Dell Takes Aim At HPE In Synergy Composable Infrastructure Attack

Dell is taking aim at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's new "composable" Synergy architecture, saying the new infrastructure product is impractical, expensive and perhaps destined to be counted among the IT market's "derelict big ideas."

In an official Dell blog, Robert Hormuth, an eight-year Dell veteran and "Dell Fellow" focused on platform and technology innovation, attacks composable infrastructure and the fact that it is "being driven by a single company."

HPE this week unveiled plans to release the new composable architecture early next year. It's being called Synergy, and HPE CEO Meg Whitman told CRN it's "as revolutionary a product as we have introduced in probably the last decade."

Related: Whitman: 'Composable' Synergy Infrastructure Is Biggest Hewlett Packard Enterprise Breakthrough In Last Decade

But Hormuth said composable infrastructure isn't what customers want.

"Our customers demand approaches that work across many vendors and many technologies," Hormuth wrote. "Organizations require solutions that are simple, inexpensive, agile and scalable over proprietary, monolithic and expensive."

Right now, most approaches to composable infrastructure are being driven by a single company," Hormuth wrote. "They're not open – so they lack the flexibility and choice we advocate… We're looking forward to the evolution of standards-based approaches for composable infrastructure – which will inevitably increase customer choices and leverage expertise by controlling cost. After all, the marketplace is littered with derelict big ideas that were pushed by a single enterprise technology vendor. Right now, composable infrastructure could be one of those big ideas."

While Hormuth's blog doesn't mention HPE by name, Dell pointed to the blog when CRN asked for comment on HPE Synergy.

Hormuth, in his blog post, touted Dell's Active System Manager architecture as more practical, affordable and flexible than composable infrastructure.

Also, Dell offers "modular building blocks" that get customers away from physical infrastructure and toward more agile, affordable solutions, Hormuth said. In the last year, he noted, Dell has released its PowerEdge FX architecture; its Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft; Dell Reference Architecture for OpenStack; and the XC series of web-scale converged appliances.

HPE Vice President Paul Miller responded Wednesday, telling CRN, "If you don't have a composable infrastructure yet, then of course it is not practical for you to sell one. What is not practical about having a system that gives you fluid pools of compute, storage and fabric, that enables you to stand up infrastructure for a workload in three minutes or less?"

The new HPE architecture is being billed as the first ever designed to bridge traditional and cloud-native applications into fluid resource pools that can be deployed at "cloud speed." That could eliminate the big advantage that Amazon Web Services has had over internal IT departments that have struggled to provision workloads instantly like AWS can.

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At the heart of the Synergy infrastructure is a set of open APIs that bring software intelligence to deploying workloads based on the business demands of the application. Hence the term "composable" infrastructure.

"Composable infrastructure is looking to deliver on the same promises that converged and hyper-converged infrastructures have been working towards since day one," Rick Gouin, CTO at Dell partner Winslow Technology Group, told CRN. "What remains to be seen is whether or not Synergy moves the ball down the field. I think one outstanding question here is to what extent both internal and external development embraces this approach."

"The best thing that Dell can do to compete would be to reduce the uncertainty surrounding the EMC acquisition," Gouin said. "HP is counting on a lead in this space caused by Dell focusing on integrating EMC. The sooner Dell can get clear messaging out around how the respective product sets will merge, the better for everyone."