HPE Synergy 'Composable' Infrastructure Beta Is Launched, Partners See Big Market Opportunity

Hewlett Packard Enterprise this week launched its eagerly anticipated Synergy composable infrastructure beta to about 100 customers.

The HPE beta-testers are made up primarily of top Fortune 1000 companies struggling to find a unified architecture that will allow them to deploy a diverse set of legacy and native cloud apps in a fast-paced hybrid computing environment.

Each of the beta customers is set to receive at minimum four complete blade nodes in a Synergy chassis with the composable infrastructure software stack that powers the new offering, which is aimed at leapfrogging converged infrastructure offerings from vendors including Nutanix and SImpliVity.

"This is a brand-new category so we are spending a lot of time with customers understanding their use cases and what they are planning to do with these new systems," said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing at HPE, Palo Alto, Calif.

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HPE CEO Meg Whitman has touted the new Synergy platform, originally code-named Thunderbird, as one of the biggest breakthroughs from the company in the past decade.

At the heart of the Synergy infrastructure, which is slated to be available in HPE's fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31, is a set of open APIs that bring software intelligence to deploying workloads seamlessly in a complex hybrid IT environment.

HPE partners are critical to the Synergy offensive and are playing a key role in many of the beta-testing scenarios, including some of the most highly visible customer engagements such as a leading genomics company and a manufacturing company, said Miller.

The genomics company is planning to more rapidly produce new medicines, said Miller, with a focus on moving applications quickly from an R&D D IT platform to a more stable, scalable and workload-intensive IT platform.

Key to that effort is Synergy's ability to allow developers to quickly carve out application workloads and then quickly migrate those application pools into a business IT environment.

With Synergy, the time it takes developers to move an R&D application from a development test bed to a scalable, internal legacy platform will be reduced by weeks or even months, said Miller. The ROI measurement in deploying the workloads is part of the beta, said Miller.

"Without Synergy, it would be very painful to throw a workload over the wall from R&D to IT [operations]," said HPE's Miller. "Now you have one seamless set of technologies that allows the company to be agile and compliant."

The large manufacturing company, meanwhile, is running multiple legacy databases in a complex ERP environment and wants to quickly carve out workloads for application developers doing compute-intensive 3-D simulations, said Miller. The manufacturer is expecting a significant reduction in IT costs as a result of being able to run the 3-D simulations on a single platform with the legacy IT environment.

Comport Consulting, Ramsey, N.J., No. 457 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500, already is working with a number of customers on Synergy proof-of-concept projects, said Mike Vencel, executive vice president of Comport.

The Synergy offensive comes as CIOs are moving quickly to bring high-speed workload provisioning and deployment to internal business units in a hybrid computing world, he said.

"HPE is bringing the IT speed, manageability and deployment story to life with Synergy," said Vencel. "It's a tremendous opportunity for partners. All the discussions we are having with customers right now are centered on how they transform in a hybrid IT environment, and it starts with a discussion on workloads, public or private cloud, security requirements, SLA requirements, cost, TCO, and line of business."

It also comes with newly independent HPE driving innovation at a breakneck pace in a market where competitors such as Dell and EMC face product integration challenges in the wake of Dell's planned $67 billion acquisition of EMC, said Vencel.

"There is a tremendous amount of clarity and innovation from HPE and, at the same time, customers cannot get a clear road map from Dell-EMC," said Vencel. "We are benefiting from that Dell-EMC disruption. Our HPE business was up 58 percent in 2015. "

Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys360, a Concord, Calif., enterprise powerhouse, which recently combined its two separate California businesses into a single company, said he sees Synergy as a breakthrough offering for the channel.

"This makes us relevant to customers," said Strohl. "Synergy solves one of the biggest problems in the industry right now, which is moving workloads on-premise, off-premise and between clouds. It's a big opportunity that we're looking forward to."