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HPE looked to improve its competitive chances in the bustling hybrid-cloud market, acquiring this week CloudPhysics, developer of an AI-based, data-driven platform that analyzes IT infrastructures and the viability of cloud migration projects.
HPE also debuted its software-defined opportunity engine (SDOE), which works with the company's InfoSight offering to deploy intelligence and deep learning to provide technology recommendations to users. The SDOE uses software and data-driven analytics to help produce holistic technology recommendations for users making decisions on more complex technology issues involving cloud migrations.
"With this merger, users can now go to the CloudPhysics portal for free and run the assessment tool, which learns about your environment," said Tom Black, senior vice president and general manager of HPE's storage business group. "With that information we can tap into InfoSight, where we can have a roadmap for the software integration that we've already prototyped. With that, we can work toward production."
CloudPhysics can be deployed and generate insights in 15 minutes, according to HPE. The CloudPhysics data lake has more than 200 metrics for VMs, hosts, data stores and networks. According to HPE, it houses more than 200 trillion data samples, along with data from 1 million VM instances. InfoSight collects information from HPE's installed base and can automatically remediate infrastructure issues. The data points have been accumulated over more than a decade.
How CloudPhysics will benefit HPE users
The immediate plan, according to Black, is to combine the CloudPhysics and InfoSight data lakes to function as part of an AI-based SDOE that can generate customized sales proposals.
Users are free to leave the CloudPhysics assessment engine running in their environment so they can check up on how their VMs are performing and locate potential hotspots.
"Moving forward, we're really interested and being a partner helping and customers view and analyze their data state," Black said.
One analyst said he believes CloudPhysics' product could be useful to CXOs who need a more comprehensive view of exactly what applications and data exist in their on-premises and cloud environments and edge locations. It can also provide them with better guidance on difficult technical issues they have to make decisions about.
"I suspect HPE will use this in their PointNext consulting services arm," said Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "I can also see it being part of their professional services portfolio, where they could quickly highlight its value of showing customers how they gain visibility into their environment."
The acquisition could help HPE become a larger part of the ongoing cloud conversation in IT circles, which is now dominated by AWS and Microsoft.
"HPE at this point needs to come through with a white-glove offering, tools that can more quickly present the value they can offer today on a variety of cloud projects," Bowker said.
Dana GardnerPresident and principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions LLC
Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC, concurred. "This deal is about HPE recognizing that AI Ops is crucial. … [HPE has] been a little behind the curve, so this is a leap toward the notion that AI Ops should be used to determine the right balance across the hybrid cloud continuum. It's a way to ensure you use the data from all the infrastructure you control."
The new offering figures to be a welcome addition to HPE's Pointnext Services unit. The group includes about 25,000 employees who serve as consultants to IT organizations on a range of technology implementations, including hybrid cloud, AI and edge computing. They also advise organizations on how to consume IT as a service.
"I think you'll see them offer this as a service," Gardner said. "But it also dovetails nicely with InfoSight now that it is extended across many of their products. InfoSight could help speed up what this new product does for collecting data, do predictive analysis and then prescribe the desired outcome."
Impact on the market
CloudPhysics won't lack for competition. The offering will face off against a wide variety of competitors, ranging from small, AI-based startups to top-tier cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft.
"They will also get some real competition from folks like Datadog and Splunk that has moved from log analysis into AI Ops very quickly," Gardner said.
CloudPhysics can also speed up the procurement process, which sometimes can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Black said it can also significantly reduce the sales cycle and engineering time necessary for HPE resellers to pull together a proposal for a new solution.
"We can target installed systems users want to migrate, or upgrade using algorithms and sizing engines that create a map for the best technology to use," Black said. "The software then automatically generates a quote for a customer, with multiple options and discounts."
Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.
As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals. He has also worked for 26 years at Infoworld and Computerworld covering enterprise class products and technologies from larger IT companies including IBM and Microsoft, as well as serving as Editor of Redmond for three years overseeing that magazine's editorial content.