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HP Discover US 2014. The Day 3 Buzz & Wrap Up

Series:

Today was the final day of HP Discover.

HP Software

There was meant to be a blogger Coffee Talk this morning from HP Software but I was the only one to attend. The HP Software division isn’t in my normal area of interest so was an opportunity to find out what its all about. Instead of having a group blogger chat, I spent an interesting hour with Paul Muller, VP of Strategic Marketing & Chief Evangelist who is a passionate, blunt, straight talking Aussie (the best kind!). If like me you are not aware of HPs software portfolio, it encompasses tools for Business Service Management, Network Management and Automation, Application Lifecycle Management, Quality and Performance Validation, Security, Automation and Cloud Management, Information Optimization, Big Data Analytics, IT Service Management and Mobile Application Development.

image That’s quite a broad portfolio. Products within these group I had heard of were LoadRunner, Fortify, TippingPoint, Arcsight, Cloud Service Automation, Autonomy but there are so many more. Paul explained how some integrate such as security with Big Data analysis so you can search all information leaving your company network and find out whether any sensitive information is escaping, not just looking for a “confidential” tag on a doc but deep inspection along with machine learning that can correlate patterns across multiple information sources.

Autonomy?

I flat out asked him what the hell happened with the Autonomy acquisition leading to many billions of dollars written down. He basically said there were customer satisfaction issues and things promised to customers that were not delivered. He couldn’t go into financials as there were legal ramifications but said things were improving and they were turning it around. Seems like due diligence wasn’t done properly or they didn’t think to ask customers beforehand, certainly not HPs finest hour. Despite the write-down and issues, Autonomy seems good tech and was powering the social media analysis at HP Discover. The keynote had a big segment on Autonomy and Big Data analysis so although expensive mistakes have been made if Big Data turns out to deliver even part of the hype then perhaps a few billion lost at the beginning won’t matter any more. Paul did agree with me that just like Cloud, Big Data is a useless catch-all phrase. He prefers to use the term connected intelligence.

How Autonomy sees the HP Discover Social Media buzz.

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I did mention that I like the new consistent HP UI across all their software, Paul said they were getting there, it certainly gives the impression of a more cohesive software experience across the portfolio.

Cloud

I then turned the conversation to cloud. Cloud for HP is very much an infrastructure piece with Converged Systems, OpenStack, SDN and storage being highlighted at Discover. I’ve said before they have a distinct advantage of being able to offer IaaS from any vendor, Microsoft, VMware, OpenStack etc which they can offer their enterprise customers. IaaS is heading more and more towards commodity which squeezes costs so I wanted to find what HPs platform and software strategy is to compete where the future money is going to be made. I asked about Cloud Foundry specifically which seems to be the platform of interest at the moment and Paul said with a twinkle in his eye that this is a space to watch very closely. Perhaps HP is going to offer either a manage Cloud Foundry installation for your private cloud or a hosted offering in their public cloud. Perhaps HP is going to integrate other virtualisation technologies like Docker? HP does have a Cloud Application Platform as a Service which is currently in private beta. It mentions Cloud Foundry based with secure containers so perhaps the private beta is where the action is!

I then challenged Paul on HPs message about cloud. The Converged System team had said that the HP Helion OpenStack systems were private cloud only. HP in fact do run a public cloud but this is run through Enterprise Services who obviously work closely with Converged Systems as their internal infrastructure provider so yes, Converged Systems is sold for private cloud but is used internally to run HPs public cloud. . We walked over to the booth to chat to the team who manage all the HP Discover demos which are all run from HPs OpenStack cloud. HP is making a big bet on OpenStack and wanting to be seen as a major contributor driving the development of open source clouds for the enterprise. I’m also seeing plenty of other opportunities for HP to integrate their security and analytics software products on top of Converged Systems.

personal-cloud-185x185.jpg (185×185)I said that HP needs to enhance its message that it can be all clouds to all people for their enterprise customers and put far more emphasis on public cloud messaging. Sure enterprises are going to be extremely slow to move their workloads to the public cloud, most are still struggling to get to grips with private cloud which in most cases is going to be seen as an interim step to public cloud. In my opinion, what HP should do is have a full suite of cloud offerings, both public and private and a strong message to go with it. You want private cloud either on your premises or as a managed but dedicated private service in an HP data center running VMware, OpenStack or Microsoft, we can sell you a converged system to do just that where you can guarantee your own resources and have ultimate control. But when you are ready to run any workloads in a public cloud, permanently or to burst into, we have that too. We run a public vCloud Director as well as OpenStack cloud that you can very easily move workloads in and out of and you can trust HP as your enterprise cloud provider to give you the performance and service guarantees that you cannot get from Amazon, VMware or Google directly. We have a single common management interface bridging the two cloud worlds that you can very easily consume, sort of similar to what Microsoft is doing with Azure and the Azure pack but multi-vendor, perhaps Helion can be a common interface between not just OpenStack but VMware as well. Up the stack, you want to run your applications on Cloud Foundry or other platforms, we have that too. Sure you can run Cloud Foundry elsewhere but again we are the company that can guarantee the performance and service that your enterprise needs. Basically if HP doesn’t offer a full suite of IaaS as well as PaaS public cloud services when the inevitable shift from today’s private cloud to tomorrow public cloud happens, enterprises customers will go elsewhere and that shift will be catastrophic for HP. This is all my speculation so perhaps they have different plans, whatever they are, they need to be big and innovative. Cloud is the present and the future, is HP able to execute against massive competition?

Aurasma

We then headed over to another booth where I actually saw the coolest technology from HP. All this infrastructure stuff although important isn’t particularly exciting. Paul showed me Aurasma, an augmented reality application with unlimited possibilities. Basically its either a standalone mobile app or can be integrated into anyone’s app. It uses image recognition from the camera and then overlays any type of information you want. Walk around a museum with your smartphone, point it at any object and it will allow you to spin it around in 3D, give you any type of contextual information and show what it would have looked like in its original place. Point it at a flower and it can tell you what it is and show a visualisation of its internal structure. Be an architect, look at your building blue prints and it can show what it would look like when built with you being able to add and remove layers with the flick of a finger. The tech came with the Autonomy purchase so there was some cool stuff involved whatever it cost!

Have a look at this demo!

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IoT

I went to an Innovation Theatre presentation on the Internet of Things and wearable computing. I was hoping they would show some cool products but it was more a talk about what the Internet of Things means and the staggering number of devices that will make it up. Lucky it was a short one.

OneView

I then had the chance to chat to Bryan Jacquot who is Chief Technologist of HP Converged Systems, basically the CTO for OneView and also Brent Allen, Group Manager of Converged Systems. I repeated some of the feedback I had given yesterday at the OneView stand particularly around HP SUM. I like OneView, I know its going to take a while to get everyone using it mainly because its not just a management tool but takes over operations of Virtual Connect, this transition need to be managed carefully as when you import a chassis and associate a SPP it will go ahead and upgrade the firmware on import, something you don’t want to do if you are not prepared!

We went through the new features of OneView 1.1. You can now get a version for Hyper-V, not just vSphere, there is vCOPS as well as Log Insight integration which is what HP now ships with Converged Systems for Virtualisation. This means you can now see hardware config correlation bubbled up to vCOPS and Log insight so you can see that a disk drive failure in your 3PAR may correlate to a performance change or a network uplink failure correspond to a drop in network throughput, very useful.

OneView is getting a lot of focus at HP, converged infrastructure is a bunch of components plugged together but its converged management that elevates the offering into something far smarter and scalable. You will have the same infrastructure management component whether you are managing a Converged System for VMware, Hyper-V, OpenStack or SAP HANA. I’m looking forward to having a look at some of the scripting options with PowerShell. Your ESXi install script (if you’re not using Image Builder obviously) just got a little smarter when you can point your script at OneView, provision 3PAR storage, create Ethernet Networks and Server Profiles all in one place.

Wrap Up

HP CEO Meg Whitman says HP has turned the corner, we’ll have to see whether she can actually steer the nearly 300,000 people into a profitable direction.

HP is obviously still working very hard on innovating at the hardware layer. Servers are getting smarter, Moonshot is being continually developed although I feel for now its very niche and HP is trying to find solutions for it that could run elsewhere as easily. “The Machine” is a hardware preview of a completely new way of designing compute, perhaps it will bear fruit one day but its still a long way off and redirecting the world to a new hardware standard isn’t going to be easy. Its Apollo HPC has extreme performance and although impressive, isn’t going to sell in huge numbers but I would think they are not cheap to buy so do add to the revenue stream. I just wonder how HP is going manage to still invest significant amounts of money in hardware R&D when hardware revenue continues to decline. IBM is giving up on the hardware business for this reason, can HP afford to continue?

Other than hardware, what are its future big bets with innovation, with HPs size and vast software portfolio, does it have the smarts and execution to write something groundbreaking? Can it develop for example the technology that will power, manage, analyse and integrate the IoT? HP has a great history and many clever people, hopefully all that talent can be used for something great.

Cloud wise, as already mentioned, I’m not convinced of its message. Will HP be a force in the future public cloud world or remain a private cloud hardware provider in a market that will rapidly decline in the future. What is its future PaaS and SaaS strategy where the future money will be? Can it ever hope to compete against Amazon, Microsoft and perhaps Google, the currently obvious public cloud winners?

Well, that is the end of HP Discover, a busy few days and a 15 hour travel to get home. Vegas weather is awesome compared to London! It was great to meet so many great people, have to chance for some interesting discussions with other bloggers who work in completely different areas of HP technology which helped expand my views. I also appreciated having excellent discussions with senior HP staff and hope to be able to share plenty more from them in the future.

HP paid for travel and accommodation to attend HP Discover but didn’t pay a penny for me to write anything good or bad about them.

Categories: HP, HP Discover Tags: , , , ,
  1. Michael Schweiger
    June 13th, 2014 at 20:19 | #1

    I just wish with all those development that they at one point bring a stable virtual connect / Emulex combo. operating 32 Blade Enclosures I’m always scared to bring a new SPP into development it might break things badly as in the past esp. in a vmware environment. Also Oneview looks very poor compared to the UCS Manager at the moment.

    • Julian Wood
      June 16th, 2014 at 13:34 | #2

      I agree Michael, there are just too many moving parts at the moment with all the different compatibilities to consider.

      I am still not confident to let HPSUM loose on a chassis and not be extremely worried about virtual connect firmware updating taking my blades off the network even though it should be seamless. However, I so think things are going to get better. At HP Discover I had the opportunity to speak to many executives. OneView is getting a huge amount of focus at HP. They recognise that unified management is the only way they can offer converged infrastructure and are doing as much as they can to ensure simplicity. Part of the reason OneView isn’t functionaly equivalent to the other products is they don’t want feature bloat. OneView is a 1st step to at least integrate VCEM,HPSIM & HPSUM. Based on the poor history of stable combos I really really hope they can achieve this. I’m going to reserve judgement until this is done.

      What I really want is less moving parts, perhaps Gen9s will have stateless firmware which could be part of the server profile and not have to be updated individually on the blades or at least held on the iLO which could be pushed out automatically by OneView and would just need a reboot to activate. This is all speculation but I’m really hoping HP reduce the amount of firmware and software required, at the moment it is still too complicated.

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