The new HPE: strategic partnership with Veeam, Nimble Storage acquisition and other business changes

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After Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Storage Division Senior Vice President Bill Philbin nailed his keynote session at VeeamON 2017, he and Nimble Storage (Division of HPE) VP of Product & Solutions Marketing Gavin Cohen shared their thoughts with Dave Vellante & Stu Miniman of theCUBE. The overall theme for both interviews was how HPE’s changing business model involves self-inflicted change to be ready for the future.

It’s no secret that HPE has gone through some painful changes over the past years, but this was all by design to morph the old HPE into a whole new HPE company that is poised to meet the needs of the new IT customer. Bill Philbin stated that customers will see this new HPE starting at HPE Discover in June, “You’ll see a whole new HPE company, just like a phoenix, we’re building a brand-new company because we made the hard decisions in the past year and now we are right-sized to move forward.” Bill reassured Dave Vellante of theCUBE that the trashing is over for HPE, while other companies have just started and hard work and business disruptions are still ahead for them.

One of those key changes was the announcement to spin-off HPE’s existing software division, designed to open up partner community involvement. It enables HPE to do what’s best for the customer. This is where Veeam Software fits into HPE’s future. When Dave Vellante asked Bill Philbin why the Veeam relationship has worked so well over this past year, he pointed out the following main reasons:

  • The first was trust; it started with the engineering teams and that was the basis of trust. Joint engineering was key to a success partnership.
  • The second is how HPE and Veeam have the same view of the market; whatever is best for the customer is a common theme. This becomes evident when customers run into issues; we work together to find a solution, no finger pointing involved.
  • Third, our companies are complementary. The Always-On Enterprise and Highly Available messages are tightly aligned and enable customers to deploy a joint solution that lowers risk and ensures resiliency.

The other key changes were the acquisition of game-changing companies like Nimble Storage and SimpliVity that give customers choice and limit operational complexity.

Hiding operational complexity is a key focus for HPE and it’s been a main value proposition for Nimble Storage for years, so the acquisition was much more than just acquiring another storage platform. For the loyal 10,000 + customers that purchased Nimble Storage in the past, it brought much more to IT shops than just fast storage. Nimble Storage enabled true predictive analytics to resolve and hide operational complexity. Gavin Cohen, VP of Product & Solutions Marketing at Nimble Storage stated that 86% of the problems that would require vendor support are indemnified and fixed with a feature embedded in Nimble called InfoSight. Lightyears ahead of the old phone home support systems, it provides predictive analytics to more than just Nimble storage. In fact, 54% of the issues that InfoSite resolves are not Nimble storage related, stated Gavin Cohen. It provides end-to-end predictive analytics that includes HBAs, servers, VMware settings and much more. Mr. Cohen says it solves the “Needle in the haystack problems and that’s what customers love about Nimble.” He mentioned that there are already plans to integrate the predictive analytics into other HPE storage platforms, hinting that HPE’s StoreServ 3PAR would be the logical first choice. As you can see, HPE has big plans for the Nimble Storage acquisition.

With all this talk about Nimble and new acquisitions, I’d be doing HPE’s storage flagship StoreServ 3PAR a huge disservice if I didn’t discuss it. Bill Philbin was quick to point out the phenomenal success of that platform over the past few years. Bill stated that “sometimes enduring technologies transition across architectural boundaries; that is exactly what we’ve done with 3PAR.” After the initial excitement with all the purpose-built all-flash products like Fusion IO and Violin Memory, eventually customers tired of all those additional assets because it ended up being “just one more thing in the data center.” And that’s when customers look for the bigger players like HPE StoreServ 3PAR All-Flash to not only gain the benefits of flash, but also simplify operational complexity with a single solution.

The new HPE is well on track to change the IT market as we know it today. One of Bill’s final statements was, “we must hide the technology behind the application to make it easy to consume, because that’s what the web offers today.” HPE has promised to provide customers choice without operational complexity and the self-inflicted business change they have done over the past year has made that possible.

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