HPE Discover 2018 Takeaways

HPE Discover 2018

With HPE Discover 2018 all wrapped up now, I’ve spent some time thinking over some of my key takeaways from the show. I was invited as a blogger, which came with the privilege of being in sessions with various leaders at HPE. So although we didn’t get too technical, we did have some great insights into where the company is headed. One big eye-opener was the amount of innovation going on at HPE Labs. We all hear about companies that spend money on R&D, but after hearing the labs mentioned many times in many different conversations, it is clear that this is a huge initiative.

INFOSIGHT IS ONLY GROWING

With the acquisition of Nimble Storage last year, it was no secret that InfoSight was a driver for the purchase. The analytics provided by InfoSight really is a differentiator in the marketplace. Last fall, I had the opportunity to attend an HPE Tech Day, and at the time, we touched on future plans for InfoSight. Shortly after that, HPE formally introduced InfoSight for 3PAR. During our briefings, it was clear that InfoSight is still growing and the use cases will not stop with 3PAR.

There was some talk about the possibility of adding it into SimpliVity, which makes a lot of sense. Lastly, to complete the single-vision view, one can expect to see InfoSight come into OneView. Keeping true to its name, being able to view all of your infrastructure’s health, across multiple platforms in one dashboard, would truly be one view.

EDGE COMPUTING AND IOT

Another hot topic here was edge computing. We heard about it throughout the days, but where it really stuck out to me was with the customer stories. We heard from three separate customers: the DS Virgin Racing Formula E team, the Ryder Cup, and Texmark (a chemical processing facility and manufacturer). In each case, we heard about their journey and how they’ve drastically increased the number of data points and how the additional measurements have proven useful.

In the case of the DS Virgin Formula E team, the additional sensors provide some substantial value. By pulling data points from components such as batteries, throttles, etc., the team was able to achieve a 20% speed increase using about 20% less power, over the course of 4 years. What is really interesting about Formula E is that drivers are restricted to using less than 28 kWh per lap. There are techniques that they can use to recharge the battery to combat that, but efficiency is paramount. The average race produces between about 5 to 10 GB of data, all of which is collected and analyzed. Being able to reliably collect and analyze this data has been the underlying key to their success.

Ryder Cup CTO
Michael Cole, CTO at the European Tour and Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup was another great example of collecting data and using IoT and edge computing. In this case, there were some really interesting challenges. For example, over the course of a weekend, they expect about 250,000 spectators, all with their own personal mobile devices. The tournament strives to offer a seamless experience and deploys about 700 Aruba wireless access points. With that, they are able to analyze data and see things like hot spots or where the crowd movement is. There was also talk of endpoint devices on folks like caddies and using those as points of measurement. One of the biggest challenges they face is time restrictions. In most cases, they are at “new to them” courses and need to build out the infrastructure. Apparently, their IT department also owns a tractor …

The last customer story that we heard was from Texmark. It was a story about a manufacturer fitting their infrastructure (i.e. pumps and valves) with edge computing to provide telemetry data. What stood out to me was how they got to this point: they were invited out to HPE Labs where they were shown all sorts of technology. There was lots of “future looking” technology they saw, but it wasn’t until they saw an application that fit them (measurement equipment) that things really clicked. My takeaway from this one was that it was a perfect example of why all facets of the business should be involved in any sort of digital transformation project.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

All in all, it was a busy few days. The show floor was full of demos and employees more than willing to chat. HPE is showing lots of commitment to making sure that they keep up with the times. Yes, new server hardware was showcased, but most of the buzz was around topics such as Greenlake, IoT and edge computing, and just general cloud readiness. Traditional on-prem datacenter customers are still valued by HPE, but there is no doubt that they have well-thought plans laid out for the future of IT.

Disclaimer: HPE invited me to participate in HPE Discover as a blogger. Airfare, accommodations, meals, and some entertainment were paid by HPE. I am in no way obligated to write about the event, and all the words in this post are mine, and mine alone.

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