Hewlett Packard Enterprise has developed a new type of “Composable’ hardware that it claims will cut data center costs and slash the time it takes to spin up new applications. The HPE Synergy, it combines storage, compute and network equipment in one chassis, along with management software that can quickly configure the hardware automatically to provide just the resources needed to run an application, it’s unique built-in software intelligence, auto discovery capabilities and fluid resource pools enable customers to instantly boot up infrastructure ready to run physical, virtual and containerized applications,” the company said.
Industry analysts who saw an early version of the product said they were largely impressed. But a lot depends on HPE’s ability to communicate the benefits to potential customers and deliver on the functionality it’s promising. It says Synergy will ship in the second quarter of next year, and it won’t release pricing until then.
HPE is aiming the product initially at large enterprises that want the flexibility of a cloud infrastructure but don’t want to move applications in the cloud, perhaps for security or compliance reasons. It’s eyeing big companies in areas like finance, healthcare and insurance as good candidates. Synergy is the next step in the evolution of converged systems, in which customers buy a preconfigured, virtualized infrastructure. But converged systems are limited by the physical hardware in the box, says Paul Durzan, HPE vice president for Infrastructure Management and Orchestration Software.
It’s a stepping stone on the way to a more fully Composable system, which might allow individual processors and memory chips to be programmatically assembled. That capability is limited today by Intel’s Xeon server processors, but when high-speed silicon photonic interconnects become a reality, servers may eventually become disaggregated down to the individual chip level, said IDC analyst Jed Scaramella. Customers are interested in the concept of Composable systems, he said, though many don’t know the name. He thinks Synergy will appeal initially to blade server customers, of which HPE has a lot. “Then they can go after Cisco and UCS,” he said.