Some thoughts on HPE after some key moves by the board

Full disclosure: In my work life, I spend my time at OnX Enterprise Solutions, where we’re a key partner with HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise). The following are some thoughts regarding some of the aggressive steps recently taken by Meg Whitman and the board. To me, these seem bold and decisive. They have been pivoting to set themselves up for the future of IT.

 

 

  • The changing of the focus for Helion. In recent travel, and conversations with customers, I’ve heard a distinct misconception regarding the stance of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Helion Platform. The mistake appeared when HPE made the statement that Helion would no longer be a Public Cloud platform. The goal here was not to do away with the OpenStack approach, but rather to focus those efforts on Hybrid and Private solutions.
    1. Helion is not just a fully supported OpenStack solution, but rather an entire suite of products based on the Helion OpenStack platform. Included are products like Eucalyptus, Cloud Service Automation, Content Depot, Helion CloudSystem and quite a few more. For further information on the suite, check out this
    2. The key here is that while the press stated that Helion was done-for, the fact is that HPE simply narrowed the market for the product. Instead of necessarily competing with the likes of IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft, now it becomes a more secure and function extension or replacement for your datacenter’s approach.
  • The splitting of the organization from one umbrella company to two distinct elements: That of HPE and HP Inc. The former entails all enterprise class solutions including storage, servers and enterprise applications, the latter supplies printers, laptops, and most-profitably, supplies like printer ink and toner.
    1. The split offers up the opportunity for salespeople and technical resources to align with the proper silos of internal resources, and therefore expediting the dissemination of information through their channels about offerings etc., more efficiently.
    2. There’s little doubt that the split of the organization creates a level of operational and cost efficiency with which the company had some struggles.
    3. And, just within the last couple days, the Professional Services organization has made a fairly significant announcement to join in with CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) professional services to become if not a single organization, at minimum a fully collaborative one. As many know, the services arm of HPE was bolstered by the addition of EDS in 2009. While I’m not sure that this will have a lot of impact on the quality of the professional services delivered, it leaves very little doubt that the sheer magnitude of resources from which to draw will be quite a bit larger.
  • The emergence of Converged and HyperConverged as well as Composable Infrastructure platforms as a strategic move forward.
    1. Converged platforms like vBlock and FlexPod have been around for years. In addition, the more pod-like solutions like Simplivity and Nutanix, as well as many others have become quite popular. HPE has been working diligently on these platforms, with a more full-scope approach. Whether your organization has one of the smaller 250’s or the larger 380 series hyperconverged devices, and/or some of the larger systems, they’ve been designed to exist within a full ecosystem of product. All part of one environment. The HPE convergence platforms have come together quite nicely as an overall “Stack” for infrastructure regardless of sizing. Augmented by the utilization of HPE’s StorVirtual (the old LeftHand product, which has been expanded quite a bit in the last couple years), OpenView (For all intents and purposes, the most robust, along with the most mature tool of its ilk in the space), these offerings make the creation, deployment and management of physical and virtual machines a much more agile process.
    2. HPE Synergy, the HPE approach to a fully composable infrastructure, seeks to extend the model of “Frictionless” IT to leverage a DevOps approach. Scripting is built-in, fully customizable, and with plans to offer up a “GitHub” like approach to the code involved. For a full overview, refer to this webpage. Synergy will involve a series of both hardware and software components dedicated to the purpose that it can take the place as a recipe for large to huge enterprises supporting the entire infrastructure from soup to nuts. Again, I’ve not seen a portfolio of products that rivals this set of solutions for a global approach to the data-center ever. I have seen a number of attempts to move in this direction, and feel that we’re finally achieving the X86 mainframe approach that has been directional in enterprise infrastructure for years.

 

All-in-all, I would have to say that I’m impressed with the way that HPE, who in past years have been seen in maybe not the best forward thinking approaches, is making strategic maneuvers toward the betterment of the company. They’re deep in the market space, with R&D in practically every area of IT. OpenStack, All Flash Array, Hybrid storage, federational management, backup and recovery, new memory tech like 3D XPoint, and many other pieces of the technology landscape are being explored, utilized, and incorporated into the product set. I feel that this venerable company is proving that the startup world is not the only place where innovation occurs in IT, but that a large organization can accomplish some amazing things as well.

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