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The HPE Corner

Fresh off the presses following 2017 HPE Discover – NonStop shows no slackening of development pace as it continues to surprise!

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The first and only general session at 2017 HPE Discover set the scene for all that followed and the conversations across the community focused on change – not only with the products and the organization but the leadership as well. Right from the outset, HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, emphasized that the strategy within HPE was tightly focused on just three items. While HPE Discover continued to be a showcase for HPE’s latest products as well as growing ecosystem of partners, the company according to Whitman, was “squarely focused on hybrid IT, the intelligent edge and the services that bring it all together.”

It has been two years since the company split in two – by the end of the year we will see financials from two full years of operations – but even at that time, quarterly comparisons will be tough to do as the company continued to trim down with two significant spin-merges announced, one of which has already come to pass. Point is, while the events of the past few years have run under the same banner, it’s a vastly different organization and along with the mix of products, the makeup of the organization continues to evolve to reflect the focus HPE executives are bringing to the company.

“A world where everything computes,” was a message that was hard to miss. What this translated to, when set alongside the three areas HPE is focused on, was encapsulated in Whitman’s own words. “Make hybrid IT simple; power the intelligent edge; and (bring the expertise) of NEXTPOINT (formerly, Technology Services) with new services, on-demand support, instant scaling for insight,” Whitman said. “Momentum shifts away from focus on data center to where the action is – at the edge; not one edge but many edges so no, (even with the momentum shift) data center is not becoming less important.” A case of backing both ends of the network, and wisely so I believe.

Hybrid IT isn’t simple; it is complex. Solve it, make it simple, and deliver actionable insights to the business. Sounds good, but what is HPE implying and what’s the role for NonStop? Getting hybrid IT to provide the expected value business wants requires a right mix of compute power and storage to run workloads all of which will change over time. It’s the firm belief of HPE management that this requires software-defined infrastructure in order to embrace a fluid movement from on-premise to the cloud (and back). It demands a level of composability and this extends to mission critical applications that will be supported by composable infrastructure over time.

Last month, this column ended with the observation that within the NonStop community the more obvious and indeed immediate future (for NonStop) is in hybrid IT. We have been travelling down this path for years and NonStop has experience. The only element missing is confidence, belief, and yes, commitment – who knows, the first big deployment of NonStop in a hybrid IT environment may very well happen as a direct result of what is said at eBITUG. We may not have heard anything in support of this observation as yet but the path to hybrid IT for NonStop is clear.

What the NonStop community may have missed is that taking NonStop from dependency on underlying hardware, making it the best software platform on the planet, taking NonStop to the virtual world with Virtualized NonStop (VNS) and in so doing, supporting applications unchanged to when they run on physical x86 systems as with NonStop X, then NonStop is just one more workload that the data center needs to support. With that, and looking at the layers being built to make hybrid IT simple – SimpliVity, Synergy and shortly HPE NextStack – it’s all being done to make it easy for the business to run workloads any way they want and NonStop is just another workload. Get ready for it and don’t be surprised! Very soon we will see new business opportunities where the solutions may be built on NonStop and where the customer isn’t even aware that NonStop is present! Again, could happen very soon …

I began this column with the remark that change is likely to take place within the leadership. While nothing was announced the buzz all across the floor of the exhibition was that something was afoot. With a trimmed down HPE there was only need for one general session, that of Tuesday afternoon. Furthermore, it was a general sessions solely focused on the Enterprise Group, naturally enough, where it was Executive VP Antonio Neri who occupied the stage for the majority of the time. And even as it’s still premature to begin looking at the tea leaves, the current leadership has overseen a massive transformation of the former HP so much so that perhaps HPE could benefit from a fresh set of hands on the reigns.

I guess we will just have to wait and see – perhaps the European HPE Discover to be held later in the year in Madrid may hold a lot more significance than previously expected and yes, very well worth showing up for. No matter, I see no short term easing of the pace within the NonStop development team even as I see the potential for more open communication between the Cloud and Software Defined group with the Data Center Integration group and for the NonStop community as a whole, that could be the best news of all to come out of 2017 HPE Discover!