Hewlett Packard Enterprise 2021 predictions



  • The Age of Insight enables organizations to unlock their full potential    
  • Edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven becomes the imperative 

HPE business heads share their forecasts for the technology industry in 2021

As the Chief Technology Officer of an iconic tech company, one of the most energizing parts of my job is tracking the megatrends that shape the world today and applying them to our strategic agenda going forward.

While no one could have predicted the disruption brought on by COVID-19 this year, early on we did foresee the way it would impact the world of technology. In fact, HPE’s CEO Antonio Neri has said that the vision of the future everyone talked about before the pandemic is here now, ahead of schedule. Other tech leaders have echoed this sentiment; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said we saw two years of change in two months.

Making predictions is always a bit dangerous, but with that backdrop, here are a few!

1.    A new trifecta: Success will come from being edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven, all at the same time                                                 

Three years ago, we predicted the enterprise of the future would be edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven. Today, that is no longer a forecast, it is reality.

In the early days of the pandemic, our customers turned to HPE to help them move quickly to become edge-centric, and we provided them with the ability to connect all of their remote workers, customers, and new devices to continue to run their businesses in a highly decentralized world.

Some organizations had to make the critical decision of how, and to what extent, they would embrace the shift to a cloud-enabled environment. Despite their efforts to move to the public cloud, it is estimated that nearly 10 years after it emerged, 70% of applications still remain outside of the public cloud due to data gravity, latency, and app entanglement1. In the next wave of digital transformation, I believe we will shift from a cloud-first mandate, to a cloud everywhere mandate.

2.    Moving your company into the Age of Insight is a survival imperative

We are at the end of the Information Era, which focused on generating and collecting massive amounts of data, and are now entering the Age of Insight. This requires new principles and priorities for Digital Transformation. The focus will be to build an edge-to-cloud platform that connects, protects, analyzes, and acts on all of an organization’s data and brings agility to apps to unlock the organization's full potential. These capabilities will be critical and unique to each organization’s strategy, industry, and customers.

I asked my peers and the business heads leading our core technology groups to share how they foresee the industry changing in the next decade, and here’s what they had to say:

Hybrid cloud is here to stay. Multi-cloud will be a requirement

Keith White, General Manager, GreenLake Cloud Services, HPE

A hybrid cloud approach used to be considered the steppingstone to a cloud-first implementation. Now, customers are seeing that a hybrid approach makes the most sense, both strategically for their business needs and economically. According to IDC, 70% of customers’ apps and data remain outside the public cloud. With that in mind, in 2021, we’ll see even more customers embrace a hybrid approach. Due to data latency, application entanglement and security and compliance reasons we see more and more organizations across industries wanting to keep their data on-premises. At the same time, partially due to pandemic economics, data egress charges and vendor lock-in with public cloud providers, the reality is CIOs and IT orgs are embracing hybrid as the outcome and not a means to an end.

SPIFFE and SPIRE: A new ray of light on radically improving zero trust security

Sunil James, Senior Director of Security Engineering Organization, HPE

In 2021, the SPIFFE and SPIRE open source projects will become productized and lay a foundation for a zero trust security model. Specifically, SPIFFE and SPIRE will provide all enterprises confidence and control over their workload services as they migrate across edge, on-premises, and public cloud environments, by allowing them to recognize and authorize all interactions.

Sharpen your edge in 2021

Keerti Melkote, President and Founder of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

Next year, IT teams will take the next step in their transformational journey to the Intelligent Edge and begin to create the requisite infrastructures. As they do so, it won’t just be about connecting constituents to the cloud. It will be about how users and IoT devices are connected, and about using data generated at the edge to power new experiences and business outcomes.

Of course, IT teams will make these moves as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt and we’ll look to the crucial capabilities the Intelligent Edge provides to enable organizations across all industries to more fully support remote workers, deliver the necessary capabilities that allow a safe return to the workplace, and enable business continuity initiatives.

Then, as we progress into the post-pandemic world, the Intelligent Edge, combined with flexible, as-a-service consumption models, will provide organizations with the security, insights and flexibility they’ll need to adapt to and succeed in what is sure to be an incredibly dynamic business environment.

The supercomputer comes to everyone: Leveraging exascale era technology in tomorrow’s data centers

Peter Ungaro, Senior Vice President and General Manager, High Performance Computing (HPC) and Mission Critical Solutions (MCS), HPE

The first exascale system, which is the next significant leap in supercomputing that will deliver five to ten times faster performance than today’s fastest systems, will become available in 2021. Simulating and modeling at an exascale level will allow us to take an even higher volume of complex data and turn it into digital models to understand how something will look like and perform in the real world. The breakthroughs these systems will enable will be amazing.

However, 99% of customers will not need an exascale system for their analytics, AI, engineering, data science or modeling workloads. Instead, at HPE, we believe that all customers will have future systems in their data centers, whether in their own buildings, colocation facilities or in the cloud, that will use the same technologies designed for exascale supercomputers – the largest computers on the planet - to support their data-intensive applications. These are the same technologies that can tackle even more challenging and advanced algorithms, such as with AI, that are emerging in new applications to empower their digital transformation and accelerate innovation. We call these “Exascale Era” technologies.

These technologies will bring incredible performance and capabilities to every customer in a single rack or even a single server that will perform like a supercomputer and run like a cloud. This will bring forth a new age of insights and a new era of innovation. Exascale Era technologies will not only push the boundaries of science to make breakthroughs in global challenges such as accelerating drug discovery or predicting extreme weather conditions, but help customers, large and small, gain unique insight from their growing data to innovate faster and make better business decisions for their enterprise.

From designing new drugs and vaccines to creating safer car tires and improving sustainability in products we use every day, such as toothpaste and laundry detergent, Exascale Era technologies will play a broad role in improving how we live and work.

Spoiler alert: Businesses (not consumers) will drive 5G adoption through business applications

Phil Mottram, VP and General Manager, Communications Technology Group, HPE

We expect to see telcos rapidly deploying 5G services for business in 2021. Consumer customers seeking faster download speeds will not cover the billions of dollars required to deploy 5G networks. 5G is about far more than faster downloads and the real revenue opportunity for telcos will come in deploying innovative new enterprise services.

So far the deployment of 5G has been focused on the radio access network (RAN), but the true value of 5G can only be realized when the RAN is combined with a 5G core network. We expect to see 5G core networks being introduced in 2021 that will enable ‘slicing’ into virtual networks – by slicing the network into different segments, telcos can charge more to business customers for superfast speeds, or provide guaranteed low latency connectivity to autonomous vehicles. These business focused offers will enable telcos to start recouping some of the significant investment they have already made in 5G.

5G represents a great opportunity for telcos to deliver new cloud computing services at the edge of the network. Some applications are better suited to the edge: those that need low latencies, optimized bandwidth or particular security requirements. These apps can be hosted on cloud infrastructure hosted close to the user, such as at an enterprise office, or on street furniture.

For example, if you have a connected car communicating with a traffic light, low latency is crucial, but that data doesn’t need to be transferred hundreds of miles to a cloud data center because the information is only required for 30 seconds. Other applications that make sense to live at the edge include video analytics, virtual reality and gaming – data intensive applications that rely on low latency. Telecoms operators and cloud providers see this opportunity and are moving quickly to offer cloud services at the edge via the 5G network. This is another crucial avenue where telcos can start to realize a return on their investment in deploying 5G.

dHCI goes mainstream: The evolution of HCI

Tom Black, SVP and GM, Storage, HPE

2021 will see a shift in customer demands as enterprises and mid-size organizations look for a solution that can meet their needs for business-critical applications and mixed-workloads at scale. CIOs and IT teams are increasingly going to be looking for a solution that combines the simplicity of HCI with the flexibility for greater performance, resiliency, and efficiency.  This will drive the need for an HCI 2.0 architecture – disaggregated HCI (dHCI) – that preserves the unified management and VM-centric operations of HCI, while gaining the ability to scale compute and storage independently. dHCI will increasingly become the new HCI category of choice for a solution with flexibility, faster performance, higher availability, and a lower total cost of ownership.

The rise of the SMB market (again)

George Hope, Worldwide Head of Partner Sales, HPE

The SMB and mid-market segments should be a big focus for channel partners in the next year. SMBs around the world are increasingly interested in investing in IT that will accelerate their digital transformations, glean insights from data and improve the employee experience – making them more competitive and helping them recover through the pandemic. Many SMBs also needed specific technologies and quick fixes for their infrastructure in early 2020 to adapt to shifting business demands as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, they will be reassessing what solutions are really needed for their infrastructures in the long-run, sparking even more technology investment and potential business for partners to capture.


1 IDC Cloud Pulse 1Q20 Survey Findings, May 2020


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