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Pioneering Virtualization at the IoT Edge – the “Other Off-Prem”



I’ve had the privilege of working for and with companies that invented server and computing machine virtualization. I’m too young to have witnessed the birth of virtualization, but my teams and I did pioneer its proliferation and uses in the data center, via embedded hypervisors, virtual desktops, and open virtualization and standards. After that, we built among the first “clouds”, which employed hypervisors and VMs as enabling technology, creating the very first “off-prem” deployments.

It’s therefore natural for my team and I to now step up to leading the next wave of virtualization use --- taking virtualization to the Internet of Things (IoT) edge. While the cloud was the first “off-prem”, I see the IoT edge as the “other off-prem”. The IoT edge is a place that is NOT the data center or cloud (and a cloud is just a data center that nobody is supposed to know where it is). The IoT edge can be a manufacturing floor, a power plant, a vehicle, a crop field, a building, a wind farm, off shore facilities, and places we haven’t thought of yet.

There’s a pent up demand for high performance and deep computing at these IoT other off-prem locations. This is why Principle #6 of our 7 Principles of the IoT1 states, “Sophisticated high end compute, normally reserved for the data center, will migrate toward the IoT edge.” This includes high performance computing, data center class systems management, as well as application virtualization. Complex software stacks and apps for data analytics, process and “things” control, and device and systems management infrastructures will all benefit from virtualization at the edge.

Now, anyone can envision the future. But if you’re not executing on real solutions for customers, then you’re reduced to just a science fiction writer. But we are executing:


New news, the HPE Edgeline EL1000 and EL4000 Converged IoT Systems compute blades (m510 and m710x) are now certified for VMware ESXi.

With up to 64 Intel Xeon cores, these Edgeline systems have truly shifted data center class computing out to the IoT Edge. Now, put yourself in the shoes of the IT administrator who’s building IoT solutions --- the familiar HPE iLO systems management, the familiar Intel Xeon, and the familiar VMware ESXi are now part of your solutions. The operative word here is “familiar”, as opposed to closed, proprietary, low performing, or unknown. Yes, HPE brings you the same open technologies, same skills sets, and the same tools in both the data center and the IoT edge.

We’re now on the cusp of exploiting application virtualization at the IoT edge – the other off-prem. And in the future, when they all talk about how application virtualization moved out to the IoT edge, you’ll be able to say, “I was there”. See you at the edge.


1.  7 Principles of the internet of things (IoT)

2.  Check out the VMware Compatibility guide for HPE Edgeline Converged IoT Systems compute blade m510 and blade m710x

3. HPE Edgeline IoT Systems home page

3.  HPE IoT Home page

4.  Follow me on Twitter: @TomBradicichPhD, also: @HPE_IoT

IoT virtualization.pngMachine virtualization at the IoT edge



About the Author


Dr. Tom Bradicich is VP and GM for Servers and IoT Systems at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He was named in Computer Reseller News’ (CRN) Top 25 Disruptors of 2016 and the Top 100 IT Executives of 2016. Tom is known for managing the introduction of innovative products and businesses, recently creating a new product category “Converged IoT Systems”, with HPE Edgeline Systems, expressly designed for the IoT edge. Tom's data center server products have received an InfoWorld 2015 Technology of the Year Award, the 2015 ARM TechCon Best of Show Award, a CRN 2015 Product of the Year Award, and swept all six categories of the 2016 IT Brand Pulse Leader Award.

Srinivas BN

Hi ,

It is good to see that HPE EL1000 and EL4000 are slowly getting involved into IoT Space. Do you have any idea about EL20 and EL10 gateways servers? WIll these servers be used in IoT Space? 

Do you have any idea or documentation on EL20 server to access DIO pins of EL20?


Best Regards,

Srinivas BN

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