrid combination of traditional IT and private clouds will dominate the market over the next five years," said Neri. "With HPE Synergy, IT can deliver infrastructure as code and give businesses a cloud experience in their data center."

Composable choice for all apps

Composable Infrastructure via unified APIs allows IT to converge and virtualize assets while leveraging hybrid models, he said. Both developers and IT operators need to access all their resources rapidly and quickly automate their use.

HPE is striving to strike the right balance between the ability to use hybrid models and access legacy resources, while recognizing that the market will continue to rapidly advance and differ widely from region to region. It's a wise brokering role to assume, given the level of confusion and concern among IT leaders.

"What's the right formula for services at the right price with the right SLAs? It's still a work in progress," I told Trevor Jones at SearchCloudComputing at TechTarget just after the conference.
Cloud brokers can pick and choose the right requirements at the right price for their customers, so there will be a market for those services.

Indeed, HPE will offer a cloud brokerage service in early 2016 for hybrid IT management. HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker leverages existing HP orchestration, automation, and operations software, and builds a self-service portal, monitoring dashboards and reports to better support on-premises offerings from VMware and public clouds and #PaaS from Microsoft, Amazon, and others. The service will be available sometime in 2016.

"Cloud brokers can pick and choose the right requirements at the right price for their customers, so there will be a market for those services," I told TechTarget. "I look at it like the systems integrator of cloud computing."

And brokers factor into cloud choice and hybrid choice decisions such variables as jurisdiction, industry verticals, types of workloads and mobile devices. Rather than dictate to enterprise architects what "parts" or services to use, HPE is focusing on the management and repeatability of the services that specific application sets require -- even as that changes over time.

For example, as the interest in software containers grows, HPE will automate their use. New HPE ContainerOS solves two major problems with containers -- security and manageability, said HPE CTO Martin Fink. "Ops can now fall in love with containers just as much as developers," he told the conference audience, adding that virtual machines alone are "highly inefficient."

IoT gets a new edge

In yet another IT area that enterprises need to quickly adjust to, the Internet of Things (IoT), HPE has developed a flexible solution approach. HPE Edgeline servers, part of an Intel partnership, sit at the edge of networks.

"What will make IoT work for business is not devices. It's infrastructure you build to support it," said Robert Youngjohns, Executive Vice President and General Manager, HPE Enterprise Group.

Microsoft partnership

HPE and Microsoft announced new innovation in hybrid cloud computing through Microsoft Azure, HPE infrastructure and services, and new program offerings. The extended partnership appoints Microsoft Azure as a preferred public cloud partner for HPE customers while HPE will serve as a preferred partner in providing infrastructure and services for Microsoft's hybrid-cloud offerings.

The partnering companies will collaborate across engineering and services to integrate innovative compute platforms that help customers optimize their IT environment, leverage new consumption models, and accelerate their business.
As part of the expanded partnership, HPE will enable Azure consumption and services on every HPE server, which allows customers to rapidly realize the benefits of hybrid cloud.

To simplify the delivery of infrastructure to developers, HPE Synergy, for example, has a powerful unified API and a growing ecosystem of partners like Arista, Capgemini, Chef, Docker, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and VMware. The unified API provides a single interface to discover, search, provision, update, and diagnose the Composable Infrastructure required to test, develop, and run code. With a single line of code, HPE's innovative Composable API can fully describe and provision the infrastructure that is required for applications, eliminating weeks of time-consuming scripting.

HPE and Microsoft are also introducing the first hyper-converged system with true hybrid-cloud capabilities, the HPE Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard. Bringing together industry leading HPE ProLiant technology and Microsoft Azure innovation, the jointly engineered solution brings Azure services to customers' data centers, empowering users to choose where and how they want to leverage the cloud. An Azure management portal enables business users to self-deploy Windows and Linux workloads, while ensuring IT has central oversight.

Building on the success of HPE Quality Center and HPE LoadRunner on the Azure Marketplace, HPE and Microsoft will work together to make select HPE industry-leading application lifecycle management, big-data, and security software products available on the Azure Public Cloud.

HPE also plans to certify an additional 5,000 Azure Cloud Architects through its Global Services Practice. This will extend its Enterprise Services offerings to bring customers an open, agile, more secure hybrid cloud that integrates with Azure.

Disaster recovery with Zerto

Zerto, disaster recovery provider in virtualized and cloud environments, has achieved the gold partnership status with HPE.

The first deliverable out of the partnership is the Zerto Automated Failover Testing Pack. This is the first of several packs which will simplify BC/DR automation using HPE Operations Orchestration (HPE OO) as the master orchestrator. The new automation failover testing capabilities for HPE OO increases IT data center time savings, while improving overall disaster recovery testing compliance.
Failover tests can now run nightly versus annually, providing compliance coverage for customers operating in highly regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare.

While Zerto Automated Failover Testing Pack automatically runs failover tests in full virtual-machine environments, other automated processes eliminate the need to cross check multi-department failover success thereby increasing efficiency and productivity for IT teams.

With Zerto Automated Failover Testing Pack, users now simply schedule the failover test in HPE OO. The test runs autonomously and sends a report showing it was a successful test. Failover tests can now run nightly versus annually, providing compliance coverage for customers operating in highly regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare.

With HPE recognizing that global businesses are seeking a long-term, balanced and trusted partner -- rather than a single destination or fleeting proscribed cloud model -- the 75-year-old company has elevated itself above the cloud fray.

"Real transformation is hard, but it can have amazing benefits," HPE CEO Meg Whitman told the conference.

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