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HPE pushes toward autonomous data center with InfoSight AI recommendation engine

Marc Ferranti | Nov. 22, 2017
InfoSight will also be rolled out for HPE's 3Par flash-storage customers, and eventually throughout the company's product line

HPE is adding an AI-based recommendation engine to the InfoSight predictive analytics platform for flash storage, taking another step toward what it calls the autonomous data center, where systems modify themselves to run more efficiently.

The ultimate goal is to simplify and automate infrastructure management in order to cut operation expenses.

HPE acquired InfoSight as part of its $1 billion deal earlier this year for Nimble Software, a maker of all-flash and hybrid flash storage products. Along with the announcement of the new recommendation engine, HPE Tuesday also said it is extending InfoSight to work with 3Par high-end storage technology it acquired in 2010.

HPE says that is only the beginning of what it is doing to develop InfoSight's ability to monitor infrastructure, predict possible problems and recommend ways to enhance performance.

"What we plan to do is take that capability and provide it across the entire ecosystem of the business that HPE represents, which is hybrid IT and enterprise infrastructure," said Bill Philbin, senior vice president and general manager of  storage and big data solutions at HPE.

Though HPE was expected to extend InfoSight, it just closed the deal for Nimble in April. "What it shows is the aggressiveness with which HPE is going to move right now," said Steve McDowell, who now is an analyst covering storage technologies for Moor Insights & Strategy but worked for Nimble until the HPE acquisition.

 "It's not trivial to make that software work on 3Par and they did it in a few months; I think that speaks volumes to where HPE sees the future of the data center and where their competitive advantage might be," McDowell said.

HPE's software-defined IT and converged infrastructure product line

HPE is a leader in software-defined IT and converged infrastructure, and has moved quickly to integrate recently acquired technology with its established product lines. For example, HPE acquired SimpliVity in January for $650 million. Just two months later it announced that it had qualified SimpliVity's hyperconverged infrastructure appliance, the OmniCube, to run on HPE's ProLiant DL380 server.

HPE also offers the Synergy server line, which combines storage, compute and network equipment in one chassis. Synergy is an example of a flavor of software-defined IT called composable infrastructure, which treats hardware and storage infrastructure as fluid pools of resources deployed through software.

But HPE has competition. Cisco in July rolled out its new, M5 generation Unified Computing System rack and blade servers. Cisco says the complementary UCS Director software can provision, configure and automate 80 percent of data center operations from a single console. 

Another HPE rival, Oracle, unveiled its Autonomous Database Cloud, powered by the new Oracle Database 18c, last month. It's designed to use AI techniques to do self-maintenance, optimizing workloads, installing security patches and doing routine maintenance, Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison boasted at the company's annual OpenWorld event.


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