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Roll up, roll up, HPE's composable infra charabanc is coming

Is your IT department full of monsters? HPE seems to think so

HPE Discover 2018 HPE is updating its wares to reduce the skill level needed to deploy its so-called composable infrastructure.

Composable infrastructure is its fancy term for pools of networking, storage, and compute resources, all managed as one platform through software and automation, and not necessarily hosted all on-premises. It can look like hyperconverged infrastructure if you squint enough.

At its Discover shindig, which is taking place this week in Spain, the manufacturer said it is “unveiling the next phase of its composable strategy,” which, so far, means:

  • Updates to HPE Onesphere, its as-a-service hybrid cloud management suite.
  • The unveiling of Composable Cloud for Proliant DL, which builds on its composable infrastructure software to wrangle rack-mounted servers.
  • And Composable Cloud for Synergy, that configures and manages, you guessed it, its Synergy rack-mounted machines.

It describes the kit as giving buyers “more choice across composable infrastructure building blocks – including, for the first time, rack servers through HPE Composable Cloud for ProLiant DL, or the industry-leading HPE Synergy platform through HPE Composable Cloud for Synergy – to compose any workload, any service and across any cloud." This, said the company, “enables IT to operate like a hyperscale cloud provider without requiring network expertise.”

In other words, it should, in theory, be easier to collectively configure and manage public and private cloud resources using HPE gear than before. Additionally, HPE's Composable Fabric, which was introduced inside Synergy, will be available more widely. "This solution enables IT to operate like a hyperscale cloud provider without requiring network expertise,” according to HPE's announcement. "The new Composable Fabric feature on the HPE ProLiant DL server radically simplifies traditional data center networking by self-configuring the network and delivering dynamic workload balancing..." and yeah, you get the idea.

“Today’s announcement of the HPE Composable Cloud for ProLiant DL and HPE Composable Cloud for Synergy delivers unprecedented customer choice and scale across all clouds," Phil Davis, HPE’s prez for all things hybrid IT, beamingly burbled. "With our new open hybrid cloud platform, enterprises of all sizes can now manage, provision and deliver workloads and apps instantly and continuously to accelerate innovation.”

During press briefings on Monday, HPE was keen to sell the idea that corporate customers just want the operational and financial convenience of having all their IT delivered as-a-service. This involves presenting services as your own private cloud, and blending these features with off-prem public platforms, mixing and matching capabilities as required. This hybrid approach is supposed to give IT departments the ability to dynamically run certain workloads, and store certain data, on site, and allocate elastic resources in the cloud to remaining tasks.

In reality, it's not so simple.

“I think a lot of customers were hopeful, two or three years ago, that public cloud would simplify things but in fact it’s made everything more complicated… customers are going to want it as a service where they can scale up, scale down and only pay for what they consume,” Davis opined.

In terms of when you can get your mitts on the new gear:

  • HPE Composable Cloud for ProLiant DL rack servers will initially roll out in the US, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and Australia starting in Q1 2019.
  • HPE SimpliVity with Composable Fabric will be available December 2018 in those places.
  • HPE OneSphere is currently available in the US, UK and Ireland, with additional geographies targeted in the coming year.

In an August conference call with financial analysts, HPE chief exec Antonio Neri said “the hyperconverged [product line] continues to grow very, very nicely.” With revenues gently increasing, doubtless there’s something in it. ®


HPE tried to sell its vision with a rather odd corporate video of a large, red, not-quite-Cookie-Monster beast causing problems with various business scenarios.

“IT can grow out of control,” intoned the narrator as definitely-not-Cookie-Monster rolled around on the middle of a conference table, obscuring a projector. “With HPE, we help you tame the beast,” he continued, as the IT monster vanished in a puff of green smoke.

We are not sure whether HPE intended to depict IT departments as an uncontrollable monster causing corporate havoc, nor whether the idea they wanted to convey is that their kit makes your IT department vanish overnight.

The video stopped before exploring the theme “what happens to your business when all of your techies take a hike?” Perhaps the latter is a subtle message to CFOs?

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