Sunday, June 24, 2018

HPE Discover delivers; it’s now all about execution!

This year’s HPE Discover included something missing from previous years events – execution. We know the vision and we know the strategy so HPE covered all that they were delivering and there were a number of surprises install for attendees …

It was a dawn departure from Windsor, Colorado, and as we loaded our bags into our car it was very much a case of opting for the backup. As any Tandem supporter knows all too well, things can go wrong and executing a takeover while you can is an optimal path to ensuring continuing operation. Our go-to hybrid car was scratched during the most recent trip to Dallas for the N2TUG Regional User Group (RUG) meeting and even though the damage was minor, not having a functioning gas refill receptacle meant the backup saw duty. Not everyone may be so fortunate as to have a backup car but this is the USA and it’s off to Las Vegas, so it should be expected!

This year’s HPE Discover saw Margo and me as guests of HPE, with me being part of the independent blogging / influencer community. A small cadre of folks who even now have formed working relationships so much so that after several years while we don’t fully anticipate what each of us may say next, it’s getting awfully close. HPE does a great job of gathering bloggers from specific areas of technology including storage, wireless and solutions like manufacturing with me doing double duty representing mission critical systems and finance / retail. It’s always a full program that oftentimes extends well into the night but the group certainly had the team of Becca and Laura to thank for ensuring the plan was followed and the group was able to hear directly from HPE’s senior managers and thought leaders.

Being welcomed with the biggest selection of candy with a couple of drinks thrown in for good measure I have ever been given was hilarious but I was thankful and it certainly looked good sitting in the room.  Just one more instance of HPE going the extra yard for us to ensure we would be caffeinated and on sugar highs late into the night, happily tweeting about all that we saw. And yes, we saw a lot and that was probably the biggest take away for me from this year’s event. In the past we had been subject to messaging with focus on visions and strategies and our expectations over what will transpire in the future grabbing much of the limelight.

Not this year, however. It was all about execution. With so much talk about simplifying the transformation to hybrid IT in the past, it was good to hear of solutions being demoed that all made a real contribution to the simplification program. There were references to some familiar products along with more than a few I didn’t recognize: Synergy, OneView, SimpliVity, OneSphere, Infosight, Greenlake, and much more (about which we will be hearing even more in the coming year) dominated the proceedings as did the tangible presence of The Machine in a very meaningful way!

When it was first unveiled as a project being undertaken within HPE Labs, The Machine seemed fanciful at best and borderline outrageous and indeed confusing at worse, even as the industry were quick to pick up on possible absurdities it represented. But no more! Memory Drive Computing as supported by the new memory-centric paradigm for system construction is becoming mandatory in today’s data driven world. The market has definitely come to HPE and what they HPE has done with Superdome Flex and its support for massive amounts of addressable memory (and with no need to shuffle data in and out of hierarchies) is impressive to say the least. Processors are now simply elements you plug directly into memory and HPE now has an array of elements in the pipeline – possible even something labelled QANTUM that has raised more than a few eyebrows!

As for the picture above, would you love to have been able to overhear that conversation as HPE Senior Fellow Ray Beausoliel, leading the team researching “beyond transistors” and yes, even “beyond qubits” who has been working with Quantum Computing, is talking things over with Kirk Bresnicker, another HPE Fellow who is the VP and HPE Labs Chief Architect. I never did get to understand the sizable display of Lego bricks but it had something to do with demonstrating optics I came to understand although there were many independent bloggers simply counting up how many individual Lego products had gone into building the display.

The presentation by Beausoliel was among the most intriguing of all sessions as it took the form of an interview with fellow independent blogger (specializing in virtualization), Alistair Cooke, being the moderator. The presentation, Do we have to wait for  Quantum Computers was held just for the press, bloggers and analysts and covered a lot of territory before concluding that as Quantum Computing influenced new ways to process information it wouldn’t be used on current applications but rather, it “would teach us something we didn’t already know,” said Beausoleil.

In other words, apart from “quantum computers being really good at modelling other quantum systems,” and if we want to know more about what’s next after silicon should we want to extend Moore’s Law, then “quantum is good for figuring out what’s next; consider a petabyte being stored on 10 qubits!” When it comes to the current state of quantum, it is now known that roughly speaking you need to build 1,000 qubits in order to have just one reliable qubit so we are far from seeing any potential light at the end of this tunnel. And yet – the discussions continue and seeing Bresnicker and Beausoleil deep in thought I find intriguing. 

However, this was definitely HPE CEO Antoni Neri’s conference. When he walked onto the stage for his keynote address the first thing he did was to turn to the front row where his family was seated to introduce them to the packed house of attendees present. A human touch that has been missing in the past and a reminder to all present that HPE now has a different style of CEO than has been in evidence in previous years. And yes, a very much appreciated welcome change according to everyone I talked to following the conclusion of the keynote. As for what Neri emphasized throughout his presentation, it came down to just four key points – the new frontier of the intelligent edge; clouds – your data will live everywhere and so will your clouds; data will force greater consideration of memory driven computing and finally, delivering economic value from your data.

Notice all the references to data? And the focus on data has led HPE to focus more intently on software – “we are building a software defined platform and today, HPE has the most complete software-defined product portfolio.” There is still the challenge with manageability but already HPE is making the right moves both organically and with acquisitions. The references to OneSphere, Insight and even Greenlake are all part of addressing how best to make it easier and more manageable when transforming to hybrid IT. However, having said that hybrid IT is just a step towards a world made up of edge – cloud – core, a reference to how the pieces are beginning to fit together. As for the edge, Neri was quick to explain that the edge is “anywhere technology is put into action!”

We have heard on numerous occasions how time and data are the new currency so when it comes to NonStop, where does it fit into execution under way at HPE? The Machine and its influence on Superdome Flex may be one path for HPE but it’s the data driving that solution. When it comes to time – and by time the inference here is real-time – then Superdome Flex isn’t a candidate. No, we still will see investments continue in “racks of racks and racks of blades,” as Randy Meyer, HPE VP & GM, Mission Critical Systems, made it very clear to one of the audiences. Think of the potential role of Synergy, for instance, as it’s only a matter of time before a customer asks HPE for Synergy support of NonStop and that’s a distinct possibility given all that I saw at HPE Discover.

And what about the latest initiative supported by NonStop – blockchain? There were demos too of blockchain on NonStop as part of NonStop support of financial institutions. Clearly there will be blockchain on other platforms and already HPE was displaying manufacturing processes using a different blockchain to the R3 Corda (and a blockchain optimized for supply chain) implemented on EdgeLine products, but the role of NonStop in racks of racks and racks of blades with the potential support from Synergy and all supporting meaningful applications like Know Your Customer (KYC) certainly provides argument enough that HPE is behind NonStop and in a very big way!   

The nights proved to be long but then again, no attendee anticipates that HPE Discover will be a sprint and all are well prepared for the marathon that follows. With only one exception, I spent the whole time on the exhibition floor and was very appreciative of the many theatrette set up for targeted presentations as it kept the distance between a good presentation and the blogging lounge to a time manageable exercise. More importantly, HPE Discover continues with being the premier communications vehicle for the whole of HPE where in a few short days you can hear and see the progress being made to better support enterprises everywhere. The NonStop Technical Boot Camp will continue to be the place to hear and see the latest news on NonStop, but for the big picture, there will always be HPE Discover and when this event rolls around again in 2019, it will be the place to be and I will be there! 

1 comment:

Craig Lawrance said...

Exciting news about the emergence of HPE's foray and commitment to the R3 Corda implementation. On the payments side we are seeing demands for #crossborder payment, #KYC, and #AML.

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