HPE President Neri: OneSphere Will Result In Up To 40 Percent Cost Savings Through Multi-Cloud Management

Hewlett Packard Enterprise President Antonio Neri says the company's breakthrough OneSphere multi-cloud management product will result in cost savings of 20 to 40 percent for customers grappling with where to get the biggest bang for their buck from both private and public cloud.

Neri said the Software as a Service (SaaS) platform – unveiled at the company's Discover conference Tuesday – for the first time brings "financial transparency" to the perennial problem of determining where customers should move workloads to – either on-premise private, or off-premise public cloud – to get the best performance at the lowest cost.

"We know when we go to an on-prem infrastructure you can save 30 to 40 percent," said Neri, who will take the CEO job effective Feb. 1, succeeding HPE CEO Meg Whitman. "We believe with the full automation of this platform we actually can save customers between 20 to 40 percent depending on what the infrastructure is and what the workload is."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Incoming HPE CEO Neri On Delivering Public Cloud Economics On-Prem, 'Everything As-A-Service' And Why HPE's 'Channel First' Model Will Never Change]

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Neri, who takes the HPE CEO post effective Feb. 1, says the lack of a hybrid IT platform like OneSphere has resulted in customers "over-provisioning" virtual machines in cloud deployments. Through the Software as a Service (SaaS) portal HPE OneSphere will allow customers to optimize workloads based on cost and performance in both on-premise private cloud and public clouds, said Neri.

"One of the things that we know is customers are over-provisioning their infrastructure off-prem, and they are over-provisioning the size of the VM," he said. "Now we can give them the true understanding of what that needs to be, and that adds up to cost benefits they can realize."

HPE said OneSphere – which will work with both Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and private clouds – brings much-needed analytics to multi-cloud management so customers and partners can optimize on-prem and off-prem workloads. The product works with VMware virtual machines, containers and bare metal servers. OneSphere begins shipping in January.

HPE expects to add artificial intelligence capabilities (AI) to OneSphere in the future, said Neri. "My vision of this platform for the future is you can put artificial intelligence in it, and then you can automate tasks in real time," he said. "For example, if you had under-utilized infrastructure on-prem it would look to run that on-prem versus renting another VM off-prem."

The new platform also opens the door to "business model innovation" for partners to dramatically increase sales and profits in the hybrid IT era, said Neri.

"For us, it is not only making the customer environment simple to manage but making it easy for partners to add their own value and services on top of the platform," said Neri. "This is a SaaS platform. They can add it on the go and continue to add services in the catalog for whatever customer needs they want to meet. This is a game changer of many dimensions for partners. They can be the trusted advisor to create hybrid IT for customers, and they can make more money because they are adding more services on top of the platform."

Neri said the business model innovation of OneSphere combined with the HPE GreenLake pay-per-use workload model opens the door for partners to make money with both on-premise hardware and the subscription-based services, What's more, he said, partners, can even offer their own managed services on the platform.

Partners, for their part, said they see the long-awaited OneSphere as a much needed competitive weapon to drive sales growth as customers grapple with where to put workloads to get the best performance at the lowest cost.

Dan Molina, chief technology officer at Nth Generation Computing, one of HPE's top enterprise partners headquartered in San Diego, No. 359 on the 2017 CRN SP500, said OneSphere is guaranteed to provide better economics in a cloud sprawl world.

"This provides customers a much need management platform to provision on-premise and public clouds and then manage the consumption across all of the multiple cloud vendors," said Molina. "We used to have VM sprawl. Now it is cloud sprawl. What customers are finding is public cloud bills start out reasonable and then grow over time. Customers need a solid way to monitor and to see if a different landing zone – whether on-premise or a different public cloud – is a better fit for those workloads. I see tremendous benefits with this platform. This is one of the HPE product releases that has got me the most excited."

Molina said he expects OneSphere to help drive significant hybrid IT sales growth for HPE partners. "This is a significant breakthrough," he said. "Customers are looking for a management platform that provides visibility across multiple clouds. It is going to be a very attractive new offering to many of our customers. I expect very strong sales potential."

HPE's ability to provide effective metering of both public and on-premise workloads as a result of its acquisition earlier this year of Cloud Cruiser is a huge competitive advantage for partners, said Molina. "Integrating that software into a comprehensive platform like OneSphere to manage on-premise clouds and public clouds is brilliant," he said. "This is going to help customers make that multi-cloud journey."

Erik Krucker, CTO at Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner and No. 379 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, one of the top health care solution providers in the country, called OneSphere a "big game changer that is going to get a lot of customers to take a second look at HPE."

The Cloud Cruiser capabilities in OneSphere are key to helping customers manage the spend in an era when customers are increasingly finding themselves surprised month to month by public cloud bills, said Krucker.

"This is going to prevent customers from being surprised one month to the next on cloud workload costs," he said. "A lot of customers aren't even thinking about the variable cost of clouds. The reality is there is variable spend in every single one of the public clouds. You can be very easily surprised by your AWS or Azure bill month to month. To be able to control provisioning on-premise private and public cloud has huge implications. This shows customers that HPE is not just an infrastructure company but a company that will help manage IT from soup to nuts on both public and private clouds."

The benefits of the hybrid cloud provisioning in OneSphere are only going to increase with hybrid IT accelerating, said Krucker. "With everything going hybrid these are the kind of tools we need," he said. "I have been looking at a bunch of products that have been doing this for a while and they are good on the public cloud side, but they have no capabilities on the private cloud."

Ric Lewis, senior vice president and general manager of HPE’s Software-Defined and Cloud Group, called OneSphere's ability to do multi-cloud management – both on premise and off premise public clouds –an "industry first."

It is truly groundbreaking in that it covers all kinds of workloads and covers on-prem and off-prem assets like no one else has in the industry to date," said Lewis.

Bryan Jacquot, an HPE architect, said the platform enables customers to roll up multi-cloud usage and cost-based "in any way the users want" based on their custom tags. Customers can look at the "costs on a per line of business basis, by the environment or by a service tier," he said.

In fact, Jacquot said a line-of-business executive could drill down on costs associated with multiple clouds. "They can drill down to understand what is happening and see the actual costs incurred in the various cloud services both on-premises and in public clouds," he said. "Using these insights and analytics customers can identify under-utilized resources and take the appropriate steps to remediate those opportunities to lower costs and increase utilization."

Lewis, for his part, said the OneSphere dashboard provides cost, utilization and performance all in one space for customers and partners. "In the end, they can optimize their ROI (return on investment) in all of their assets – not just their public cloud assets but they're on-prem assets and really have no surprises around op-ex (operating expenditure) costs," he said.

A Fortune 100 global manufacturer headquartered in the Midwest is using OneSphere to gain "control of the utilization and spend" of its silos of clouds across multiple geographies, said Lewis. "They can now discover all of those clouds and all that on-prem infrastructure, show it in one common pane of glass with one common language of cost, break down those costs and utilization and manage the disparate systems," said Lewis. "They are really happy with where we are at."

Another OneSphere flagship customer testing the product is using it to do workload deployment in both on-premise private and off-premise public cloud – including bare metal, containers and virtual machines - with the ability to "control" costs and do lifecycle management, said Lewis. "The benefits they are already seeing is speed of development through accelerated DevOps," he said.

The customer is seeing increased application portability moving containers back and forth between on-prem and off premise as a result of the multi-cloud cost "insights" gained from OneSphere, said Lewis. "They can move those and see the cost of running here versus there so they can optimize," he said.

That beta tester customer is already "very happy with OneSphere, and we haven't even officially shipped it yet," said Lewis.