Compute Power Meets IoT at HPE Discover 2017 in Madrid

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) held its European customer conference, Discover, in Madrid this week. Points of emphasis that impacted me included Internet of Things business, high power computing, a view of the changes going on at HPE, and a look at the future of IT and the plant.

Bloggers and influencers

I was here as part of a blogger program separate from press and analysts. Bloggers are a livelier group than press. I think that I am the only independent blogger in manufacturing in the US (everyone else works for a magazine or analyst firm). There were 25 bloggers at Discover from countries as diverse as Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. Rather than attending press conferences our program included “coffee talks” that were live-streamed on the Web. These were informal presentations plus question-and-answer sessions.

There was one press conference I attended—the announcement of the partnership with ABB on the mini-data center product. Instead of conversation and give-and-take, one or two journalists asked questions in a challenging manner that were seldom designed to elicit more information. Note: I wrote about the partnership earlier this week.

Retiring CEO Meg Whitman used a quote from Gartner in her remarks. “The Edge will eat the cloud.” HPE has developed edge computing devices called Edgeline that I discussed in August after my first meeting with the company. These are powerful computing devices based on PXI platform technology from National Instruments. The blogger group devoted some time discussing how valid that comment was.

We concluded that you will need both. I have an example from a conversation I had with Rod Anilker, a technologist in the OEM group. Imagine taking the computing power and openness of the HPE platform to replace proprietary controllers such as CNC, PLC, DCS. These devices at the edge would solve many control and other edge applications with the additional capability of sending data to the cloud.

Now, imagine the storage and computing power HPE has accumulating vast amounts of data—maybe from a power generation fleet or a company’s many refineries—achieving scale sufficient to do some pretty cool pattern recognition. The predictive, prescriptive, and planning possibilities would be awesome.

Pieces of HPE Corporate Puzzle

Antonio Neri, President and COO and next year’s CEO, let general session with these main points.
• Intelligent Edge (where the action is->acquisition of Aruba so important)
• Secure platforms from edge to core to cloud
• Memory-driven computing (acquisition of Silicon Graphics another important piece)
• Artificial Intelligence (inside everything)
• Software-defined and multi-cloud platforms
• Partner ecosystem
• Flexible consumption (scale up, scale back)
• Advise and transform HPE PointNext
• Outcome-as-a-Service, future of enterprise computing

Edge-As-A-Service

PointNext is the services arm introducing the concept of Edge-as-a-Service. In face, HPE features “as-a-service” in many guises.

This concept seems to be modeled on ideas emanating from GE’s consumption of services mode. Capturing and processing data at source where action needs to happen as the foundation of the model. Then you provide IT in a way that scales, pay-as-you-go concept, subscription-based. Therefore, the customer has flexibility and reduced risk.

Take the expertise from a data center that runs 24/7 and put it at edge. Then it’s all about extracting data. Take this into machine learning. This starts to morph into the concept from the OEM group.

The model architecture takes HPE’s new GreenLake plus EaaS. GreenLake edge compute includes design services, information services, operational & support services, and pay-as-you-go. Upfront consulting to help evaluate the client’s requirements and business process and recommends solution packages.

Technology overview

David Chalmers, research and development executive, briefed us with a business and technology overview.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is one of the two business left standing after Meg Whitman (and the board) split the company following some bad years of plans and leadership. Following the split, several businesses were divested.

Chalmers related HPE has been changing fast into an infrastructure/solutions company (he said, the world’s largest). “The strength of our portfolio is the best in 10 years, much from organic development. The SGI acquisition yielded more compute options (SGI acquisition), including low power, high performance computing. By 2022 60% of data will never get to data center, it’ll reside at the edge. Therefore intelligent edge is important. SGI brought high performance analytics.”

Another couple of tidbits. At the new HPE people bring business cases first, then talk about the technology solution. The OT world order of magnitude larger than IT world. (Hmmm)

Oh, and there were many new products. They don’t all apply to my areas of coverage. But the engineers have been busy.

IoT

I just realized I made it through the entire discussion without mentioning the technology that brought me to HPE Discover—Internet of Things. Much of that relates to the Edge and devices such as Edgeline. Obviously important IoT garnered significant floor space in the exhibition area.

There will be more in another post.

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