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AI: The Key Takeaway from HPE's Partner Event

As a leading HPE partner, Ultima sent three delegates over to the Netherlands to attend HPE’s premier partner technical event. To summarise this year, I could do it in two letters: AI.


The Netherlands: home of cheese, windmills and dykes.

Unfortunately, we only managed to see windmills and dykes from a taxi window as we went to and from the airport! However, between us we did manage to bring home 3.5KG of cheese...!

Back to the technical event. Although HPE aren’t quite building Skynet, they are more than happy to help customers do it - as long as it’s on their kit. Joking aside, HPE are very much building a huge amount of capability around artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning and high-performance computing (HPC).

Out of the Top 500, HPE systems take the top spot in the number of systems, and second in terms of the amount of Gigaflops... See the full Top 500 List.

If we take a look at AI, there are currently 4 types:

HPE Table-4

However, none of these systems are built just from hardware. Without appropriate software, such as TensorFlow or the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, all you end up with is a very expensive and heavy paperweight.

Once you have set this up you can start training the model. Having had a chance to use TensorFlow and see the capabilities of it, I can say that it is very impressive, although its ability to identify sloths could be improved!

Fortunately, it wasn’t just a week of how to build 'cat identifying super computers', there were some interesting innovations around HPE’s existing technologies as well. The hybrid IT platforms; Nimble, Synergy and SimpliVity were all focused on heavily throughout the week.

Nimble Version 5.x Upgrade

One of the most interesting stats to come from the Nimble guys is that most of the arrays out in the field are currently running version 3.x with 5.x coming around the corner. This means that a lot of platforms will end up being two versions behind. Given the additional functionality in 4.x - and the proposed functionality coming in 5.x - I would seriously consider an upgrade into 5.x.

Unfortunately, we can’t delve too much into the details here, but if you wish to know more then feel free to reach out and we can arrange a session on it for you.

SimpliVity Hyper-V Support Coming Soon

With SimpliVity, HPE have once again confirmed Hyper-V support is coming soon™ - it was insinuated this is certainly sooner rather than later, as they were divulging specifics around the release. From what we know, the hardware platform should not change between hyper-visor, which I am sure was your primary worry. There was also talk about the longer road-map, going out for 3 years.

Once again, we can’t share this publicly, but we can set up a session where we can go through more information.

Synergy & VMware Cloud Foundation

There were also innovations around Synergy. First and most importantly, HPE have finally admitted that they are blades. Hallelujah! In other news, there will be lower starting points for redundant setups with Image Streamers which is pretty cool, and a lot of enhancements around the security of platform and physical network segregation.

However, it wasn’t all security talk, VMware Cloud Foundation was announced on Synergy. Soif you've ever wanted to buy one box that provides a software defined data centre, well now you can! Using vSAN, NSX, vRealize and SDDC Manager as a combined software platform, and the flexibility of Synergy as a hardware platform, you get a platform that scales in all facets.

OneSphere Multi-Cloud Management Tool

Last but by no means least, there was the introduction to OneSphere, HPE’s multi-cloud management tool. Eventually this will allow you to look at private cloud workloads, as well as public cloud instances. Designed to give a single view across multiple disparate platforms, it gives a view over everything being used, breaking down traditional silos. You will be seeing more around this over the next few months and I would keep an eye on it, as this is something we have been asked for repeatedly over the last year.

This is by no means a full update from the 300+ sessions that took place over the four days. But it should give you a good insight into the progress that HPE are making with some of the new world tech, and how they are trying to push the boundaries of what is capable.

Want to know more? Let us know and we can arrange it for you!

 - By Matt Beale (Dutch Cheese & HPE Expert)


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