Meet HPE Synergy: Treating Infrastructure as CodeDecember 3, 2015
Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Antonio Neri discusses HPE Synergy, a new product that brings together hardware and software for a faster, simpler and more efficient approach to IT
To paraphrase the great novelist Victor Hugo: There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. In the world of business, these ideas are necessarily infrequent, but their impact is colossal. Building a personal computer? Delivering packages overnight? Selling books online? Seemingly crazy notions when first introduced, these very concepts, though simple in and of themselves, drive entire industries today.
When Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Antonio Neri talks about “composable infrastructure” and HPE Synergy—HPE’s new, single platform for every kind of application and operational model—one can’t help but feel that this, too, is one of those ideas whose time has come. After all, in today’s app-driven Idea Economy, when agility and efficiency are the new watchwords for enterprises everywhere, what organization can afford not to engage with a product that promises a faster, simpler and more efficient approach to IT?
In this interview, Neri explains how HPE Synergy will turbocharge workplace productivity, the evolution of the thinking behind both software and hardware and why composable infrastructure promises to be a kind of “heaven for developers.”
This notion of composable infrastructure, as well as the HPE Synergy platform that runs it, sounds almost as if HPE has taken the DevOps philosophy—continual deployment, deep collaboration, instantaneous feedback—and redefined it, in a sense, as a new kind of IT infrastructure.
That’s exactly right. But let’s take a step back. Today, most companies are focusing more and more on the concept of time to value—how quickly they can get value from a particular application and from the data associated with that application. In order to speed up time to value, we need to unlock the value of the app innovator. And at the end of the day, HPE believes in a world where the application and data are at the core of the new style of business that we’re seeing take hold everywhere. A problem that pretty much all companies have faced, however, is that their infrastructure is relatively fixed. It’s static. An organization might buy a certain amount of computational power or storage, and it might configure them to a certain degree, but there is a great deal of waste and inefficiency in terms of resources, utilization, energy and space when developing and deploying applications.
But if you believe, as we do, that the application and data are core to what so many businesses do, then the infrastructure itself needs to be composed to those attributes. That’s what HPE Synergy does.
So when an internal developer has requirements for a new application, he or she can log on to HPE Synergy and the system will automatically recompose itself in order to comport to whatever requirements that application has. It reassembles itself in a way?
Yes, a developer can actually compose, through one line of code, the exact infrastructure for his or her app. Say the app needs exactly this much memory, this amount of storage, this amount of networking fabric—HPE Synergy composes itself to those exact requirements and spits out the application. Envision countless customized platforms, each one dedicated to creating a specific app based on a developer’s unique code. This is an application-driven, programmable solution that we believe will change the way companies deploy their managed infrastructure. For private cloud deployments, it works great. For mixed workloads, it works great. It’s a game changer.
At the end of the day, this is going to be heaven for developers because the speed and agility inherent in this system are just unbelievable.
How does HPE Synergy do away with the waste and inefficiencies of the fixed, rigid infrastructures that you mentioned earlier?
One critical way is by treating infrastructure as code rather than as hardware or firmware. When a developer is utilizing the infrastructure, her request will orchestrate exactly the amount of infrastructure that’s needed to generate her particular app. And that, in turn, frees up resources, energy and space for other developer requests. That’s an absolutely enormous technical challenge and you need to have world-class capabilities at both the hardware and the software levels to be able to deliver against that promise. I think HPE is uniquely positioned to tackle that challenge, and HPE Synergy is the result.
A metaphor that comes to mind here is the Automat—the old-style restaurant where food was served not by a waitstaff but by vending machines, and customers could quickly “compose” their own meals.
I can see that. But perhaps an even better metaphor is a buffet. You go and choose exactly what you want, and the buffet is maintained by one waiter or waitress who replenishes the food so it never runs out. But with HPE Synergy, there are no dishes to wash.