Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s new software portfolio includes container orchestration and management, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning(ML)AI/ML and data analytics, cost control, IT automation and AI-driven operations, and security.
Image: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

During the keynote at the HPE Discover Virtual Experience on Tuesday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri asked John Chambers for advice on how to navigate the business impact of the coronavirus. The former Cisco chairman has perfected the art of adapting after living through six market crises during his career.

“I’ve seen the movie several times, and the playbook is remarkably repeatable,” Chambers said. “The crisis always lasts longer and goes deeper than you think it will.”

Chambers had this advice:

  1. Don’t hide: Be transparent with and available to employees
  2. Be realistic about the impact
  3. Identify five to seven the platforms or focus areas that will lead your company through the crisis
  4. Anticipate the elements, and paint that picture for employees
  5. Regularly communicate back about how the company is making progress
  6. Identify the new big bets the company is going to make
  7. Figure out what the company will look like in two to four years.

“You have to figure out what you are going to do differently to compete against the new business models that have come out of the crisis, not your current competitors,” Chambers said.

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Originally HPE Discover was scheduled to be held this week in Las Vegas, but the company announced in April that it was switching to a virtual event. The two main days are June 23-24, but the virtual event will continue through July 29 with more than 150 sessions and more than 100 speakers delivering info online.

Ezmeral and GreenLake cloud services

Neri’s vision for HPE’s strategy for success in a COVID-19 world is to use digital architecture to disrupt competitors and help customers succeed with digital transformation projects. HPE’s new software portfolio Ezmeral and expanded GreenLake cloud services move the company closer to the goal of delivering everything as-a-service by 2022.

Neri said the expansion of GreenLake offerings and the launch of Ezmeral will allow customers to leverage existing infrastructure investments and run cloud-native and non-cloud-native applications in the same environment.

“We have an architecture to be able to provision services at the speed of the business and process data where it is being generated, which is more important than ever,” he said.

Neri said that businesses must be digitally native in everything they do to survive in the new normal.

“The future everyone talked about before the pandemic is here ahead of schedule,” he said during the keynote speech.

HPE is also clearly aware of the cloud cost concerns that many customers have. Neri said that many companies have two diverging operational models: One in the cloud and one on-prem and that they are paying higher costs to maintain both.

The GreenLake customers pay for what they use instead of a set fee. The new GreenLake services do not charge data egress fees or require new licenses to change cloud providers.

“You are not locked in, and you can move the workloads to any public cloud later if that makes sense to you,” Neri said. “We can advise you on the placement of your workloads to get the right mix across your hybrid estate.”

HPE’s response to the pandemic

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, HPE helped to create a 4,000-bed field hospital in London, convert a ship to a hospital in Italy, and provide Wi-Fi in the school parking lot to students in Bentonville, AR, who did not have an internet connection at home.

“We also designated $2 billion in financing to help customers and partners facing financial crises due to the pandemic,” he said.

Neri himself recently contracted the virus, announcing on Twitter last week that he had tested positive. He spoke with Liz Joyce, HPE’s chief information security officer, during his remarks about what her team had learned from working with customers during the pandemic. Truly global nature of this event. She said the common theme was the need for communication and data analysis tools designed for local action that could also allow strategic and global decision-making.

“A crisis is normally a time-bound and finite event but this one is a long-term sustained event, and we need sustainable and manageable processes,” she said. “We need to think about what will be foundational about the new normal going forward.”

HPE’s new Ezmeral and GreenLake services

Ezmeral, a new brand and software portfolio designed to help enterprises accelerate digital transformation from edge to cloud. HPE Ezmeral includes container orchestration and management, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning(ML) and data analytics, cost control, IT automation and AI-driven operations, and security.

Highlights of the new offering include:

  • HPE Ezmeral Container Platform: Provides the flexibility to deploy and manage containerized applications at scale in enterprise data centers, colocation facilities, in multiple public clouds, and at the edge
  • HPE Ezmeral ML Ops: Provides a DevOps-like process to standardize machine learning workflows and speed up artificial intelligence deployments.

Neri said Ezmeral’s machine learning capabilities bring DevOps agility to the ML life cycle.

“Only 6% of companies have a plan to operationalize their machine learning models,” he said. “Ezmeral creates ML pipelines with secure access to the data they need to provide insights in minutes not months.”

Abdulla Al Kendi, PhD, acting executive director of technology and policies at the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) said the COVID-19 crisis has motivated a new collaboration with HPE.

“Using HPE Ezmeral ML Ops, ADDA is deploying leading-edge data science and AI/ML instrumentation to develop intelligent policies aimed at recovery and containment, preparedness and disease management and economic growth and revitalization,” Al Kendi said in a press release.

The new HPE GreenLake cloud services include container management, machine learning operations, virtual machines, storage, compute, data protection, and networking and can be used in multiple environments: On premises, in colocation facilities, and at the edge.

All cloud services are accessible via a self-service portal on HPE GreenLake Central.

HPE outlines new return-to-the-office services

HPE also announced five new services this week to help companies return to work, including touchless entry solutions, fever detection, social distance tracing and tracking, augmented reality and visual remote guidance, and workplace alerts.

During a press call on Monday, HPE CEO Antonio Neri said working from home will be a permanent change for HPE and that up to 50% of the company’s employees will never come back to an office.

“I think offices will become hubs for collaboration and creativity and to deliver that experience you need connectivity,” he said. “It will become a basic necessity like water and electricity.”

Neri said that HPE is expecting a U-shaped recovery, with a longer downturn than the V-shaped recovery that some economists are hoping for in the recovery from the coronavirus.

“We’re trying to figure out what we can do now to emerge stronger and we think this means building the company faster than ever before,” he said.

Neri said that he expects GDP to drop in 2020 which means IT investments will drop as well.