HPE Partners Are Ready For The AI Revolution
‘I feel really strongly about what AI and ML are going to be for the next 10 years,’ says Comport Technology Solutions CTO Erik Krucker. ‘This is going to be the biggest growth area for HPE and its partners. HPE is going down the right track with AI.’
Comport Technology Solutions CTO Erik Krucker, who has been working in earnest on AI solutions for the last five years, couldn’t be more excited about the growth prospects for Hewlett Packard Enterprise AI-based solutions.
“I feel really strongly about what AI and ML are going to be for the next 10 years,” said Krucker, who has been leading the AI charge for Comport. “This is going to be the biggest growth area for HPE and its partners. HPE is going down the right track with AI.”
Comport, which recently closed an HPE AI Machine Learning Development Platform deal with a financial services company, grew its AI sales 100 percent last year. “It’s been really great for us,” he said. “These AI technologies are now accessible to enterprise customers.”
The partner excitement around AI-based solutions comes with HPE launching at its Discover conference this week its entry into the burgeoning public cloud AI market with HPE GreenLake for Large Language Models, a public cloud service that for the first time provides supercomputing in a consumption-based cloud model.
HPE GreenLake For Large Language Models will initially be offered only as a direct sale by HPE with plans to evaluate “potential other routes to market” over time, said HPE Executive Vice President and General Manager of High Performance Computing Justin Hotard.
Partners, for their part, said they are already doing big business with a wide range of other HPE AI offerings, helping customers build, optimize and manage AI solutions.
Comport, No. 312 on the 2023 CRN Solution Provider 500, one of HPE’s top GreenLake partners, is working on a dozen complex AI-based engagements with customers. “These are very complex, significant large engagements in areas like financial services, research computing and health care,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for five years. We were doing this well before ChatGPT hit the market. Companies have been ramping up and doing parallel processing for the longest time. It started slow but now it’s accelerating.”
The HPE Large Language Models offering is hitting the market with customers clamoring for an alternative to traditional public cloud providers for full-production AI solutions because of the high cost of running those data-intensive workloads in the public cloud.
“Companies are running these AI models on a small scale and then when they go to put it into production it is costing them an arm and a leg,” Krucker said. “So they need someplace else to run their AI models. Running an AI workload in the hyperscaler public clouds 24x7 is extremely expensive. Customers are looking for an alternative to run these AI and ML models. This could be that alternative. The devil is in the details.”
Krucker said he is “cautiously optimistic” about HPE’s ability to deliver on the AI promise with its HPE GreenLake for Large Language Models offering.
One critical factor is whether HPE—which is running HPE Cray XD Supercomputers with Nvidia H100 GPUs as its public cloud foundation—will be able to get a supply of Nvidia GPUs to meet potential demand for the Large Language Models service.
“Those Nvidia H100s are a hot commodity right now; they are hard to get,” said Krucker. “If you said you were willing to pay double I don’t think you could get them now.” Nvidia is hosting an AI Pavilion at HPE Discover 2023 where it will be showcasing how the company and its ecosystem of partners are collaborating on generative AI and accelerated computing to solve enterprise business problems.
Comport, for its part, is hosting 20 customers at HPE Discover this week to show of the latest HPE innovations including AI. HPE has established the right portfolio and offerings to win big in the AI market, said Krucker. “We’re really excited because this is the avenue that we have been going down for a long time,” he said.
Advizex, a Fulcrum IT Partners company, one of HPE’s top GreenLake partners, is also betting big on AI. In fact, Fulcrum IT is poised to acquire AI-based solution providers as part of its global solutions portfolio. “We realize the importance and value of AI and Fulcrum is reviewing potential acquisition targets,” said Advizex CEO C.R. Howdyshell.
“When it comes to AI, first-mover advantage will be critical just like it was for consumption,” he said. “Partners that can adopt AI and execute with their customers are going to be very successful. This is going to be the next big thing that will differentiate partners. I would expect the same sort of partner engagement we have seen with GreenLake so we can continue to execute ahead of our competitors.”
Advizex Vice President of Consumption Chris Allmen said customers are piloting AI solutions on public cloud but as they look to move into production they are moving to an on-premises solution.
“We’re talking to customers with AI pilots about the economic advantages of bringing it to an on-premises solution as it scales up,” he said. “Customers want the hybrid cloud economics.”
Pat O’Dell, general manager and managing partner for Clinton, N.J.-based CPP Associates, one of HPE’s top GreenLake partners, applauded HPE for stepping up its AI cloud services game.
“This is the new hot market,” he said. “Everyone’s interested in AI. Customers feel like it is going to help them to either decrease costs, increase efficiencies or increase margins. The fact that HPE is out in front of this is good. Any time a company offers new things to partners, it is a good thing. The bottom line is HPE is trying to bring comprehensive solutions to customers. So providing more options and partnering intelligently makes sense to me.”