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Kumar Sreekanti: HPE Has ‘Deep’ Open Source Expertise, Ezmeral Is Already Driving Strong Double Digit Growth

‘HPE has deep experience with taking open source projects and turning them into compelling enterprise products as evidenced by the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform and HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric, both built on our acquisitions of Blue Data and MapR, companies whose products were built after spending 15 plus combined years living in the open source community,’ says HPE Chief Technology Officer and Head of Software Kumar Sreekanti.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Technology Officer and Head of Software Kumar Sreekanti said HPE’s big bet on open source with its Ezmeral software platform is “clearly resonating with customers” and is already driving double digit sales growth.

“The HPE Ezmeral software business is driving strong double digit revenue growth, and every quarter we are winning new logos in key industries, including banking and financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, media, and education,” said Sreekanti in a statement provided to CRN.

New HPE Ezmeral customers include Wells Fargo, GM Financial, and Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, University of Edinburgh and Zenuity.

[RELATED: IBM’s Jim Whitehurst On Why Red Hat Wins vs. VMware, HPE]

Wells Fargo, for example, selected the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform and HPE GreenLake to “provide them with a scalable cloud experience to enable them to modernize and innovate in an agile, cost-effective manner,” said Sreekanti.

Sreekanti’s comments came in reaction to a BoB Conference interview in which IBM President Jim Whitehurst said that although HPE Ezmeral “sounds quite compelling” HPE does not have the open source history and track record that IBM-Red Hat bring to the table.

Sreekanti fired back at Red Hat claims that HPE doesn’t have the open source software chops to take on IBM Red Hat in the hybrid cloud container battle.

“It is no surprise really that companies like IBM are talking about HPE Ezmeral software these days,” said Sreekanti. “They are hearing about us more and more from customers and partners in the field, and we appreciate the recognition from Jim Whitehurst, who I know well, and respect as a leader.”

Sreekanti said HPE is “all in on software” leveraging open source projects with its own “unique IP, and the talents of our 8,300 software engineers” to deliver software that is playing a vital role in HPE’s strategy to provide a hybrid cloud platform for enterprise customers to modernize applications.

“Customers are increasingly turning to HPE Ezmeral, HPE’s portfolio of container, data fabric, and machine learning solutions, to modernize their applications and drive data intensive initiatives said Sreekanti.

Whitehurst said the “problem” with companies that do not have the open source track record of IBM and Red Hat “is the capability of taking open source software and delivering an enterprise-grade product and supporting that over a long period of time is difficult.”

Open source projects are always changing—for example, Linux gets patched roughly ten times a day, said Whitehurst. “If you haven’t built the engineering capabilities in those projects to be able to take a version and support it through a lifecycle, you run into all kinds of support and stability issues,” he said.

Sreekanti, for his part, said HPE has “deep experience” with taking open source projects and turning them into compelling enterprise products as evidenced by the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform and HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric, both built on HPE’s acquisitions of Blue Data and MapR, “companies whose products were built after spending 15 plus combined years living in the open source” community.

“Both Blue Data and MapR leveraged open source projects such as Docker, Hadoop and Spark,” said Sreekanti. “With the HPE Ezmeral Container Platform, we are delivering the industry’s first enterprise-grade container platform built on 100 percent Kubernetes for cloud-native and non-cloud native applications. “

HPE’s acquisition in February 2020 of Scytale for cloud-native security is another good example of HPE’s commitment to the open source ecosystem, with ongoing contributions to open source projects, including SPIFFE and SPIRE, said Sreekanti.

“SPIFFE seeks to become the means by which all enterprises recognize and authorize interactions and secure their workloads for services spanning on-prem and public cloud environments, providing a foundation for a zero trust security model,” he said.

Sreekanti said that combining open source projects with unique HPE software intellectual property is providing enterprise customers with an “unmatched, enterprise-grade offering” for organizations seeking to leverage open source to deliver “scalable, reliable, and secure high-performing solutions” to enterprise customers.

“We have tens of thousands of experts in our software engineering and Pointnext advisory and professional services team that ensure our solutions built with open source technologies are ready for prime time,” he said.

HPE’s open source innovation and the robust AI capabilities of Ezmeral are resonating with enterprise customers, said Patrick Shelley, senior solutions architect for PKA, one of HPE’s original Platinum partners.

“The ability to manage, control, secure and run all your (software) assets through one platform is huge and the AI aspects are definitely helping customers reduce their operating expenses, in some cases by as much as 50 percent,” said Shelley. “What customers are looking for is a unified fabric to manage both their internal cloud and public cloud. HPE is making hybrid IT a reality and in the process making businesses more agile.”

Ezmeral is providing a tremendous leap forward in DevOps AI capabilities for customers, said Paul O’Dell, a director at CPP Associates, a Clinton, N.J. HPE Platinum partner which was named HPE US Solution Provider of the year for 2020.

“Think about the benefits that virtualization had for general purpose compute for many years, that is what Ezmeral is doing for DevOps,” said O’Dell. “What HPE has done with BlueData and MapR – which are now packaged with Ezmeral- is providing AI DevOps capabilities that gives customers tremendous economies of scale.” That is translating into huge cost advantages for customers, said O’Dell.

Ultimately, Ezmeral is providing a modern development envioronment that will power radical data intelligence insights across the enterprise that up until now have been out of the reach of mainstream enterprise customers, said O’Dell. “HPE is being very innovative here, creating an ecosystem for the next generation of applications to be created,” he said.

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