For a number of months, I’ve been speaking about Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the forward moves they’ve been making as an organization. To be fair, my exposure to HPE has expanded drastically since joining OnX. They are our strongest channel relationship, and with good reason. While I could speak of the history of this very solid company for quite some time, I feel it far more valuable to discuss the current and future.
HPE’s storage infrastructure has, as I’ve stated in previous postings come a huge distance. The progress on the old LeftHand acquisition to the newest version of StoreVirtual is drastic in that the disc rebuild times, the redundancy across nodes, and the ability to go all SSD, as well as the ease of install, reliability and overall functionality are truly light years beyond where they were at acquisition. 3PAR, the enterprise storage platform has also undergone significant positive growth in recent years, now achieving key status on the Gartner Quadrant as a highly flexible, rock-solid approach to enterprise storage. For me, some of the keys are Federated management, and the ability also to go all SSD. However, the ability to use the same management interface across all levels, all the way up to the 20,000 series array makes a very compelling argument for placing 3PAR across all your enterprise locations regardless of size.
In the last few years, however, HPE has built up full-stack solutions that are also incredibly compelling. Beginning with the HC250, very solid architecture, they recently released the HC380 which is far more powerful, easy to configure, includes StoreVirtual, and OneView for configuration and maintenance. These fit nicely in the key use cases wherein HyperConverged Infrastructure is ideal. There are some key market spaces in which it makes highly logical use cases. I think that VDI and remote office locations are solid fits, but it can also fit as dedicated point solutions for other categories in the data center.
As competitors in the larger single stack architectures are losing lustre, it seems that HPE has found some incredibly compelling direction in this category. As we begin to dig in a bit into the “Synergy” platform, which is a large stack platform including the storage, network and compute layers, tied together by OneView, and having expertise in various categories. Here’s a link to the portfolio. It’s a great architecture.
What I find the most compelling, however, is that while the architecture and the use cases are significantly different, the broader concept is so very alike to that of the HC380 as to be pieces of the same equation. In fact, that very coherence, to me, feels as if there’s a grand plan here. It feels that not only will Synergy, or even “The Machine” become part of the same architectural scheme, but management of all these from the HC380 on upward, including networking and storage become all factors within the same grand equation.
In my opinion, this takes the position that full-stack architectures like vBlock and FlexPod to the appropriate endgame. However, for example, can you manage a VXRail environment using Unified Infrastructure Manager? Does UIM support “VCE Vision Intelligent Operations?” Seems like it does not, but shouldn’t it? This is not, in my opinion, necessarily a shortfall of Dell/EMC’s approach to full-stack architecures, but instead, I believe, it points to the cohesion that is now taking place within the HPE management, strategy and engineering teams. It truly feels that the direction that HPE is taking now is wholly exciting.