HP Enterprise won’t exist as a company until HP officially splits sometime before Nov. 1. But we have some idea of CEO Meg Whitman’s plans for that half of the company, based on the outline she gave Tuesday during her HP Discover keynote.
Discover, being held in Las Vegas, is HP’s annual conference for customers and partners. (Disclosure: I attended Discover as a paid speaker, chairing the company’s annual NFV roundtable.)
HP Enterprise, which will retain Whitman as CEO, is the half of HP that will include networking and cloud technologies, whereas the future HP Inc. will take the printer and PC businesses. The enterprise side of the business was the focus during Whitman’s Tuesday afternoon keynote.
Her metaphor for HP Enterprise was a bridge, connecting an enterprise’s current IT operations to the point they’ll need to reach tomorrow. The key is that HP (we’ll drop “Enterprise” for the rest of this story, since these details pertain to the current HP as well) won’t dictate how this transition will occur, Whitman said. HP wants to create customized plans for an enterprise’s IT evolution.
“It takes more than services, more than technology, more than software,” Whitman said, after stating that many competitors focus on just one of those aspects. “It requires a transformation partner able to bring all these elements together.”
Whitman divided that mission into four pieces:
- Transforming an enterprise’s IT operations to a hybrid cloud model
- Protection — encompassing not just network security but also disaster recovery and remote backups
- Turning enterprises into data-driven organizations capable of near-real-time decision-making
- Creating a digital workplace to increase productivity.
HP’s Hybrid Cloud Plan
That first step — moving to the hybrid cloud — is particularly important to the future of enterprise IT, Whitman and other executives asserted. They encouraged customers to get bold about migrating to the cloud.
“You have to make leaps, not just steps, to hybrid,” said Mike Nefkens, executive vice president of what’s currently being called HP’s enterprise services group. “Sometimes it’s best to move straight to cloud, even for old, non-virtualized environments.”
If that sounds scary, it’s intentional, since HP wants to be the sherpa leading enterprises to this promised land of cloud. “It will be different for every one of you, and the journey is not linear,” Nefkens said.
One of HP’s most powerful tools for the transition to hybrid cloud is its management and orchestration software. But that’s difficult to glorify in a general-audience keynote.
Instead, the company gave a few seconds of spotlight to some new storage announcements, including a new flash drive with capacity of nearly 4 TBytes, and a rack-based system holding 12 petabytes.
HP also announced Helion CloudSystem 9.0, the latest version of its complete software for running a cloud.
Among the new features is support for Amazon Web Services (AWS). That’s courtesy of Eucalyptus, the startup HP acquired last fall. AWS support was a particular focus for Eucalyptus’ cloud fabric controller.
Converging With Arista
Among HP’s other announcements at Discover was a converged-infrastructure partnership with Arista Networks. In a setup that seems designed to combat VCE, the former joint venture now controlled by EMC, Arista will provide networking to be integrated with HP’s compute and storage.
HP has its own networking, so the company can do converged infrastructure all by itself. But Arista provides another option at the high end and has a proven track record in going up against Cisco in the market.