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HPE Tech Talk podcast: Why now is the time for Containers and ML Ops, Episode 3

At a time of rapid change, businesses are putting the accelerator on digital transformation to innovate and adapt. This week, we discuss the rate of change and impact on the tech stack and modern software applications with Shane Margraves, VP of HPE Ezmeral. Plus, how HPE’s new software platform fuels transformation from edge-to-cloud at this critical point in time.

 

 

Also available on:  Spotify / iTunes / Other podcast apps

 

Transcript

Robert Christiansen:

Welcome to the HPE Tech Talk podcast. I'm your host Robert Christianson from the Office of the CTO. Our ever-changing market and the rapid acceleration of open-source infrastructure can make it difficult for companies to know where to place “bets” on enterprise software solutions. This week we welcome Shane Margraves, Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Services to talk about this changing landscape, and how our new HPE Ezmeral Software is providing immense value to companies dealing with this rapid change. Welcome, Shane.

Shane Margraves:

Hey, Robert. Great to hear from you. Happy to be here.

 

Robert:

Shane, so HPE exited the software industry a few years back when we released a lot of legacy application software. And it's taken us a little while to, what I call, plant some key tent poles for our company around software. And we're back in the game again. And would you tell us a bit about that platform that we're back in the game with and why it's so important to our clients today?

Shane:

Yeah, absolutely. Great question. Yeah, you're right. HPE is back in the software business and we're back in the software business with force. I would say the difference this time is we're more focused on the problems at hand and more relevant to the rapidly changing market trends—things like cloud, containers, AIML, open source is playing a significant role.

The Edge, applications, every whether, whether they're cloud native or stateful, and they're all creating data. So, this more focused approach specifically focuses on helping customers pivot from what we believe is Phase One of the digital transformation journey, which was focused on IT operations and modernizing the data center to the application estate, right? And modernizing that as well as the data platform that goes hand-in-hand with all those applications that are being deployed and managed.

So, we've built a collection of software solutions. Some are acquisitions, some internally developed, but yet, they're very focused on the solutions to the very problems our customers are telling us they have. And we're fronting those solutions with a very robust set of expertise to help develop an approach specific to each customer's business outcome. So, I'm excited about this new initiative that as it is extremely important to HPE's future and builds on just the fantastic foundation that the infrastructure brand has in the industry today.

 

Robert:

You and I were heavily involved with dealing with just a large amount of what I call digital exhaust, right? You've got hundreds, if not thousands of inbound ingestions of data coming in for analytic workloads, whether they be AIML or just observability or security. Can you share a little bit about that thinking and why that was so relevant to our clients today?

Shane:

So, basically what you're asking is why now?

Why Ezmeral now within the scope of HPE? I think one of the core fundamentals or the guiding principles is that technology is not just accelerating. The rate of change is accelerating. And that's an important concept when you think about how customers are dealing with transformation. And so I believe that our tech, our tech stack from the infrastructure all the way up to the application is extremely relevant today, and I think that we've picked solutions that have been in front of the problems that were beginning to manifest themselves in the industry before they actually did.

So, building a foundation of products that would support that as it became mainstream was really kind of our focus. And I think we're there. And I think of examples like a large financial, in fact, a massive financial where we were able to bring this portfolio together and pick specific pieces of it to solve one workload problem for them. That specific workload problem helped reduce their infrastructure estate by 90%. Helped improve their performance, in this case, the performance was data ingestion by 58 times, that’s significant also.

This is where HPE has a massive competitive advantage because it takes, again, that foundation of infrastructure and the understanding of how to build an underlying foundation to support a new set of applications that support improved workloads. And be able to manage that tech stack from top to bottom. The beauty of this is not only did we reduce the application or reduce the infrastructure footprint and increase the performance, we did it all at a better cost, roughly half the cost and in a cloud-like experience. So, which is what the industry is thirsty for now, cloud services in a consumption model that allows them to pay as they go.

We have a platform for deploying additional workloads now, and this specific customer that solved one specific problem, but now additional workloads can be added to that at even a fraction of a cost of the first one. I think that's a perfect example of why now is extremely important to set on this course because a lot of businesses are going to be faced with similar challenges as this second phase of digital transformation continues to evolve.

 

Robert:

You and I know and understand that the offer that we're talking about, the solution we're talking about is an on-premises offer. When the knee-jerk reaction, the immediate turn is, "Let's go to a hyperscaler and solve this problem." But the independent evaluation and the results that kind of showed significant advantages by just doing it on-prem. Is that correct?

Shane:

Yeah. Even though it's not just as simple as going to a hyperscaler.

There are questions or problems like data gravity, applications with data interdependencies, and you have to consider the overall landscape and the best path forward. And honestly, choice of infrastructure, choice of where those cloud services come from, but available from the Edge to the data center to a multi-cloud scenario is extremely important piece of the puzzle. But on-premise is where the lion's share of the problems are yet to be solved. And in this particular case, that's exactly what we did.

 

Robert:

That's great. So, with that in mind, what's under the hood of Ezmeral?

Shane:

Ezmeral's a brand and it is a collection of a number of software products that we've put together. And you can expect that to evolve over time.

But it includes things like our container platform, which is a Kubernetes control plane for app modernization.

It includes a module that we call ML Ops, which is a very fast-growing problem, whereas companies are trying to operationalize machine learning and take it from a science project to something they can rely on to support their business needs.

It includes data fabric, which was the foundation of our MapR acquisition, which is a scale-out file system for analytics, and more importantly, a persistent storage layer for containers, which it's a big problem that folks are trying to solve as they evolve in this container space.

It includes security software to deal with zero trust and identity managements for cloud-native applications, IT operations, which is our OneView product for configuration management and infrastructure automation. Things like cloud controls, because we know that's important for customers to manage cost in the cloud for those deployed apps.

So, it's a cohesive set of applications that are designed to work together and also be flexible enough to incorporate and promote the industry's growing dependencies on CNCF, or cloud-native and open source. And I think we've done a good job of pulling a set of products together that support a problem, that offer synergy throughout our entire portfolio and meet the customer's problems where they are today.

 

Robert:

I look at all of our competitors who have various flavors of what they call open source, but in reality, they have unique APIs that caused you to make a commitment to a particular brand of hyperscaler or a particular brand of a container platform. How do we separate ourselves out in that space?

Shane:

Our perspective is that the open source community and the evolution of just the massive amount of products that are coming from that space and driving so much innovation is an extremely important piece of the equation, so we're embracing it. Not all of our competitors are doing that, right? They're trying to monetize open source by offering distributions and capitalize on the momentum that certain products have in the open source space. And we believe that as open source continues to evolve, being able to utilize those products and in a way that promotes deploying them and managing them, but in an enterprise environment, is going to be important to our customers.

So I think that HPE's in a unique position because we offer a simplification of the entire landscape. But it starts with focusing on the customer's desired business outcome, right? We can take our expertise, build an approach, and an architecture that we believe meets those requirements. Couple our software products and open source to that problem, = do it in a consumption model that that is cloud-like, and then back it with the right infrastructure for the right location.

 

Robert:

How do you see… the next few years unfolding for us?

Shane:

Well, look, no one's got a crystal ball. I think we've proven that throughout the industry that this market, driven largely by technology continues to pivot. And that's a good thing because it offers opportunity. So, one thing we can expect is that it will not be stagnant. It will continue to change. And that's at our core value is staying relevant and staying on top of those changes. So Ezmeral's available today, and we believe that it is relevant today, again, because we tried to skate to where the puck was going to be, and I personally believe that we got that right.

Technology is going to continue to drive evolution, and that's largely going to be driven by open source. Because of that, the Ezmeral brand will continue to grow alongside that, and we will continue to use that bird's-eye view to pivot with market trends and available technology and promote those technologies. I personally expect that Ezmeral will continue to be relevant, and I think we will be a leading player well into the future, and I'm excited about that. I'm excited about the opportunity for us and the partners that choose to engage us.

 

Robert:

I have to say, thank you so very much for taking the time with me, Shane. We look forward to connecting with you in the future, my friend.

Shane:

Hey, great talking to you, Robert. We don't get to do enough of it. Look forward to the next conversation and you as well.

 

Robert:

This is Robert Christiansen with HPE Tech Talk. Thank you for joining me. And I want to thanks to our guest Shane Margraves. He's the VP of Sales for the Ezmeral software platform for HPE. We're super excited about how we are progressing in the industry. We're making better decisions faster and provided much-needed solutions to our existing and new clients alike. Thank you for listening, and visit www.hpe.com for more information. And I'll catch you next time.

 

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