HPE Steps Up AI March With Standalone Version Of Ezmeral

‘It’s a huge market opportunity,’ said HPE Chief Technology Officer and Head of Software Kumar Sreekanti. ‘Customers have asked for this because it is a very proven platform with phenomenal scale. Many customers want to first deploy the data platform and later on bring in the Ezmeral container platform.’


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Wednesday dramatically expanded its artificial intelligence-machine learning (AI/ML) market reach with a standalone release of its Ezmeral Data Fabric.

The new standalone Ezmeral edge-to-cloud data fabric brings the fast growing cloud native AI/ML platform to a new multibillion-dollar market where the data fabric offering can be used in multiple enterprise big data buildouts on its own.

HPE made the decision to establish a separate standalone version of the data fabric in direct response to customers, said HPE Chief Technology Officer and Head of Software Kumar Sreekanti (pictured above). “It’s a huge market opportunity,” he said. “Customers have asked for this because it is a very proven platform with phenomenal scale. Many customers want to first deploy the data platform and later on bring in the Ezmeral container platform.”

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The new Ezmeral standalone offering came as part of an HPE Ezmeral day webcast blitz that included the launch of a new Ezmeral Technology Ecosystem program for ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) and an Ezmeral Marketplace that includes ISV and open source projects for enterprise customers anxious to modernize applications and move to cloud native workloads.

The standalone Ezmeral fabric offering appeals to enterprise customers looking to build out an edge to core to cloud scale-out file system for storing unstructured data independent from the analytics capabilities that come with the full Ezmeral platform, said HPE Ezmeral General Manager Anant Chintamaneni.

“That is a new addressable market for customers that want a more effective price point to store large unstructured files,” said Chintamaneni. “We have had customers who want this standalone offering in the oil and gas industry and the healthcare industry. They are supporting digital transformation and want a massive scale out edge to core to cloud file system. They are primarily interested in storing data and will bring analytics in later on.”

There are also traditional data analytics buyers who have not yet deployed container platforms and are looking for a proven POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) file system for their AI/ML workloads, said Chintamaneni. “They want to get their data strategy right first,” he said. “They want to modernize their data, collect the data from different places and put it in one place, and then bring the AI/ML and analytics tools later.”

Ezmeral’s ability to provide a unified data repository that can be accessed via multiple protocols like POSIX, NFS (Network File System), or HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) is “absolutely unique,” said Chintamaneni.

The partner ecosystem program is another sign of Ezmeral momentum, said Sreekanti, citing the launch of a new HPE Ezmeral app store that includes big data ISVs like Dataiku, MinIO, H20.AI, Rapt.AI, Sysdig and Unravel. “This provides customers access to pre-tested, pre-packaged applications,” he said.

Key to Ezmera’s market momentum is the ability for partners to quickly and easily roll out containers in a hybrid and multicloud world, said Sreekanti. “The benefit for our channel partners and resellers is that it is easy, you don’t have to pull all these pieces together,” he said. “Because of the unique comprehensive, combined nature of this it is easy for our partners to deploy.”

Chintamaneni, for his part, said the flexibility Ezmeral provides for deployments at the edge, the core network and the public cloud with the ability to seamlessly move data in a unified software defined environment provides big benefits to HPE customers and partners. “It’s a very unique value proposition we are bringing to the market in a very simple fashion,” he said.

Ezmeral new customer acquisition is accelerating “significantly,” said Chintamaneni. “New logo acquisition has really seen an uptick,” he said.

As part of Ezmeral day, HPE announced a number of new customers including ORock, a hybrid cloud service that is debuting a new suite of offerings powered by HPE Ezmeral and HPE’s GreenLake pay per use platform. In another big win, HPE said DRAM manufacturer Nanya Technology has chosen Ezmeral to improve production by accelerating the rollout of AI projects in its manufacturing facilities.

Erik Krucker, CTO at Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner with a growing AI practice within its ComportSecure managed services business, said he sees the standalone data fabric as another sign of HPE’s transformation into an edge to cloud platform as a service software powerhouse.

“Customers want to have the ability that HPE is providing with Ezmeral to move workloads around,” said Krucker. “It’s a great strategy for containerized applications because you only have to engineer them once and then you can move them wherever you need them. HPE is definitely going in the right direction. They are talking about software solutions, platforms and data fabric rather than hardware. It’s all about solutions that customers are trying to implement. This makes HPE much more attractive to enterprise customers.”

Krucker credited HPE CEO Antonio Neri with transforming the company into an edge-to-cloud software platform innovator that is a fierce competitor in the intensely competitive big data storage market. “You’ve got to hand it to Antonio, he’s thinking differently and bringing in the right people like Kumar Sreekanti and (GreenLake Cloud Services General Manager) Keith White,” said Krucker.

Comport, for its part, is working with a growing number of customers on AI/ML solutions. “AI/ML used to be a luxury or a nice to have for an organization, but now it is a must have and those organizations are pivoting fast,” said Krucker. “We see AI/ML going downstream and becoming pervasive even in the SMB market at some point. Customers have to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace and they are going to use AI/ML to deliver services faster and more cost effectively to customers.”

Comport is building AI/ML solutions for a number of customers and then running them under the ComportSecure managed services banner. “We are designing, implementing and managing these solutions from end to end for customers,” said Krucker. “That business is probably going to double this year for us.”

One Comport customer is looking at leveraging AI to dramatically reduce the cost of bringing new drugs to market. “If they can use AI to run their algorithms faster, they can save billions of dollars,” said Krucker. “They want to take their existing models and crunch numbers faster and faster and faster. AI can speed up their R&D and cut down the amount of time it takes to bring new drugs to market by 50 percent.”