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HPE plays hybrid IT hand with Project New Stack platform

Enterprise IT can manage local and public cloud workloads harmoniously in their data centers, according to HPE -- as long as they use its hardware and new management platform.

LAS VEGAS -- A new platform from Hewlett Packard Enterprise aims to help enterprise data centers run applications on premises or on public clouds, taking hardware and cloud computing insights and analytics to optimize usage and cost.

It was unveiled by HPE at its Discover conference here this week, as the slimmed-down company's latest attempt to find traction in enterprise data centers that increasingly adopt hybrid IT environments.

The platform, called Project New Stack, will be deployed through appliances that can run in a private cloud, VMware environment, Azure Stack, Kubernetes, Docker or other local platforms, with a link to the public cloud through an access key. It will incorporate technology from HPE's Cloud Cruiser and OneView products but extend to be a manager of systems from on-premises resources to control over AWS and other public clouds. It is expected to be available in beta later this year and generally available in early 2018.

During a demonstration, Bryan Jacquot, worldwide user experience architect at HPE, showed how the hypothetical CIO of a global bank could obtain a single view of both traditional platforms and public and private cloud. "It ensures that workloads run in the right location, and more importantly that data is stored in the right location," he said.

If you are going to manage a hybrid IT estate and you ignore 80% that is in the traditional estate, it doesn't seem like you are doing a very good job of managing that estate.
Bryan Jacquotworldwide user experience architect, HPE

More broadly, though, Project New Stack represents HPE's future direction after spinning off its consumer hardware and services and software business. It wants to provide value and visibility into its hardware platforms -- particularly its composable infrastructure product, Synergy -- positioned as equal to multicloud architecture.

HPE aims to help customers optimize spend and performance across a mix of HPE hardware and public cloud services, with deeper insight into HPE hardware than it currently provides with OneView's unified API, said Mary Johnston Turner, a research vice president at analyst firm IDC.

"That API can feed in to represent the usage and cost, plus all the info you get off a public cloud API -- you get that all represented in a consistent way," she said.

In fact, Project New Stack sounds similar to other cloud brokerage tools already on the market, such as RightScale, CliQr, IBM Cloud Brokerage Solutions (formerly cloudMatrix, based on its acquisition of Gravitant Inc.) and ServiceNow, she said.

Most IT spending is still on traditional IT and must be evaluated alongside public cloud, said Ric Lewis, senior vice president and general manager of HPE's software defined and cloud group.

"If you are going to manage a hybrid IT estate and you ignore 80% that is in the traditional estate, it doesn't seem like you are doing a very good job of managing that estate," Jacquot said.

From Excel to Project New Stack in the data center

HPE users welcomed Project New Stack as a possible next step to orchestrate public and private cloud use.

Grupo Uribe, a retailer in Colombia, uses HPE SimpliVity hyper-converged infrastructure, as well as AWS for e-commerce and Microsoft Azure for analytics, and manages its infrastructure mostly in silos with separate IT pros, said Robinson Alvarez, the company's CTO.

"So far, we have not done anything to get [cloud management] in one place," he said. "To try to compare everything, including cost and capabilities, we just take a look at a sheet in Excel. It is very simple." Project New Stack could help bring the firm's infrastructure management together, he said.

Project New Stack also could help eMoney Advisor in Radnor, Pa., transition from a traditional VM-centric shop to use a combination of on-premises and public cloud resources, said Patrick Long, a senior systems engineer.

"Opening up to developers to deploy their own infrastructure is smart, but they are not always judicious about taking cost and other factors into account," he said.

Project New Stack's ultimate usefulness could depend on buy-in from individual business units, according to George Weiss, an analyst at Gartner.

"It will depend on some human dynamics," he said. "Will they want to work with the central IT organization to regulate where the resources are coming from?"

Robert Gates covers data centers, data center strategies, server technologies, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure and open source operating systems for SearchDataCenter. Follow him on Twitter @RBGatesTT or email him at [email protected].

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