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May 26, 2016updated 28 Mar 2017 5:28pm

HPE Synergy and composable infrastructure

By John Oates

Enterprise technology is facing two separate challenges – to continue to cost effectively deliver infrastructure services like payroll and email and to create the infrastructure which can deliver the fast changing demands of the modern business like mobile applications and rapid big data projects.

Composable infrastructure aims to allow the IT department to solve both these challenges – described by analysts Gartner as ‘bi-modal’. The two types of infrastructure have very different traits – traditional functions need to be stable and loads are quite predictable, new types of application require very agile set-ups to deal with far less predictable demands. Traditional IT is focussed on reliability, security and pressure on costs. Although new applications still need to be reliable, stable and secure they also have to be agile, flexible and fast.

This also reflects the changing role of the IT department. It used to be responsible for automating business processes and reducing costs. But now IT is required to quickly deliver new applications and functions for various lines of business in order to create and optimise new revenue streams, not just improve existing services.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) view of composable infrastructure divides IT functions into: compute, storage and networking building blocks. It will allow software to effectively provision its own hardware by choosing these blocks from a fluid resource pool. HPE expects its Synergy products to begin shipping later this year.

Julian Keetch,  Composable Infrastructure category for EMEA, said:

“I think it is refreshing to be able to talk about our roadmap and vision for the future. The new business world requires speed and less rigid, more fluid infrastructure – whether it is physical, virtual or cloud provided.

“HPE Synergy will allow access via a management portal to a pool of resources – literally use what you need. This means you can get a new server online within 15 seconds. Compared to the worst example I’ve heard of old provisioning which was a bank which took 16 weeks from receiving the server into the data centre to getting it online.”

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By treating hardware as code, with one set of APIs, applications can make the most efficient use of the resources available. Provisioning becomes almost instant and mostly automatic.

Keetch added:

“I think this is part of a broader trend. Think about cloud computing –  people have a different view of IT now. They’re used to everything being mobile, to getting an instant response, and to easily scale up and scale down.

That need to change and adapt will make or break companies.

Mobility is one driver but the business environment is changing in other ways – what we call the idea economy.

It is about bringing ideas to market quickly and efficiently – the first to market wins, second doesn’t.

Companies like Alibaba, AirBnB and Netflix are all idea companies – they own very little themselves. To provide a service you need to move fast.”

The other promise for a composable infrastructure is that it will allow future changes without starting again. Moves to photonic networking for instance should slot into the existing infrastructure.

There’s more from HPE here:

http://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA6-4729ENW.pdf

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