HPE Is The ‘Fries’ To The Nvidia AI ‘Burger:’ Channel Leader Simon Ewington

The HPE-Nvidia channel charge comes with HPE CEO Antonio Neri set to share the HPE Discover stage next month with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang to reveal what HPE is calling “breakthrough AI solutions for enterprises of all sizes.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise wants partners to think of HPE as the “fries” to the Nvidia AI ‘burger,” said HPE Worldwide Channel and Ecosystem Leader Simon Ewington.

“Clearly, AI is a massive opportunity for all of the partner community,” said Ewington in an interview with CRN. “And that's a broad play and we want to make sure that we are viewed as the natural partner, the natural vendor for Nvidia-based solutions. So that when partners are thinking of Nvidia-based solutions they’re thinking HPE. That we are the fries to Nvidia’s burger.”

The HPE Nvidia “broad” channel charge comes with HPE CEO Antonio Neri set to share the HPE Discover stage on June 18 with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at the Sphere in Las Vegas to reveal what HPE is calling “breakthrough AI solutions for enterprises of all sizes.”

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Key to the HPE Nvidia partnership is HPE’s heritage as an “engineering” focused innovator, said Ewington. “Where HPE has traditionally been very different is we’re an engineering company. We engineer. We drive unique solutions into the market. And with our relationship with Nvidia we want to do the same. We want to be unique. We want to add value for our customers and our partners by engineering AI solutions that drive business outcomes for our customers and our partners.”

Nvidia, for its part, told CRN that the two companies have a “long history of close collaboration to bring full-stack accelerated computing” to customers. That includes, Nvidia said, a supercomputing relationship where the two companies “work especially close together to help the world’s researchers and developers do their life’s” work.

Just this week, HPE and Nvidia collaborated on new Nvidia Grace Hopper-based supercomputers including the Alps supercomputer, built for the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS). That system ranks No. 6 in the top 10 supercomputers, according to Top500, which ranks supercomputing capabilities.

The HPE-Nvidia relationship, however, goes far beyond supercomputing including deep generative AI ties. At Nvidia’s GTC in March, HPE announced updates working hand in hand with Nvidia to “advance the operationalization” of generative AI (GenAI), deep learning, and machine learning (ML) applications. That included availability of two HPE and NVIDIA co-engineered full-stack GenAI solutions; support to develop future products based on the new Nvidia Blackwell platform and a new enterprise retrieval reference architecture.

HPE Vice President of Worldwide Partner Programs and Operations Jesse Chavez said HPE has a distinct advantage with its Nvidia partnership. “We’re more than just a chassis for Nvidia GPUs,” he said.

At the heart of the HPE-Nvidia partnership is focus on “innovation and R & D,” said Chavez, with bundles that are “tested and pre-engineered with Nvidia.”

Chavez sees AI bringing the operational technology market opportunity to life with a wide variety of technologies from machine learning to robotics in vertical markets like manufacturing and healthcare.

Partners with vertical market expertise and services muscle are in a unique position to act as integrators combining HPE Gen11 systems with the combined HPE “Nvidia engineering” along with their own services and even other third-party offerings, said Chavez.

“It will be partner-led with our capabilities that we built with them on services and all of the engineering that we've been doing,” said Chavez. “So I think this is really going to be very exciting here from an overall ecosystem standpoint and I think we're uniquely positioned as opposed to our competitors.”

To that point, HPE entered into an expanded partnership last November to deliver enterprise class full-stack generative AI solutions on HPE systems. That collaboration opens the door for customer to train, tune and deploy large language models on prem with HPE software including HPE Machine Learning software and HPE Ezmeral with the Nvidia AI Enterprise software suite.

What’s more, HPE at last year’s Discover unleashed AI inferencing solutions on HPE Gen11 systems that integrated Nvidia GPUs that boosted inference performance by more than five times over previous ProLiants. That lineup also included a Gen11 DL380a with the full suite of Nvidia AI Enterprise software, including the Nvidia Riva AI platform.

HPE is positioning Gen11 as an AI workhorse. Among the Gen11 server benefits are sustainability cost savings and the Silicon Root of Trust firmware aimed at detecting cyberattacks.

“Think about Gen 11 as trusted systems,” said Chavez. “AI, security and keeping your data secure is already built into the core of Gen11 as far as down to the chip level.”

HPE Gen11 sales are already benefiting from the demand for AI solutions. Approximately 25 percent of HPE server sales are now related to AI workloads, Neri told analysts during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

Neri said that server revenue will benefit from both AI system demand, improving GPU supply, and a “continued mix shift to HPE ProLiant Gen11.”

Dan Molina, co-president and chief technology officer of Nth Generation, San Diego, No. 278 on the CRN SP500, said the HPE-Nvidia partnership puts HPE into the AI fast lane with what he called the world’s “most essential AI company on the planet.”

The partnership between Antonio and Jensen is a “huge win for HPE,” Molina said. “It shows that HPE is serious about providing the best AI solutions,” he said.

HPE’s long-standing relationship with Nvidia and its position as a supercomputer power gives HPE an AI solutions advantage, said Molina.

“HPE and Nvidia have had a very long partnership,” he said. “It’s an amazing relationship. Nvidia acquired a few companies that were already working closely with HPE. So the synergy you see in the HPE-Nvidia integrations is world class. It is second to none. That integration includes everything from network switching technology that Nvidia provides to GPUs and accelerators. All of that has been integrated and tested for HPE Gen11 systems including Gen11 servers designed to do AI inferencing.”

Molina said HPE’s strong server security capabilities are also a critical differentiator on Gen11 systems with Silicon Root of Trust built into the firmware to detect cyberattacks. “You can’t forget about the HPE security innovations when it comes to these AI solutions,” he said.

HPE’s Cray supercomputing prowess – which is part of the HPE-Nvidia Generative AI partnership- provides HPE a powerful capability to build out highly scalable large language generative AI models, said Molina.

“HPE has the right systems and components to enable extremely high performing AI models,” he said. “There will be AI models that will need that level of performance. These are the kind of systems that are going to wow the world and unlock the possibility of using AI for things like discovering cures for just about any illness. That level of power and infrastructure is in HPE’s DNA. That kind of high performance computing is going to power real beneficial AI solutions for humanity, business and society as a whole.”

Pat O’Dell, general manager and managing partner for Clinton, N.J.-based CPP Associates, the GreenLake North America Partner of the Year, said HPE’s innovation engine – combined with the Nvidia partnership- gives the company an edge in the battle for AI supremacy.

“HPE is equal to or better to anyone when it comes to engineering solutions and maturity around security, networking and as a service,” he said. “When you add all that to HPE’s server and storage solutions with Nvidia they have more sophisticated tools and weapons to work with than anyone out there.”

Erik Krucker, chief technology officer for Comport Consulting Corp, Ramsey, New Jersey, No. 312 on the CRN SP500, credited Neri with delivering a compelling AI vision and an HPE GreenLake pay-per-use hybrid cloud strategy that is paying off for partners.

In fact, Krucker said Neri and HPE do not get enough credit for its robust AI strategy and portfolio including the acquisitions of machine learning software makers Pachyderm and Determined AI.

HPE’s GreenLake platform is ideal for AI-based solutions given the ability to manage AI solutions in a hybrid cloud environment and also quickly update GPUs based on consumption, said Krucker. “With GreenLake you can add the latest and greatest GPU as just an addendum to the agreement,”mhe said. “That really plays into the HPE GreenLake strategy. You have to give Antonio credit for all of this which is really coming together.”

On top of that, HPE servers are the gold standard for AI based solutions with top notch security, said Krucker. “HPE servers are rock solid,” he said. “They have been the industry standard for the last 30 years. Its great hardware with great security built in all the way from the factory to the customer.”

C.R. Howdyshell, CEO of Advizex, a Fulcrum IT Partners company which has made significant AI solution investments and is staking out a position as a hybrid AI leader, said Advizex is seeing dramatic success with AI solutions based on its partnerships with HPE, Dell Technologies and Nvidia.

In fact, Advizex has embarked on an aggressive hybrid AI strategy that so far has led to $50 million of an $70 million AI solutions sales pipeline. “There is a strong appetite for AI as a service,” said Howdyshell. “Advizex’s history as an as-a-service leader gives us a big advantage.”

In fact, Advizex recently launched an Advizex financial services offering that provides AI or other solutions from multiple vendors on a single, as a service operating based expenditure bill for customers.

“We feel that is going to have a strong impact on our ability to deliver hybrid AI,’ he said. “We can do X as a service for any vendor or software. It’s an OEM agnostic as a service financial solution.”

Howdyshell said the AI market opportunity is huge for partners that can have the AI solutions consulting and technology solution skills. “The market opportunity is there, the OEMs are investing,” he said. “The partners like Advizex that can have those AI conversations are going to win.”