Partners: HPE Acquisition Will 'Kill' BlueData-Dell EMC Offerings


Hewlett Packard Enterprise's deal to acquire BlueData, an artificial intelligence and machine learning big data software provider whose backers include Dell Technologies Capital, is likely to put an end to BlueData's partnership with Dell EMC, solution providers said.

"There is no way the Dell-BlueData partnership is going to survive this," said Raymond Tuchman, CEO of Experis Technology Group, Potomac, Md., one of HPE's top enterprise partners. "This is going to kill the Dell-BlueData deal. We saw the same thing happen when HPE acquired Plexxi."

CRN reached out to HPE and BlueData on how the HPE acquisition would impact the Dell EMC offerings but had not heard back at press time.

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Dell for its part said in a statement to CRN: “We’ll continue to support our joint customers as BlueData joins HPE.”Given Dell Technologies Capital's investment in BlueData, Dell probably had right of first refusal on an acquisition, said Tuchman. "Since Dell Technologies was a BlueData investor they probably had to approve the deal," said Tuchman. "My bet is Dell passed on this deal."

The HPE acquisition comes just 10 weeks after BlueData announced that new Dell EMC-ready solutions for big data were being powered by BlueData EPIC software. In fact, BlueData claimed those Dell systems were delivering up to 75 percent lower cost than bare-metal deployments while increasing server utilization by up to 350 percent.

BlueData said the Dell EMC Ready Solutions for big data were pre-tested and validated on Dell EMC servers, storage, networking and services optimized for specific use cases such as big data analytics and machine learning.

Besides that, in an April press release, Dell Technologies Capital cited BlueData as a Dell EMC Technology Connect Partner. "The two companies have a go-to-market relationship enabling on-demand agility and cost savings for big data analytics, data science and machine learning in the enterprise," said Dell Technologies Capital.

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider, said he also expects the HPE acquisition to negate BlueData's deal in September to put its software on Dell EMC systems. "HPE is buying BlueData, and there is no way they are going to continue the deal with Dell once the acquisition is finalized," he said.

Goldstein said it is likely that Dell has an alternative plan to counter the HPE-BlueData offering. "It's not smart to second guess [Dell Technologies founder and CEO] Michael Dell," he said. "I am sure Michael has an AI/machine learning/big data plan that will be very compelling for Dell partners and customers. It's a crazy industry. Sometimes what you think you have in one hand shows up in another hand."

BlueData also has a strong connection with VMware, which is owned by Dell Technologies. In fact, BlueData was founded by VMware veterans, including co-founder and CEO Kumar Sreekanti, the former vice president of VMware research and development from 2009 to 2012.

Tuchman said the VMware connection is no surprise given that BlueData is effectively virtualizing big data-based systems with its software.

The BlueData software hypothetically takes a $2.5 million big data project and brings it down to about $1 million as a result of virtualizing the big data container environment, said Tuchman. "With BlueData you can run multiple big data projects on a single platform, he said. "Besides that, you can spin up big data projects very quickly. It's a very disruptive software product. It's pretty funny that Dell Technologies Capital was one of their investors."

BlueData's first partnership with HPE came in October, 2016, when it joined HPE's Partner Ready Technology Partner Program. Under that deal, the two companies were working together to accelerate big data projects and lower the total cost of ownership of Hadoop, Spark and other big data related deployments.

In a blog post, Sreekanti said he was thrilled to "announce that BlueData will be joining forces with one of the legendary giants of Silicon Valley."

"This is a huge milestone for our company," he said. "I’m excited about our future as part of HPE and the impact this will have on the overall AI, machine learning, and big data analytics market."

By combining BlueData with HPE’s "strong brand, global reach,and broad portfolio including the HPE Apollo Systems, and enterprise relationships," Sreekanti said BlueData will be able to "double down" on its investment in R&D innovation and reinforce its "technology differentiation" for AI and big data analytics infrastructure.

Sreekanti did give a nod to investors in the blog post saying the company was "fortunate to find the right investors and partners" who believed in BlueData. He also singled out a funding round in 2015 that coincided with a "strategic collaboration" with early investor Intel.