By Jean S. Bozman
Edge-to-cloud is the central focus of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) marketing and go-to-market efforts in 2018/2019. This central strategy, an evolution of the company’s plan for the Intelligent Edge and edge gateway systems, expands on the company’s broad portfolio of software, services, systems, storage and networking products.
A close listening to HPE’s key messages delivered at HPE Discover shows that management of workloads traversing software-defined infrastructure and fast network fabrics is an important key to HPE’s hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and edge solutions. Edge solutions keep large and growing data sets close to where the data is generated, and faster networks facilitate data transfer from edge systems to the cloud.
HPE CEO Antonio Neri put it this way in his keynote at the annual HPE Discover conference: ‘We are edge-centric, cloud-enabled and data-driven.”
The strategy evolved from earlier corporate moves to streamline HPE’s business, following the split of the traditional HP business in 2015, creating an HP business focused on PCs and printers – and HPE, focused on enterprise infrastructure. HPE then shed its software business, selling it to MicroFocus in 2016, and its EDS services business, selling it to CSC that same year.
Now, HPE focuses on simplifying hybrid cloud and enterprise IT infrastructure; developing solutions that bring cloud-style computing to on-premises data centers; and integrating on-premises enterprise systems with public clouds, complemented by its ecosystem partners. HPE will also engage with high-profile customers, like Ford Motor Co. and Ryder Cup, to work on emerging intelligent edge and edge-centric offerings.
There is growing competition in the edge and cloud spaces, with all of the major systems vendors targeting opportunities in these fast-growing market segments. HPE plans to differentiate its edge and cloud offerings by bringing these two categories of offerings closer together, and making them easier to manage, end-to-end.
HPE has a portfolio of products that will play into its edge-to-cloud computing initiatives. It plans to leverage its high-volume x86 server business; its converged edge systems and IoT gateways; its acquisitions (e.g., Aruba, Plexxi) for software-defined computing and network fabrics; and its HPE Pointnext professional and advisory services. HPE Pointnext Professional and Advisory services will engage with business and IT planners, continuing HP’s longtime view that it has a “trusted advisor” role for its substantial customer base.
HPE Priorities for 2018
HPE CEO Neri, in his first outing at the HPE Discover conference in Las Vegas (June 18 – June 21, 2018), calmly outlined what all of this means in his company’s portfolio of products and services. He sees opportunities for digital transformation in data centers; deployment of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud computing. He sees new installations at emerging edge sites, located close to where data is generated that can be quickly analyzed for business insights.
Neri said that HPE plans to spend $4 billion over the next four years investing in edge computing, which the company has identified as a high-growth area it can address with its hardware platforms and technical services (via HPE Pointnext). The $4 billion investment will be used for R&D, product development, technical services and the development of new consumption models for Edge and cloud.
We also expect that HPE will look to go-to-market activities with channel partners, MSPs and system integrators (SIs) to expand its total available market (TAM) by co-selling HPE’s edge and cloud solutions.
HPE Launches Products for Edge-to-Cloud Solutions
Given the edge-to-cloud strategy, customers should expect to see these top HPE planning assumptions for enterprise clouds, along with related HPE products that support its 2018-2019 go-to-market strategy, as noted:
- More computing will stay on the edge of the network. Analytics for large data-sets will increasingly take place closer to where the data is generated, as at telcos, oil refineries, retail stores and branch operations. This is where HPE will focus its Aruba and software-defined branch (Aruba SD-Branch) and networking products in its Intelligent Edge offerings.
- New products for its edge-to-cloud strategy and solutions. HPE announced new HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems, aiming at simplifying hybrid IT. These converged systems will combine server and storage capabilities, expanding an HPE product line of edge servers, appliances and gateways.
- Scalable memory will play a larger role in analytics, leveraging AI and machine learning (ML). For HPE, very large memory is becoming a catalyst for enabling data-intensive analytics. What began with HPC scientific/engineering applications is moving into in-memory enterprise workloads. HPE announced a Memory-Driven Computing capability of up to 96 TB for its Superdome Flex systems, as an outgrowth of the HPE The Machine initiative. HPE Pointnext also supports a Memory-Driven Computing Sandbox cloud service that gives customers access to HPE Superdome Flex systems with scalable memory, for experimentation and prototyping projects.
- Consumption models are changing. Business managers are driving much of the consumption of cloud resources, so IT organizations can no longer act independently on technical decisions. This is why HPE is planning to engage both business and IT managers via its HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering and HPE GreenLake-related services delivered by HPE Pointnext.
- Integration with major cloud providers will be the path to hybrid cloud and multi-cloud for data center customers. HPE continues to leverage its management software as a key enabler in this edge-to-cloud strategy. Here, it will apply the HPE OneSphere and HPE OneView. Both of these management software products will be key to managing in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud deployments.
There is no formula for the way a cloud should look – which means that cloud choices must be customized to each organization’s mission and business model. HPE sees this opportunity, as do IBM, Dell EMC and Lenovo as the largest systems providers worldwide – as the largest cloud service providers (CSPs), including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform partner with systems vendors to provide the end-to-end hybrid cloud platforms.
Systems vendors have aligned on hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and the Edge as near-term growth opportunities. Easing connections between the Edge and the cloud will make it easier to bypass central enterprise data centers, if customers see that as one option to speed analytics to action. That has the potential to improve efficiency of end-to-end data-intensive applications like blockchain, manufacturing controls, distribution and logistics.
Originality and innovation in edge-to-cloud solutions will contribute to customer adoption of edge technologies, across an emerging set of customer scenarios. HPE is well-positioned to capitalize on its new edge-to-cloud initiatives by leveraging its Intelligent Edge infrastructure and by providing edge-specific services for new and emerging customer requirements.