CEO Whitman: HPE's Hybrid IT Innovation Is Saving Customers Staring Into Public Cloud 'Abyss'

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman Monday said the company's hybrid IT innovation is saving customers that are staring into a public cloud "abyss."

"The reality is that while we keep hearing the hype that everything is moving to the public cloud, it is just not happening," said Whitman rallying several thousand HPE partners at the company's Global Partner Summit to take the hybrid IT high ground. "In fact, according to [market researcher] IDC, 53 percent of enterprises have or are considering bringing their workloads back on-premises, and I am willing to bet that percentage is going to increase."

Many enterprise organizations that went all-in with public cloud are standing on the edge of a public "cloud cliff" that leaves them staring into an "abyss," said Whitman.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Whitman On New Products, Dell EMC's 'Old Technology' Bet, Cisco's UCS-VCE Data Center Dilemma And Her Future Plans]

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"Whether for reasons of cost or security or performance, the public cloud was no longer the best option for them," she said. "These customers don't want to just unplug. They want to scale to a hybrid environment that is developer-friendly and gives their business more control and better total cost of ownership."

A major factor in the hybrid IT renaissance is a new wave of infrastructure innovation from HPE including Synergy composable infrastructure, which has made it easy for customers to compose "bare metal hardware as a pool of resources" that resembles public cloud, said Whitman.

HPE partners, for their part, say the the vendor's all-out hybrid IT innovation offensive is allowing them to drive sales growth against public cloud providers.

CB Technologies, an Orange, Calif., based HPE Platinum partner, was singled out for its Cloud@scale managed private cloud solution, which offers increased security compliance versus public cloud at a 35 percent to 50 percent cost savings.

LiquidSky, a cloud service which allows gamers to install and play any game, embraced the CB Technologies Cloud@scale offering because it provided better performance and economics in a more robust managed cloud environment, said LiquidSky CEO Ian McLoughlin in a video testimonial shown at the conference.

"We started the company on a public cloud infrastructure, but over time as we grew we needed to move towards a private cloud solution," said McLoughlin. "Cloud@scale was great for us because it gave us the speed and drove in the ease-of-use that we had with public cloud. HPE gave us more bang for the buck. We can actually fit double the amount of users per server, which gives us much better economics.''

CB Technologies President Jason Mendenhall said there are more than two dozen customers in the Cloud@scale sales pipeline that moved aggressively to the public cloud and are now looking for a more economical and secure managed private cloud offering.

Cloud@scale is resonating with customers who are being hit by public cloud bills as high as several hundred thousand dollars to even $1 million a month, said Mendenhall."These big companies have been in public cloud, they are seeing the challenges and now they are looking at coming back," he said. "We're also seeing lot of opportunities from late adopters who are now thinking they don't need to go to public cloud. It's not the end of public cloud. Let's be very clear about that. It is not an either/or story. It is hybrid."

Mendenhall credited HPE with driving an unprecedented level of innovation with offerings like Synergy. "Synergy is helping customers go from public to private cloud," he said.

Whitman, for her part, said Synergy, which she has hailed as one of the biggest breakthroughs from HPE in the last decade, is a "game changer" for companies interested in keeping applications on-premises. The composable infrastructure offering has already been adopted by 400 customers with a growing sales pipeline, she said.

"Synergy turns the table on public cloud in terms of cost, performance and control, and helps our customers rapidly spin up new environments," said Whitman. "It's the perfect solution for a $22 billion blade refresh opportunity, whether it is our C-class blades or [Cisco] UCS or [Dell EMC] VxRail, It is a brand new category, and no other company in our industry has a product like this."

HPE stepped up the Synergy offensive this week with a significant expansion of the product line aimed at delivering a stronger platform on which to build a wide range of new services. 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.

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.

Lisa Harper, the CEO of TouchPoint, an HPE partner based in Jacksonville, Fla., told Global Partner Summit attendees that Synergy has provided TouchPoint with a breakthrough offering that is highly differentiated versus Cisco or Dell EMC. "The biggest benefit to me is we can now walk into those Dell and Cisco accounts who have never opened the door to us," she said. "This gives us the ability to say, 'we can make your world better and, by the way, it is not going to cost your more.'"

Harry Zarek, CEO of Compugen, one of HPE's top enterprise partners, No. 63 on the CRN 2017 Solution Provider 500, applauded HPE for making big innovation bets with products like Synergy. He said it is those kinds of bets that are helping Compugen drive double-digit HPE sales growth. "I give HPE a lot of credit for innovating and differentiating themselves in the market," he said. "They are a top-notch partner for us."