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HPE Is Betting Big On Composability To Drive Hybrid Cloud Services

“Composability is now building from an infrastructure and software-defined play to become the underpinnings of where we are going in the future, which is really a lot more around as a service,” said Ric Lewis, senior vice president and group manager, Software-Defined and Cloud Group, and CTO of Hybrid IT for HPE.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is set to drive a new wave of hybrid cloud innovation by using its composability software as the “underpinnings” of a new series of as-a-service offerings.

“Composability is now building from an infrastructure and software-defined play to become the underpinnings of where we are going in the future, which is really a lot more around as a service,” said Ric Lewis, senior vice president and group manager, Software-Defined and Cloud Group, and CTO of Hybrid IT for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “We are working on delivering new architectures and capabilities built on a foundation of composability to deliver this as a service in a way that no one in the industry has really done. We are pretty excited about that.”

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HPE is essentially “doubling down” on its already robust portfolio in the GreenLake pay-per-use business with a move to provide additional as-a-service offerings with composability as the foundation of that services charge, said Lewis.

The new services will enable customers to move beyond current offerings like SAP HANA as a Service, Big Data as a Service and Backup as a Service into areas like VMware VMs as a Service and Containers as a Service, he said. “That’s where it’s going,” said Lewis. “More and more customers are saying they want to pay for a certain number of VMs or pay for a certain number of containers or pay for a certain number of users in a [virtual desktop infrastructure] environment. We’ll deliver that as a service. We’ll take care of figuring out how much hardware customers need and what the backup strategy is. We’ll just say, ‘For this many users, lock, stock and barrel, we’ll deliver that to you as a service. Customers love that.”

The new offerings come in the wake of two recent blockbuster HPE deals that put Nutanix and Google Cloud technology on HPE GreenLake.

The “heart” of the composability charge is HPE’s OneView open composable infrastructure management platform, said Lewis.

More than 60 companies have already provided tight integration with the OneView ecosystem, including top DevOps software providers VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker and Puppet. “The growth of OneView has been explosive,” said Lewis. “It was not too long ago that we were talking about having more than 1 million [OneView] licenses. We are headed for 2 million [licenses].”

HPE’s OneView composable cloud software is already integrated with Synergy and HPE ProLiant DL. The attach rate for OneView on the ProLiant DL has more than tripled in the past year, said Lewis. “With the introduction of composable cloud and what we can do in a rack-based environment, customers are saying they want OneView with their ProLiants,” he said.

HPE has a big lead in the composability architecture battle, having begun volume shipments of its Synergy software-defined composable infrastructure in January 2017. Synergy has become in short order a more than $1 billion run-rate business—the fastest-growing value systems offering in HPE history—with HPE partners accounting for two-thirds of that business. “The channel is loving composability and the capabilities we are providing customers,” said Lewis. “We shipped composable infrastructure over two years ago. You just saw in the last year some of our competitors trying to catch up with their composable offerings. They are still far from what we deliver.”

HPE’s strength lies in its ability to compose compute, storage and networking fabric in a DevOps environment that allows customers to easily move workloads in a multi-cloud and hybrid IT environment.

Xara Tran, CEO of Champions of Change, Melbourne, Australia, one of HPE’s top GreenLake partners, said HPE’s composability innovation with OneView is driving huge return on investment for customers.

“Customers love OneView,” she said, noting that in one case, a customer expects to utilize $800,000 in IT cost-savings derived from implementing OneView to drive digital transformation. “The Synergy OneView platform is very powerful. It is automating mundane tasks and systemizing day-to-day operations. What customers are doing is shifting IT staff from day-to-day to change and growth.”

Paul Miller, vice president of portfolio marketing for HPE, said HPE is targeting “channel-specific” workloads to accelerate the GreenLake as-a-service business.

“What we are enabling the channel to do is move to this new as-a-service market,” he said. “This market will surpass the as-aproduct market by the end of this year. Customers are consuming IT as a service more than they are buying infrastructure. The customer is looking for an alternative to buying IT products. They want an Opex model that is fully managed.”

Many HPE competitors are merely giving lip service to hybrid, said Lewis. “There aren’t a lot of competitors that are really mastering helping customers in both [on-premises and off-premises],” he said. “We are truly helping customers with both.”

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