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HPE: News from the very top …





It would be so simple to reference the above tweet of March 26, 2019, in our regular column, Social Media Wrap Up, but it touches on a very important message HPE CEO Antonio has been communicating for some time. Teaming with partners is an integral part of HPE’s go-to market strategy. However, when the above first appeared, it triggered a number of responses not the least coming from Dave Wasserman, CEO of SovLabs providing platform enhancement and extensibility software for VMware Cloud and Automation and yes, one of VMware’s partners:

“Did I read this @CRN interview right? VMware APIs that are only being made available to Dell?”

This in turn brought out further responses including the following:


It doesn’t take all that much effort to find Neri being interviewed on this very topic – partnerships and, in particular, the value from teaming with VMware. In an October 9, 2018, interview published in CRN, HPE CEO Antonio Neri On Data Management, Teaming With VMware, And Why Competitors Are Going To Hit A Hardware Wall Neri was asked to “Talk about the competition a little bit. You’re fighting Dell Technologies, but at the same time you’re a big VMware partner. How’s the relationship between you and VMware going?

“We have what I call the pure-play competitors you know, Dell, Lenovo and what I call China Inc. The other is obviously the cloud. And then you have a bunch of stops in the middle. And so listen, I think our strategy against [Dell Technologies] has been totally opposite. They want to get bigger, scale. We want to get smaller, leaner and more focused. And I think, you know, we’ll see. The jury is out but the reality is what customers want is fast innovation and simple architectures they can deploy. Not a complex portfolio.”

Taking this at face value it’s easy to see that the two key elements of Neri’s message for some time now, focus and value, are reinforced in no uncertain terms. However, what is also obvious is that competing with a vendor like Dell, Neri is quite prepared to let them go after the cheap end of the marketplace, the so-called volume marketplace, whereas Neri will be pursuing tools including software to reduce complexity. Whereas Dell remains firmly in the camp of the “Lego Vendors” HPE is very much in the “Apple-like” camp or as Neri wants us to know:

“That’s why we have done a remarkable job simplifying platforms, focusing on fewer things, making it better, but then continuing to bring innovation that keeps us ahead. The difference between us and [Dell Technologies] is very simple: We have an edge-to-cloud strategy.”

Understandable; of course Neri brings in references to the all-important message of edge-to-cloud but it is the initial emphasis on simplifying platforms and focusing on fewer things that stands out. And we know one of the fewer things is NonStop given the size of the investment HPE has made in NonStop over the past five years. Of itself, NonStop is just more infrastructure in a way and while it supports its own integrated top-to-bottom software stack, it really is infrastructure and what HPE’s investment in NonStop has done is to make it better! Being better it is now able to play well with others (within the HPE product portfolio), which brings us back to VMware.

“But with VMware we have a very good partnership. They realize they need us. For [VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger], being independent and agnostic is what he needs. We always want to give our customers the best choice. So, in the end we are a multi-stack company and a multi-cloud company because in the end, customers have choice. The reality is customers are not going to put everything into one cloud on the public side.”

Amen to that last observation about customers not going to put everything into one cloud on the public side. However, with the most recent statements being made, as posted to twitter, is VMware signaling that they are no longer going to be independent? Are they taking away the level playing field and most important of all, will this impact virtualized NonStop after HPE has invested so deeply into ensuring HPE customers running VMware can now deploy NonStop? And what about the effort HPE has expended ensuring VMware with Synergy is an important coupling advantageous to HPE data center managers? If you missed it, there was a post by Eric Wu on November 5, 2018, to the VMware Blog that quoted Bhumik Patel – Technical Alliances, VMware, Integrated Composability with VMware Cloud Foundation and HPE Synergy that included the following announcement:

“Earlier this year we announced certification for HPE Synergy as the first composable platform for VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). This provides customers the ability to leverage the benefits of a software-defined composable platform to build a secure and scalable private cloud based on VMware’s Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) stack. At its heart, this solution is powered by two software-defined elements – VMware SDDC Manager and HPE Synergy Composer which is powered by HPE OneView.”

Wow. Why is this important? Well, to pull the threads together any member of the NonStop community that has sat through NonStop product roadmaps would be hard pressed to miss how NonStop development was working with the Synergy team. At this time, it’s all just a case of testing and validating to what degree Synergy could help simplify deploying virtualized NonStop as best as we can tell. HPE NonStop is still taking baby steps towards this goal but our own discussions with the Synergy team suggest there are no technical difficulties standing in the way – if the business case supports such a move then yes, it will happen. But still, how much love inside HPE would there be for VMware if Dell plays HPE and hides critical APIs? And aren’t APIs by the very nature an important element in any strategy supporting Open?

It’s very early days of course and VMware may even reverse its decision to document private APIs just for Dell, but in the meantime, perhaps what we see with NS2 today and the hypervisor of choice it comes with then well, who knows, NS2 may see further expansion in capabilities in the near term and have a brighter future when it comes to NonStop’s own baby steps towards virtualization and on “simplifying platforms, focusing on fewer things, making it better!”