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‘Huge’ Security Advantage: HPE Servers, GreenLake Are Now Available With Disruptive Pensando Edge Platform

‘The minute you include a (Pensando) distributed service card in an HPE server is it not only takes over the function of a classic adapter in your server, but it also prevents the bad actors or unauthorized people to not get root access to your compute infrastructure and your compute platform which is a huge advantage from a security perspective,’ says Pensando co-founder and Chief Business Officer Soni Jiandani.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is teaming with public cloud disruptor Pensando Systems to deliver breakthrough edge security capabilities with the Pensando Distributed Services Platform (DSP) as an option on the most popular HPE servers and the HPE GreenLake pay-per-use platform.

With DSP now available as a partner factory requested option on HPE ProLiant, Apollo and Edgeline servers and GreenLake. HPE – a Pensando investor- becomes the first major systems vendor to deliver the Pensando DSP platform.

The Pensando DSP provides partners with policy and services orchestration and provisioning, network automation, observability and analytics capabilities.

The ability to begin to sell and support the Pensando DSP in the channel marks a major milestone for both vendors who are combining to disrupt the traditional hyperscale public cloud providers with a new edge computing platform.

[RELATED: Soni Jiandani: Why Pensando’s Edge Platform Leapfrogs AWS’ Nitro System]

The biggest game changer out of the gate could well be the robust Pensando security features – including a built in PCI firewall - aimed at stopping bad actors who are trying to breach servers at the edge, said said Pensando co-founder and Chief Business Officer Soni Jiandani.

“One of the things that occurs the minute you include a (Pensando) distributed service card in an HPE server is it not only takes over the function of a classic adapter in your server, but it also prevents the bad actors or unauthorized people to not get root access to your compute infrastructure and your compute platform which is a huge advantage from a security perspective,” said Jiandani.

The Pensando security combined with the HPE Silicon Root of Trust embedded server technology provides a one two security punch that adds up to a “one plus one equals three” formula for channel success, said Jiandani.

The Pensando- HPE partnership opens the door to an “immense” edge services opportunity for partners, said Jiandani. “It gives them the abilty to offer a variety of elements including security at the edge and various services while saving the customer tons of money from a total cost of ownership perspective,” she said. “It’s a win-win-win model all across the board from a margin as well as from a services pricing model.”

Jiandani is one of the renowned members of the “MPLS” (Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, Soni Jiandani and Randy Pond) Cisco all star engineering team that was responsible for many networking breakthroughs. That team has now all combined to create a new edge compute architecture at Pensando with the backing of former Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is now chairman of Pensando.

The Pensando – HPE milestone comes with the edge platform provider providing a business update saying it has already surpassed its year to date sales goal by 150 percent with proof of concepts with six Fortune 50 companies and seven global service providers.

In the case of one global financial services customer, Pensando says it achieved an $11 million reduction in capital expenditures with its platform. Pensando also is touting 66 percent savings in power and cooling costs, 50 percent improved storage performance and 30 percent CPU cycle savings for a cloud 100G service.

Security is embedded in the Pensando P4 custom programmable processor platform, said Jiandani. A higher level of security with encryption is part of the Pensando DSP Platinum licensing package. Both offerings are priced in the range of about 10 percent added to the cost of the HPE servers.

The Pensando platform – with the additional security at the edge for remote workers- has been a welcome relief for customers grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jiandani. Increasing security at the edge has been “very, very important” with COVID-19 given the growing number of edge attacks with more people working remotely, said Jiandani.

Partners can start ordering the HPE Pensando DSP systems – which are backed by a “single-call” hardware -software support line- immediately with delivery in a week.

Pensando estimates that 95 percent of partner orders will be Configuration To Order (CTO) with the Pensando card being integrated at the HPE factory. Pensando anticipates about five percent of partner orders will be Build To Order (BTO) with integration done by HPE distributors.

HPE and Pensando are teaming together on a series of webinars to educate partners on the edge opportunity at the HPE Discover conference next week.

Pensando is already working with an elite group of partners including Presidio, No. 22 on the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500, which is in the midst of proof of concepts with customers eyeing the edge platform.

Presidio Chief Technology Officer Vinu Thomas said the innovative software programmable Pensando platform opens the door for enterprise customers to modernize aging enterprise infrastructure and data centers.

“That is the big channel opportunity,” he said. “Most of the enterprise infrastructures and data centers were built in a completely different era. We are seeing a lot of our customers interested in modernizing them and integrating with public cloud bringing some of the agility and innovation on-prem as well. That includes making sure there is a good amount of security, encryption, micro-segmentation, load balancing, software defined networking features at the compute layer.”

The Pensando platform is effectively bringing for the first time some of the robust cloud native services into the enterprise data center that were previously only available on public clouds, said Thomas. “With Pensando you are now talking about bringing some of those cloud native features into the on prem data center conversation,” he said. “That’s a big innovation in my mind because it allows you to have that same level of flexibility and security and rich set of networking capabilities that you get on public cloud but you are now able to get on prem on an HPE server.”

The security capabilities being provided by Pensando are especially critical at the edge with the internet of things revolution and 5G, said Thomas. “The very fact that Pensando is able to prevent bad actors from getting root access to the compute infrastructure is really, really important,” he said. “Pensando also has a built-in stateful firewall capability that is able to prevent people from accessing it. You are also able to get really prescriptive about what services are allowed to and from the compute infrastructure. That takes it to a whole new level. We are pretty excited that Pensando has these security features not only in software but built ino the ASIC at a hardware level with encryption. That is something we think is complimentary especially if you want to add it to an existing software defined network like NSX or ACI. We think this is going to be a very important differentiator as we talk to our customers about the next generation of architectures.”

One of the big factors in teaming with Pensando is its all star team of former Cisco executives that have an impressive technology and channel track record, said Thomas.

“We believe strongly in the MPLS management team,” said Thomas. “They have been instrumental in most of the innovative technologies they launched at Cisco. John Chambers is the chairman and he is a strong advocate of the channel model as is Frank Palumbo who is the chief revenue officer.”

Jiandani, for her part, told CRN that Pensando is strongly committed to working closely with channel partners. “They are not an after thought,” she said. “Instead we are going to be working in a three way manner with HPE, Pensando and the channel partners. We want to make sure they are treated right and they have an equal seat at the table from an amplification perspective for this architecture, best practices that we will build alongside with them and the right profitability models across the three entities working closely together.”

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