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HPE Takes Aim At Nutanix With A 'Lower Cost,' More Capable Hyper-Converged Platform

Chuck Smith pitches Hewlett Packard Enterprise's hyper-converged offering to the TechSelect Partner Conference, with promise of better features and lots of Nutanix envy.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's hyper-converged offering has more capability, scalability and availability at a 25 to 30 percent lower cost than market leader Nutanix, according to a HPE executive.

"Our latest software release provides a lot of capability, better node support, better capability from a redundancy and high availability perspective, all at about a 25 to 30 percent lower cost [than Nutanix]," said Chuck Smith, vice president and general manager of HPE's data center and hybrid cloud group. "So we're focused on 'em, and we're coming at 'em."

HPE got into the hyper-converged market later than it would have liked from a platform perspective, Smith admitted Wednesday to the 275 attendees of the TechSelect 2016 Fall Partner Conference in Orlando. But now, Smith said HPE is the fastest-growing hyper-converged player in the market.

[RELATED: HPE Unveils Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Based On ProLiant DL380 Servers]

"Better capability, lower cost, better scalability, better availability from a platform perspective, all with the same ease of use which is kind of the customer experience that Nutanix was focusing on," Smith said. "And we're going to continue to invest here."

Nutanix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The San Jose, California hyper-converged infrastructure developer has also enjoyed stratospheric growth, with sales climbing from $127.1 million two years ago to $241.4 million last year to $444.9 million in its most recent fiscal year, which ended July 31.

Nutanix had nearly 3,800 end-user customers of its hyper-converged infrastructure system as of July 31, including 310 global 2000 enterprises. And the company raised a higher-than-expected $238 million in an initial public offering (IPO) last month.

Smith, though, touted that HPE's hyper-converged offering is integrated into the company's well-respected management schema, which he said is highly valued by many of the Palo Alto, California company's customers. Smith told TechSelect members to watch for a software release in the next six to eight weeks, which he said will propel HPE even further in a variety of hyper-converged features.

"The push to integrate systems together and create a software stack that lands on commoditized or standardized hardware is driving a lot of our development and the competitive context that we have to deal with," Smith said.

Nutanix's analysis of its competitive environment listed HPE as one of the traditional IT systems vendors operating in an "intensely competitive enterprise infrastructure market," according to a S-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month.

DataVizion recently sold its first few hyper-converged deals through HPE, said Nick Patrick, vice president of sales for the Lincoln, Nebraska-based Tech Data partner. Patrick said DataVizion found it easy to discuss hyper-converged infrastructure with HPE, and was very pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to deploy the hyper-converged infrastructure.


"With the size of HPE and their background, I imagine they'll do well in the hyper-converged space," Patrick said.

HPE's commitment to achieving a best-in-class portfolio is reflected in its May launch of Hyper Converged 380, Smith said, which combines enterprise-class features and scalability with an easy-to-use software stack that allows virtual machines to be installed in just five clicks.

From there, Smith said HPE is evolving from hyper-converged to composable infrastructure based off its Synergy platform, which is a set of open APIs that leverage software intelligence to deploy workloads seamlessly in complex hybrid IT environments.

Plus, Smith said HPE can drop its Helion cloud system – a multivendor hybrid cloud orchestration, automation, monitoring and management platform - on top of that to deliver on-premises cloud capability supported by flexible capacity and data center care.

HPE's new organizational structure pairs its converged data center, Helion and essential software offerings into a Software-Defined and Cloud group. That group and HPE's Data Center Infrastructure Group will come together to form a Data Center and Hybrid Cloud group, which is being led by Smith in North America.

HPE is the world's largest provider of private cloud, servers, and total storage, Smith said, and second-largest provider of wired and wireless networking.

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