Looking At HPE’s New HITS

While at VMworld 2017, I received an invite to attend a HPE Blogger Briefing hosted by Calvin Zito. The idea was to layout some of the current, and upcoming, goings on that HPE has coming down the pipe. The areas that we covered were primarily storage-focused, which I’ll cover in more depth below.

First, however, I wanted to give a quick shout out to the HPE team for not dancing around the question of how their relationship with VMware has changed since the Dell EMC acquisition. The short version is that Dell fully recognizes that competition is natural in the market; along with that, it is also clear that VMware has a neutrality that it needs to keep in regards to partners and solutions. My take away was that Dell EMC and HPE are competitors, whereas VMware and HPE are still partners.

LONG BUZZWORD PROJECT NAME

HPE Hybrid IT System
Diagram courtesy of Brian Knudston

One of the areas that we went deep on, and that I found quite interesting, was HPE’s “Project New Hybrid IT Stack“. Needless to say, that name is a bit a mouthful. We’ll have to see what it ends up being when it goes to market, but it was a good descriptor none the less. Brian Knudston (formerly of Simplivity; HPE employee as of earlier this year due to acquisition) presented a great overview of this new project, all using only one slide.

In a nutshell, there are three different components: HPE Simplivity, HPE Synergy, and the “new” stack. Simplivity is a software-defined, hyperconverged-infrastructure solution which was folded into HPE earlier this year. One of its strengths is simplifying virtual environments through automation. So much of its “magic” coming from software components; because of this it lends itself out to be very versatile in its uses.

The next component up the stack is their Synergy project. As the name somewhat implies, it takes the Simplivity portion of their portfolio and adds in composable workloads from other sources. These sources can be physical, virtual or even workloads running in containers. The solution also aims to scale up to enterprise levels. The concept of how this works is that Simplivity handles virtual workloads (e.g. resource allocations, provisioning, etc.). When you add Synergy into the mix, the physical workloads fall under its management. Despite how much we like to think it, there are still plenty of physical workloads out there.

Lastly, we have the “New Hybrid IT Stack” (HPE’s New HITS?); this will be where we see even more magic come in. The goal here will be to manage cloud workloads, along with your phsyical and virtual workloads. Taking a look at the image Brian presented, it is fairly easy to see how this solution will complete the stack.

HOW WILL IT WORK

A lot of this stuff is still up the air, at least publicly. Nobody could commit to anything, so everything below is just speculation. Given how long HPE has been a partner of VMware’s, it is likely pretty good odds that NSX will fall into the mix. Similar to how VMware On AWS will utilize NSX, I would expect to see a similar solution used for this.

For the automation portion, there was talk of “private cloud express”; basically it would leverage vRealize Automation to empower developers, business units, administrators, etc.; they will use these tools to perform a lot of tasks via a self-service portal.

There was also some “pie in the sky” talk about other partners as well. Keep in mind that HPE is a big Microsoft partner as well. With that, they are working on Azure Stack …. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we see a solution that could end up managing, on-prem physical and virtual workloads, as well as multi cloud-based (public and private) workloads? Wouldn’t it be cool if I could go to a portal, provision a SQL Server instance in Azure, that is used by an on-prem physical web server, which is serving images from S3?

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