Synergy, Project 'New Stack' Included In HPE's Platform For The Future Data Center

Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Monday launched a significant expansion of its HPE Synergy Composable Infrastructure aimed at delivering a stronger platform on which to build a wide range of new services.

The company also unveiled "Project New Stack," a new offering that would allow its Composable Infrastructure platform to span both on-premises and the public cloud. The announcement was made at HPE Discover 2017 in Las Vegas.

The latest iteration of HPE Synergy has significant enhancements to the compute, storage and networking technology, along with technology integration partnerships that allow channel partners bring new solutions to clients.

[Related: 9 Things Partners Need To Know About HPE's $1B Acquisition Of Nimble Storage]

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HPE started shipping Synergy, its composable infrastructure platform, about four months ago. The company has already gained about 400 customers for the offering, said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for HPE’s software-defined and cloud group.

Synergy combines compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources into a single offering with a unified management interface. Because it provides a platform to deploy and redeploy resources through software-defined constructs, Synergy enables partners to go beyond converged infrastructure and start transforming themselves into service providers, Miller told CRN.

"[It can] compose resources and then recompose them based on changing needs," he said. "It’s a fully integrated software, hardware, storage fabric. Some of the key use cases are full software-defined infrastructure for fast Infrastructure-as-a-Service, a platform for agile DevOps, and the ultimate platform for a private cloud."

Synergy’s key differentiator lies in it being a "stateless" platform, or a platform that does not require pre-installed operating systems, patches and configurations before deployment, Miller said.

"You use a software-defined template to say, 'Make this server look like a SQL server,'" he said. "You don’t want a SQL server? Make it seem like an Exchange server. You provide the blueprint and the recipe, and Synergy automatically configures itself that way … No other infrastructure can do that."

HPE CEO Meg Whitman told CRN that Synergy offers partners not only an opportunity to build services and cloud platforms, but also gives them a strong alternative to traditional blade servers.

"The easiest way to sell Synergy is as blades but only better," Whitman said. "Partners should go back to their HPE installed base of blades and say, 'It is your lucky day. We have the greatest new blade architecture that has a whole lot more than blades.'"

With HPE's New Stack project, the company aims to bring its converged infrastructure from an on-premises focused offering to one that allows customers a complete view of assets both on-premises and in the cloud, Miller said.

"We want to let customers bring Synergy across virtual machines or containers or bare metal to work on-premises or in public clouds," he said.

New Stack, which is slated to be in beta testing this fall and general availability by year-end, will provide single-pane-of-glass management and monitoring of a customer's Composable Infrastructure, and allow the deployment of public clouds, Miller said.

"Today's hybrid environments still have silos," he said. "But customers want to manage their environments as a whole, with similar analysis and provisioning tools across the board."

With New Stack, HPE has two primary targets, Miller said.

The first are line-of-business managers looking to collect health analytics and cost analytics to decide where a given application might be optimally deployed, he said. These managers can use that information to manage the consumption of data center resources instead of the infrastructure itself, he said.

The second are developers who will have access to a developers portal that will give them the tools needed to prepare applications, Miller said.

New Stack will also make it easier for line-of-business managers and developers to work together, he said. "There's a lot of friction today between developers and line of business managers," he said. "The line of business managers are responsible for security and cost, but developers just want to develop. The New Stack portal lets them collaborate."

HPE has brought in a number of new technology partnerships to help build its Synergy ecosystem. This includes integration with Mesosphere to help IT and DevOps people automate deployment and streamline operations of Mesosphere Enterprise DC/OS.

The company is also providing Cirba integration to automate provisioning and provide predictive capacity management with virtualized workloads. HPE also has enhanced Synergy by opening its HPE OneView management offering for integration with Red Hat OpenShift to enable IT operations and application development teams improve application delivery speed.

In addition, HPE is introducing three sales plays for partners, Miller said.

The first is helping partners show existing HPE customers how Synergy will improve their data center infrastructures with lower initial and overall costs and software-defined speed and cloud efficiencies, he said.

The second focuses on competing with the Cisco Unified Computing System platform with a lower initial purchase price, a 15 percent better total cost of ownership, and a 10x improvement in bandwidth capacity, he said.

The third is to show customers how easy Synergy can stand up a private cloud with a few clicks on a cloud catalog and then letting Synergy automatically handle the provisioning, he said.

Synergy will be a big part of updating customers' existing HPE C7000 converged infrastructure infrastructures, said Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider and longtime HPE channel partner.

Sequel Data Systems has sold the C7000 since 2006, and while HPE had done a good job in improving it over the years, customers are ready for Synergy, Case told CRN. "Synergy is future-proofed," he said. "It will handle all the next-generation technologies."