2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
HPE NonStop Corner – one partner’s perspective
HPE reports fiscal 2021 Third Quarter results
HPE announced its financial results for Q3, 2021. “Our customers across sectors are seeing the power of our full HPE edge-to-cloud portfolio as they continue to turn to us for integrated solutions combining secure connectivity, data-insight capabilities and cloud experiences that only HPE can provide,” HPE CEO Antonio Neri stated in the official press release that came out as the results were published. “Our impressive third quarter results prove this traction. We delivered strong orders growth, expanded margins and record free cash flow – all while navigating industry-wide supply constraints.”
When you look at the charts and graphs, it is clear that HPE continues its upward ascent to greater market penetration as it works even harder to transition to an Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) model. There should be no questions remaining as to the intent of HPE when it comes to not only delivering the service but to also ensure that the cloud experience can be realized by enterprises everywhere, no matter their size or the markets they serve.
But what about NonStop and Mission Critical Systems, now a part of the combined High Performance Computing and Mission Critical Systems (HPC & MCS) organization? According to Neri, “Over the past quarter, we have doubled down on key areas resonating with the market, including in our Intelligent Edge business and High Performance Computing and Mission Critical Solutions business, both of which saw record numbers of orders and strong revenue growth. As customers increasingly look to connect, collect, analyze and act on data at the edge, we are continuing to invest and innovate here.
Even so, as much as we all know that it’s about data, there is a special emphasis by HPE on data created at the edge. Again, no surprises here as this has become essentially a fact of IT life – collect the data created by connected devices, analyze at point of collection, determine insights and share those insights across the enterprise. What is good to see is how HPE continues to bracket HPC & MCS with Intelligent Edge within the category that they refer to as GROWTH! Nice; many in the NonStop community continue to be curious about the longer term prospects for NonStop but from the evidence presented to date, there remains strong support for NonStop within the HPE leadership.
But what is important to remember is that when it comes to major HPE wins at the enterprise level, their size can often influence how NonStop participates. Recent GreenLake deals for instance have thrown the spotlight onto NonStop participation and even as there is still work to be done to ensure NonStop is supported by the metrics GreenLake collects (for billing), a start has been made. More about this will be forthcoming at the upcoming NonStop Virtual Technical Boot Camp and will be something the community will watch with a keen interest. If you were curious about the growth occurring with XaaS, it’s clear that this major program of HPE is gathering momentum.
In an interview of Neri by CRN’s journalist Steven Burke, Antonio Neri: HPE GreenLake Is Resonating As ‘True Alternative To Public Cloud’ HPE’s CEO made his intent very clear. “
“When I look at the trends into the future and the way we work today—which obviously has been changed by the pandemic and the need to digitize everything—it gives me the clarity of thought that obviously this is now my No. 1 priority to accelerate this transformation to go farther and faster and to really deliver tangible improvements on what we are already doing in a short period of time because speed is of the essence.”
“Everyone is seeing GreenLake as a true alternative to public cloud for those workloads that must stay on-prem. Also, in many cases they are repatriating workloads to on-prem. But it is all driven by data gravity. They struggle with the data aspect of this with regard to where to put the data so it is in compliance, the latency component of this [is also an issue].
“The fact is if you put everything in the public cloud it is the Hotel California—you can check in but never check out.”
This last reference to the Eagles song, Hotel California, is particularly telling as it is HPE’s intent not to be a cloud services provider per se but rather ensure the benefits touted by these vendors can be applied to the hybrid world most enterprises embrace today; a mix of on-prem traditional systems, private clouds and potentially multiple public clouds. Furthermore, it is into this world that NonStop is headed – optionally of course and dependent upon size of enterprise (and the subsequent deal) I would hazard to guess.
Another encouraging sign? According to what has been published by CRN, Neri said –
“Obviously GreenLake has given us a clear direction into the future by focusing on software and the as-a-service experience.
These things take time, but I can see in 2022 shifting faster [to GreenLake and as a service]. That is why I said a month or so ago that this is my No. 1 priority.”
Perhaps the only negativity associated with the release of the financials for Q2 2022 came with the announcement that HPE would be pursuing a stock repurchase plan. As Neri told the audience of financial analysts HPE briefed with the release of the results –
“Based on the strength of our Q3 performance, and our confidence about our momentum in the market, we are again raising our fiscal year 2021 EPS and free cash flow outlook, and we are also resuming stock repurchases.”
While I am not a supporter of such stock repurchasing – aren’t there companies out there worth investing in to further fuel growth – if this is the only negative take away from this past quarters performance it’s only a minor irritation in what otherwise was a really strong quarter by all who were part of the HPE team. There is nothing like a continuation of the upward business trajectory to better fuel the enthusiasm of the HPE ecosystem and that includes the NonStop community. Again, congratulations to HPE for a quarter that has been well executed.