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Industry influencer and IT analyst offers his insights on the future of the data center

Chris Purcell

Dana interview.png

Cloud strategist and IT trends influencer, Dana Gardner, is busy these days – really busy. When Dana isn’t in his office producing podcasts and blogs, he’s traveling the world attending conferences and interviewing IT and cloud experts. Highly respected in the industry, Dana recently was named the #8 leading digital transformation voice on social media by Enterprise Mobility Exchange.

I had the chance to chat with Dana last month to get his insights on digital transformation (DX); he had just returned from HPE Discover in Madrid and had lots to say on both DX and HPE.  

The intersection of IT and business – economics, composability, artificial intelligence

Chris: First, congratulations on your designation as a leading voice on social media for digital transformation. We’ve known each other for quite some time, and I’ve always valued your opinion. Now that you’ve returned from HPE Discover Madrid, what are some of your key takeaways?

Dana:  Thank you, Chris. Yes, I’ve been an active observer of HP/HPE for 30 years – I actually had my first briefing in 1988. And from that vantage point, I believe that HPE has come a long way. They are now addressing the highest level of the enterprise, both in terms of IT and the business itself.

Throughout the years, HP/HPE has focused on IT and kept up with the latest shifts and transitions. Yet in the last 6 months, and particularly what I saw in Madrid at HPE Discover, HPE’s importance and relevance to the C-level of the enterprise has been elevated. That’s a fairly momentous accomplishment, and it does differentiate HPE. A lot of vendors focus on digital transformation, but HPE is talking about economics, composability, and artificial intelligence (AI). These issues push this relationship into a business partnership with the COO or CFO (not just the CIO or CTO) and their legions of managers inside of IT. 

What I saw at the event in November made me sit back and say, “This is not your average Discover--not your average HPE advancement on product or vision. This elevates the company to a different category.”

Chris: That’s an interesting perspective. Could you elaborate a bit more?

Dana: We are finally at the point where business and technology are common and intertwined. We’ve moved beyond just talking about it. It’s here now, and it’s real. HPE and its partners in the marketplace are stepping above the level of platform or cloud stacks and putting the tools in place for the enterprise to run itself as a true digital business. Customers can now take advantage of the different things in the market, (including backwards compatibility), composability, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

To me, this is a big deal. And I don’t think HPE is tooting its horn sufficiently. HPE has been on a 30-year transition, and I believe that they are finally at a point where they can do these things better than anyone else.

Heterogeneity – the bugaboo of IT business transformation

Chris: You’re saying that this intersection of IT and technology is vital for the success of the enterprise. To achieve the best business outcomes, enterprises need partners like HPE that can help bring together all aspects of IT and the business with composability, different cloud services, and AI.

Dana: Exactly, and one of the reasons I’ve reached this conclusion is because of heterogeneity – what I call the bugaboo of the IT business transformation for literally 30 years. Heterogeneity [the state of being diverse in character or content] is always moving and expanding. From multiple operating systems and multiple networks to multiple applications and multiple clouds, heterogeneity is continually challenging us to integrate everything.

According to a recent report, IDC expects it will take until 2027 for 75% of organizations to have digitally transformed. This is because they are not able to exploit cloud sufficiently, so they aren’t seeing success in terms of business outcomes. Recent advancements in technology are now allowing us to reach a step change in solving this heterogeneity problem--rather than just slogging along through the evolution of IT. And two of the biggest technologies that are making a difference are containers and AI.

Containers give us the opportunity to solve heterogeneity at a fundamental cloud level across public and private clouds, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud. It also helps in the DevOps divide, letting developers do what they want to do with applications to get them into a production environment. So container technology is an impactful development that has been extremely popular in the marketplace.

And AI lets us apply data analysis to the entire business. We can now analyze how to best run the traditional data center, cloud, hybrid cloud, or multi-cloud, using data analysis to make intelligent choices about where to deploy and how to deploy.

Solving chaos and complexity in the marketplace

Chris: So you are saying that although heterogeneity is a growing problem, you believe we now have the tools to deal with it more effectively?

Dana: Yes, the more unpredictable and complex the marketplace, the harder it is for companies to succeed and get past the lackluster and uneven cloud success rate. There’s a lot of chaos in this fast moving industry. HPE has positioned itself through acquisition and development of traditional and new products to be a common foothold in the industry. Yet, it’s more than just HPE alone. They have an entire ecosystem of systems integrators and alliance partners. It’s not about buying a single box or one solution from one vendor. The right solution for the best business outcomes requires the right mix in the right way.

To learn more about HPE's announcements made at HPE Discover Madrid, read the press release: Hewlett Packard Enterprise extends composable strategy with new capabilities to accelerate customer innovation. 

Chris

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About the Author

Chris Purcell

Composable Infrastructure, Integrated and Multi-Cloud management, Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Cloud