LAS VEGAS — Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) CEO Antonio Neri pledged to invest $4 billion in edge technologies and services over the next four years. That HPE investment will fund what Neri called “intelligent edge” research and development around connectivity, security, edge computing, automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).
“The edge is where you manufacture your products, where your employees work every day,” he said during his HPE Discover keynote. “The edge is everywhere technology gets put into action and I believe the edge is the next big opportunity for all of us. With this investment we are accelerating our ability to innovate even faster.”
Neri name dropped a couple of these new intelligent edge products. First, there’s Aruba’s Software-Defined Branch architecture, announced earlier at the conference. This new edge offering bundles SD-WAN, wired, and wireless networking technologies, along with unified security and policy enforcement.
He also teased new edge-to-cloud products and services powered by the company’s Edgeline converged infrastructure systems. “Through this new family of products and services we will enable you to run unmodified enterprise-class applications and services from the edge so you can make your hybrid IT simple,” Neri said. “These products are just the tip of the spear for this new, exciting emerging intelligent edge.
“We believe the enterprise of the future will be edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven,” Neri said, adding that HPE will be the partner to “help you connect all your data, all your edges, all your clouds, everywhere.”
And moving from the edge to the cloud, Neri pointed to another HPE service launched at the company’s annual conference: HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud, which is a managed hybrid cloud service. This new service allows companies to manage costs and automate compliance across clouds and on-premises environments.
“The world is hybrid today,” Neri said. “It means your applications and your data will live in hybrid clouds designed specifically to your business needs. It’s not just about finding the right mix, but implementing it the right way. The good news: we have an answer to this. HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud.”
HPE isn’t the only company pitching an edge-to-cloud strategy. It’s competing against software giants like Microsoft and VMware as well as traditional infrastructure vendors like Cisco and Dell EMC — all of which are beefing up their edge offerings.
In April, Microsoft said it will invest $5 billion in IoT and edge technologies over the next four years. This pledge came a week after a companywide reorganization that positioned cloud and cloud products as Microsoft’s future.
VMware continues to stretch its virtual networking and security technologies from edge to cloud. And the topic of edge computing and related security challenges came up multiple times at its annual research and development conference earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Cisco’s working to add intent-based networking to the Viptela SD-WAN technology it acquired 10 months ago. Once this happens — in an estimated 12 to 18 months — SD-WAN customers will have additional capabilities such as software-defined access and will be able to extend security policy from the cloud to the branch to the LAN.
And at Dell Technologies’ annual conference last month, CEO Michael Dell touted his company’s software-defined and AI technologies as the path toward making sense of the massive influx of data that companies are generating. “And not just for the cloud, you’ll need it for the edge, too,” Dell said.
Neri Rolls Up His Sleeves
While it’s too early to say how HPE will do in winning customers with its edge-to-cloud products and services, at least one analyst said he came away from Neri’s Discover keynote impressed.
“The GreenLake Hybrid Cloud, if HPE can execute, is huge as it places in the public cloud revenue stream and delivers to multi-cloud enterprises what they want,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. “The Aruba SD-Branch announcement to me is a natural for Aruba given the needs in the market and its competitiveness on the edge.”
Neri took the reins from former HPE CEO Met Whitman in February, and Moorhead said Neri’s first Discover keynote as CEO signaled a big change from Whitman’s tenure.
“Antonio Neri did a good job at his first Discover keynote as the HPE leader,” Moorhead said. “It was definitely the Antonio show as he rolled up his sleeves, without a coat, which signaled to me he wants to ‘get to work.’ He talked nearly the entire keynote, too, a big change from when Meg Whitman was in charge, indicating to me his ‘hands-on’ approach in the future. I think at this stage of HPE that is a good thing.”
Photo: HPE CEO Antonio Neri delivers a keynote at the annual Discover conference.