The technology industry moves at a blistering pace. New shining stars of innovation emerge constantly. And leaders that once dominated the market landscape can quickly get pushed to the wayside.
If HPE Discover 2019 showed me anything, it is that HPE will not be pushed around or aside. The company that has long claimed to be built on innovation has found its footing. HPE Discover 2019 was HPE’s message to the IT industry that the innovation has never stopped.
HPE Discover featured so many game changing announcements, you almost have to wonder if they were saving them up for this one event. Here are just some of the heavy hitters:
- HPE Primera: A new mission-critical storage system, built on 3PAR, Nimble, and InfoSight technology. And that last piece is important because HPE is offering Primera with a 100% availability guarantee. This announcement was rewarded with a hefty amount of impromptu applause at the keynote. This is a game changer. No longer is IT left to wonder, is it five 9s, 6 9s, how do they measure the 9s? We can all stop counting 9s now. HPE is saying it’s 100%. That alone is a powerful statement, but here is the kicker: If you encounter downtime, HPE will give you a credit based on the severity of the outage. Now, I spoke with some naysayers at the show who mentioned that it is only up to 20% of the price of the system. (By the way, I am sure there was no way HPE legal was letting this through without a limit.) My response is that the amount you receive is less important. What is important is that every engineer from the most entry level employee to the most senior VP knows that if Primera has an issue, HPE loses essentially all the profit for the deal, and if a systemic issue arises, the hit to the bottom line could be huge. People respond differently when they have “skin in the game.” HPE is addressing the risk of IT, by making its own employees feel that same risk as well.
- All HPE products will be available as a subscription by 2022. Wow, the power here is in the breadth of this statement. I am sick of different solutions offering different experiences, different options. IT is too big and too confusing already, so don’t make it harder. HPE is driving for one experience. You no longer have to worry about which products are available as a subscription. HPE Greenlake is already gaining traction, but it isn’t a difficult argument to get finance to commit to pay for one part of IT (the storage) as subscription, while the rest is on a CapEx model. With the entire portfolio available as a subscription (you will still be able to buy the old way), businesses can more freely commit to a subscription purchase model, making the benefits of these programs more accessible.
- HPE’s True Hybrid Cloud, Google Anthos with HPE Cloud Volumes: HPE’s Cloud Volumes has met its killer app with Google Anthos. I am already a big fan of Anthos, you can read about it here. Google Anthos needs a smart, powerful hybrid cloud storage layer though to get the maximum benefit. Container environments are more likely to move apps across infrastructure, even multi-cloud infrastructure. HPE Cloud Volumes, built of Nimble technology, integrates easily with Nimble on premises. Also, since HPE Cloud volumes is HPE’s Cloud Storage, there is no egress charges. With Google Anthos support for multi-cloud infrastructure, container-based environments will have the freedom to move cross cloud with minimal impact and more importantly, minimal costs.
- Nimble dHCI: Speaking of Nimble, HPE also announced Nimble dHCI. The “d” is for disaggregated. This idea is that Nimble with HPE ProLiant servers (even your existing servers) gives you’re the automation and control that we have come to love with HCI environments, while keeping the hardware separate. This separation allows for more granular and more efficient scalability than typically available with traditional HCI. While I am optimistic about these types of solutions, it is curious that this is a new product. Why not just make HCI level automation available to all Nimble? HPE may be testing the waters first, but I could see this management model quickly becoming a standard across midrange environments.
- Global Intelligence: InfoSight is going everywhere. HPE announced InfoSight on SimpliVity, and it is also on Primera, and Nimble, and Proliant servers. Very quickly HPE customers will have predictive analytics and preventive maintenance and support across everything. Assuming the execution matches what the industry has come to expect from InfoSight on Nimble, this capability alone is big enough to change industries. The tough IT issues are rarely the ones isolated to one system. The stuff that ruins your weekends are the things across platforms where different support teams point fingers, accusing the other as the culprit. As HPE builds out InfoSight, there is a trajectory where HPE infrastructure simply self-heals. I understand we are still a long way away from that, but HPE is putting the pieces in place to make that dream a reality.
These are just a few of the big announcements. (Seriously, there were more than this.) HPE looks like it saved a bulk of innovation to highlight this year. This could be in part due to the new CEO, but then again but more likely the type of innovation along with the Infosight integration takes time.
So what does this mean for IT moving forward? The rise of public cloud services has been a wake-up call for the IT industry, HPE included. We are still a ways away from a fully automated, self-managing, self-servicing, subscription-based data center, one without a managed services contract that is. But with these announcements, you can see a trend. HPE is moving the right tech pieces into alignment. It’s still just a first step, with a long journey ahead, but if HPE can pull it off, IT will never be the same.