On this episode of The Six Five – Insiders Edition Patrick Moorhead and I are joined by Keith White, Senior Vice President for HPE GreenLake and Skip Bacon, Vice President of Product Management at Splunk. Both guests are actively involved in helping customers with digital transformation initiatives through their product and service offerings. Splunk and HPE are taking it one step further and partnering to provide breakthrough containerized capabilities to customers.
Our conversation covered several aspects of the Splunk HPE partnership including how the partnership grew out of a common need from both companies. Enterprise organizations that ingested large amounts of data struggled with bandwidth and latency issues. Containerization is the solution, but most enterprises lack the knowledge and talent to use containers. That’s where Splunk and HPE come in.
The HPE and Splunk Partnership
Our conversation with Keith and Skip also revolved around the following:
- The value that Splunk and HPE customers are getting from their partnership.
- How HPE GreenLake solved a lot of the scalability issues companies that were using Splunk’s platform were facing.
- How companies are leveraging HPE Ezmeral Container Platform to modernize apps, write new cloud native apps, and develop Kubernetes.
- Real world examples of how enterprises have successfully leveraged Splunk and HPE technologies.
Enterprise organizations are turning to containers and Kubernetes for more storage, increased ability to ingest data, more agility, and more security. Yet, many organizations are limited by internal resources. HPE GreenLake is a turnkey solution that runs the Kubernetes and container environment for you. Splunk is easy to deploy in conjunction with HPE GreenLake. Using the two together, organizations can see a 360-degree view of the customer including potential security issues. The best part? HPE GreenLake and Splunk utilize pay-as-you-go models, which allows enterprises to use as much or as little as they need while scaling quickly and easily — a real win in today’s marketplace.
Watch our interview with Keith and Skip here:
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Daniel Newman: Welcome to the Six Five Insider's Edition. I'm your host today. Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. Joined by my esteemed colleague and cohost of the Six Five Podcast, Six Five Summit, and all things Six Five, Mr. Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. Good afternoon, Patrick.
Patrick Moorhead: Daniel, you look great. Looking very good. It's almost like I've seen you already today. I can't place it. Maybe cause we talk to each other on video every single day.
Daniel Newman: Well, that's part of doing a show together. We may compete in the analyst world, but we do love to come together and bring our analysis to the market. We did, in fact, jump up out of bed this am and record a show, but time stamping is hard with podcasts because people might listen to this and not that, and that and not this. So we won't even get into what day it is. Let's just say it's a work day that ends in Y and it's still 2020. So it doesn't even really matter.
Anyways, really excited for this Insider Edition Podcast, Pat. This has been just a great year of these shows. We've had some tremendous guests. CEOs, presidents, and leaders of some of the world's biggest tech companies. And today we actually are going to do a partner podcast with two different companies, HPE and Splunk. These two companies just announced brand new, big partnership. And we thought, why not bring both on the show? And I think Pat, by the way, is the first time we're doing this.
Patrick Moorhead: I think you're right. Can we do it? Can we technically pull this off Daniel? I don't even know. Let's do it. Let's roll the dice.
Daniel Newman: I think we should do that. And I think it's going to be a great conversation. Both companies coming off a lot of interesting news. Pat, in a recent episode we talked about HP. They just did an investor day, but that company has had news, and news, and more news. Lots of announcements, lots of successes and wins. And of course just recently Splunk had their .conf event. We'll be hearing all about that. So yeah. So without further ado, I'd like to welcome our guests. We've got Keith White from HPE, and Skip Bacon, and I'm going to bring them onto the show right now. Skip, Keith, welcome to the show.
Keith White: Awesome to be here. Thanks guys. Thanks for having us.
Skip Bacon: Absolutely. Thank you.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. So let's jump in. Let's do some introductions here because everybody out there knows Pat and I, and we introduce ourselves every show. So why wouldn't you have to do that? Keith, you look happy. You look ready. Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell everybody what you do at HPE.
Keith White: Awesome. No, I'm excited to be here. Thanks again for having us guys. So I'm the senior vice president of our GreenLake Business Unit. I started at HPE at the beginning of 2020, and we're basically heads down really executing on Antonio's commitment. Antonio Neri, our CEO. Basically to deliver everything as a service that HPE offers by 2020. Before that I was at Microsoft. I was heading up the Azure and the Intelligent Cloud business for the past seven, eight years. And it's been great. I've been able to take that experience and all the learnings and apply it to GreenLake, because, in essence, what you're seeing is, the public cloud's done a lot of great things, and they really set some expectations with our customers. And I view it as Cloud experience, is what they've set, and that's automated self-serve. Cloud economics, so think of that as pay as you go, and then Cloud management, and in essence, manage it all for me, take care of everything on the back end, take care of the performance, et cetera.
But customers are saying, "Hey, look, only about two thirds of my apps and data are actually going to run up in the public cloud. I'm still going to have the majority of it on prem. And so that's because of data gravity, or compliance requirements, or app entanglement. There's a bunch of reasons for that. But at the end of the day, they want that same experience on prem. And so that's exciting. That's what GreenLake brings to those folks. That ability to run all of that on prem in a pay per use, all managed for you in a very elastic way. So in essence, we bring the cloud to the customers.
And so that's an exciting time for us. And I say, one of the key differentiations that we found is that we're bringing full solutions to our customers. So it's not just storage and compute, but it's SAP, it's machine learning. And now with Splunk, all of this is metered. So you only pay for what you use. It's elastic, so capacity grows for you. And as I mentioned, we manage all that burden from our customers so they can actually focus their resources on more value add, more business outcome type scenarios. So it's really exciting. And again, thanks for the opportunity.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely. And don't spoil the show, man. You've got so much to share, but yeah, there's going to be some great stuff. We're going to hammer you on all that in a really nice way.
Keith White: I love it.
Daniel Newman: When I say hammer, I really mean we're just going to ask you some questions about it. By the way, everyone out there, if you recognize this combination of Keith and I it's because we've been on camera together before. During Discover we did a session together. Keith looks happier like he's been living in Hawaii or something. I'm not quite sure what's going on, but it's snowing here in Chicago. So my smiles are a little bit more limited. Skip, really nice to have you on the show too. Had the chance to meet and speak a little bit recently ahead of this partnership. Splunk had a big week last week, and we'll be asking you about that. But quick introduction, tell us a little bit about the work you're doing at Splunk.
Skip Bacon: Sure. So thanks for having me. Nice to meet all of you. I worked for our CPO on the product side of the house, actually. Been with Splunk about three years. Started out running big pieces of product management, especially on our platform, but recently got a chance to move into more of a strategy role working, literally, across the whole portfolio and building these bridges between Splunk and our customers, and Splunk and our partners, to make sure that really all the dots connect. That we're jointly building and bringing new things to market that are best going to deliver value for our customers, and that stay aligned with them as they go through what are, frankly, some of the biggest transformations that I've seen in my 30 years in the industry.
Daniel Newman: That's excellent. I appreciate the intro. I'm going to just dive right into these questions.
Skip Bacon: Sure.
Daniel Newman: Why don't we start, Keith, with you. You had alluded a little bit to Antonio's vision and what he's done. Pretty much everything is a service. It's funny, it's hard to believe that it was so unique, but now it's like everybody is talking about everything as a service, which I think says a lot for HPE and Antonio's leadership. Maybe you can talk a little bit about how things have been going there since you left Microsoft, and how you've been changing and adapting along with it.
Keith White: Yeah. It's a great question. And in essence, you're right, we had a vision, but now you have to turn that from the what into the how. And so we really pivoted around, I'd say, three core areas. One is really around the actual portfolio itself, and doing that automation, delivering the cloud services, doing the backend management and making sure that that is all meeting the expectations of our customers. And I walked into a great situation here at HPE because they've got a point next organization and an engineering organization that really knows how to do that very well.
The second thing we really wanted to pivot on was our go to market, and basically, how do we have a very different dialogue with our customers around digital transformation, around modernization type scenarios? And that's unique, because most of the time people are thinking, HPE is going to sell me a server, or a storage device, or some networking. And then the third big thing is around the ecosystem. We've got some fantastic distributors and resellers that have been selling our stuff, but we also have to help them change into these solutions and basically go deeper with SIs and ISVs, colos and other folks as well. And this is where Splunk came in. So it was a fantastic partnership for us because we've got a lot of joint customers. And so working closely with them has been great.
Daniel Newman: It sounded like a great partnership. Last week, I had the chance to attend the .conf event, and I listened to Doug Merritt's keynote, and a number of the other presentations. And Doug's was great. I actually wrote a whole piece about the three transformations, Skip, that he really highlighted about the company's focus on cloud, about the company's data to everything, on building the first platform. And then of course re-imagining the business fundamentals. I thought it was a really well done, well designed event. Of course the cloud, the whole discussion really lends itself to what Keith was just talking about, because to be a cloud company there's going to need to be partnerships, and there's going to be on prem, and there's going to be in the cloud.
So, I thought maybe before even jumping into some of the specific partnership questions, Skip, I wanted to just say, with you guys coming off .conf, that seemed to be a great success. So Will Ferrell, by the way, very funny. That was a great way to wrap up the event. You know, what were some of the big focuses and takeaways that you had, and that you'd want the audience to know. And I always say this with a little bit of a caveat, Skip, is Splunk's one of those companies that's super prolific and popular, but a lot of times you tell people about it and they don't always really know it or fully understand it. So maybe just a quick little bit of back on the whole company as a whole, and then kind of what you saw last week at .conf.
Skip Bacon: Absolutely. And thanks for that summary. I could not agree more. A typical customer knows us for one part of our portfolio or one set of use cases. The reality is, Splunk, under this tagline of data to everything is, I think, one of the more important data to digital transformation companies out there. We help our customers with both sides of that coin, with the digital part, which to me is getting really good at building, deploying, operating, and securing the software that underpins every part of their value chains now. And the transformation part of doing that differently, and using those technical, those digital capabilities to drive very innovative, new business models, new offerings, new experiences to customers, both inside and outside the company. So we're very fundamentally about arming them to do a better job with that entirety of that transformation.
Doug, as you know, spoke at length about this idea that this is really now the digital age, that with the huge acceleration in transformation that we've seen the pandemic driving for so many industries, so many companies, in so many locations, data has never been either more voluminous nor more important to being really good at executing across all of these challenges. And we did. Thank you. I think we had a great .conf event. This is one of the industry's bigger things. It's been in person as long as we've been a company. Transitioning to virtual wasn't easy, but we had a lot of help and a lot of flexibility from both partners and customers. I think we pulled it off pretty well.
We announced dozens of newer enhanced offerings, literally across the whole portfolio. Really the core theme is helping customers better with those challenges. The platform level, the security portfolio and the IT apps portfolio, and in the observability portfolio. Those two announcements, the acquisitions that we announced in the latter, I think being among the biggest news. But we are really, really well positioned to help our customers through this critical period with every aspect of these digital transformations.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. It has been great watching Splunk grow and also go into different areas. Daniel and I had had a podcast we did this morning talking about starting off in an area of strength and then growing out there. And what's cool here is, I see two companies, Splunk and HPE, making a lot of moves, making a lot of big shifts. And what I'd love to talk about is what you announced at the show. HPE as a new container solution and HPE and Splunk are coming together. Can y'all talk about that a little? Maybe we'll off with Keith.
Keith White: Yeah. You bet. No, it's awesome. We've been working together for a long time. In fact, a lot of our customers are joining. You've got some of Splunk's largest customers running HPE infrastructure. And as you mentioned, we delivered HPE's Ezmeral Container Platform. And it just so happened to coincide with Splunk's pre-release of their container friendly version of their app. And so we saw an opportunity to really provide some breakthrough capabilities for customers. So the first thing we did is we brought our software stack, and the infrastructure, and Splunk's new container code to one of the Intel laboratories in Arizona to test it and tune it, and believe it or not, we not only surprised ourselves, but even the folks at Intel, just how well the architecture and the software performed together. And the speed was just blazing fast. So, really excited to showcase what you talked about earlier, which is how do we bring real solutions to our customers. I'll let, Skip sort of jump in.
Skip Bacon: Yeah, we are super, super excited about this. I've been championing this for a while. As you said, the ideal adoption pattern for Splunk is very much land and expand. Let me start with some of it over here. This part of the business start delivering value and then iterate from there. We cannot do enough jointly with partners like HPE to just take the drag, and the effort, and the time out of those expansion steps. Customers want everything to work like a service work, like the cloud, have that elasticity, that agility, that time to value, that flexibility. And this is a great, great partnership that's going to deliver that for all of the software that customers are deploying over time.
Keith White: Yeah. And one of the things like, with Splunk running on GreenLake now, what we've found is that customers can put more than eight instances of Splunk on a single server with near linear scalability. So to give you some numbers on that, it's pretty exciting. Basically, that means that a per server ingest rate of 500 gigabytes of data per day can now scale to 8.7 terabytes. So that's like a 17X improvement over the legacy implementation. So it also shows the power to Skip's point of us working together to deliver real customer outcomes.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. So just curious. A little bit of a follow up on that between, as I build a bridge, because I want to hear a little bit about more how this is starting to infiltrate the customer ecosystem and start to get some wins. But what really drove the two companies to each other? There was a lot of different directions this could have gone. And so there had to have been something that you realized were such a good fit.
Keith White: Yeah. I'll just start in.
Skip Bacon: Yeah, please.
Keith White: Yeah. So, in essence, it starts with our joint customers. And I think this goes back to what you asked early on, which was, "Hey, how are you sort of pivoting yourselves and thinking differently?" And so when you go talk to customers about what's their business problems, and sometimes it might be, "Well, we're trying to ingest a bunch of data from the cloud, and all of a sudden the egress charges are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars. Like that's not going to work for us." But then when you double click and you say, "Well, what are you trying to accomplish? And who are you trying to accomplish it with?" Splunk just kept coming to the top. And so you guys said that up front. Data's the new gold and everyone wants to be able to take and analyze, and do analytics, and AI on that data. And frankly, Splunk, and us, are in these customers together. So instead of just being an app and infrastructure, we have this opportunity to be a real solution to our customers to save them costs and meet those needs in a very, very, very fast time.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. My analysis was definitely, there was a white glove aspect to this, that containers... And I've briefed with both of your companies. And one of the big takeaways that I had when I listened to the experts on both the Splunk side and on the HPE side, was that containers are a hot thing to talk about. The marketecture is pretty awesome of them. And this has led to a ton of media coverage, but the deployment isn't always quite as simple in this practical.
And so a lot of these apps, something, a tool like Splunk, that's being deployed at scale for, say, a big global fortune company, their IT teams are looking at this and going, "Okay, we get this in practice. We even get this in some sort of limited attempt to deploy. But then all of a sudden, when we're trying to do this for thousands of applications across dozens of different primes and clouds and geos, it becomes really complex." And I think this is where, Keith, GreenLake, I think, solved a lot of Splunk's potential problems. It's going to get this rolled out. And then obviously it ends up becoming this really great circular relationship. Did I get that right though? Did I catch the right problem statement there?
Keith White: Yeah. A hundred percent. Skip?
Skip Bacon: Yeah. So again, I see two sides of the coin here. The first is using this as the preferred, literally, premiere transformational platform for customers to deploy Splunk. And use Splunk to help develop, operate, secure all of their other applications. But over time, what happens is they're leveraging Ezmeral to go modernize those apps, to write new cloud native apps and containers on Kubernetes. The Splunk observability suite, which has grown significantly over the last 12 to 18 months, is perfectly positioned to help them further with those challenges. So we're both going to help each other grow the use of Splunk initially, then Splunk will help the use of Ezmeral and the adoption of containers underneath, ever increasing sets of these customer's app infrastructures. We're super excited about both parts of that.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, no, absolutely. I just wanted it, because there's a lot here to unpack, but I definitely sensed, as I was listening, that there's a certain size of deal where this partnership becomes... Because obviously Splunk can be delivered on cloud, as a cloud, but when you start to get to a certain size, that intermediary is important. It seems that HPE is really well positioned to be the intermediary, and has done a lot of that legwork to deliver it.
This actually naturally takes me to the question I wanted to ask though, and that really is about customers. So I had this sense that customers might've been what really drove the marriage, or the potential relationship here of the two companies. Of course, I'd love for you to share as much specifically, or not specifically, as possible. I know that sometimes you have different rules on what you can and cannot say, but I'd love to hear just a little bit about some of the customer opportunities, cases, and wins and anything you could share. And Skip, I'll start this one with you.
Skip Bacon: Yeah. Well, so the target initial customer here was Wells Fargo. One of the largest retail banks in the company. Long-term Splunk user, particularly in the security domain. Seeing a pressing need to significantly increase their use of Splunk in order to achieve further regulatory compliance, further hardening improvement of the security posture, but that meant bringing a whole lot more data into what was already a pretty big footprint as they were looking at the hardware solutions. The idea of stacking up many, many, many individual hardware boxes was honestly going to be a gaining factor on how much more they could Splunk. And so this was the perfect place to converge the HPE discussions, work that we'd been doing in Intel's labs, including on behalf of Intel's own internal deployments as well, and this pressing immediate use case. I think of them as one of the first lighthouse customers. That there's an emergent pattern here that we're both going to lather, rinse and repeat very, very quickly across a rapidly growing customer base from here.
Keith White: So just to double click on that. So, Wells is basically creating a unified data repository that all groups inside Wells can use, leveraging that just enormous amount of machine and telemetry data that Splunk's capturing every day. And so you're right. With GreenLake and with the Ezmeral Container Platform, they can get this performance and scalability along with agility and the ability to basically have a pretty flexible offering for everyone to access, and they can continue to innovate on that platform. And so it's an exciting example, to Skip's point, that more and more customers are having this very similar requirement and we're taking it to them as well.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. That's a great way to start, coming out of the gates pretty strong with a customer like Wells Fargo, but maybe let's talk a little bit about the future. You both bring very unique capabilities to the table. How do you see this evolving? There seems to be natural synergies, probably other partnership opportunities. Maybe you're reticent to talk about what's next after what happened hasn't already baked in, but I think our listeners would love to hear some thoughts about maybe the midterm.
Keith White: Yeah. I'll just say we're really focusing on optimizing the partnership around these large implementations, if you will, who are looking, as Skip said, this land and expand of their Splunk footprint that they need for these types of solutions, like the regulatory data repository scenario we talked about with Wells Fargo. And really getting this whole experience that they can pay for what they use, managed for them, in their location, whether that's in their data center at a colo, or even at the edge, depending on what they're doing with their data. So, we're really focused around that partnership and building those additional solutions for the customer.
Skip Bacon: Yeah. This is the perfect way to help bring that cloud native experience to the software, the Splunk software, the customers are deploying and operating. And yeah, we're very, very focused in this first phase on containers for Splunk, Ezmeral containers for Splunk, as the best way to deploy and operate that software at scale on premise. And I think the natural next phase and evolution there is Splunk helping drive more adoption of Ezmeral, more adoption of containers, under more and more of the customer's app landscape. But we'll eat the elephant a bite at a time here. Get our success under the Splunk deployment platform first and then see where our customers in the market take us from there.
Keith White: But it's a great example, where customers are expecting Skip and I to walk in side by side, "Hey, how can we solve your problem?" Not, "Hey, HPE help me over here." "Hey, Splunk help me over here." And so that's really what we're pushing as well is, what's the joint customer success we can deliver. And again, the speed, the growth, the flexibility that's out there, but it's the way that we have to do business going forward, to Dan's earlier point about, really partnerships and ecosystem that matter here.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. It's an exciting partnership. I had the chance, like I said, to get out in front of it, hear about it. There's a certain amount of technical astuteness that someone's going to need to have to kind of really understand it. But I think what it really comes down to is that, what Splunk does is something that is growingly needed. And I saw that in Doug's keynote when he talked about the speed. I think he said something at about $2 billion, which is the size of Splunk's revenue run right now, the company is growing 89%, was the run rate at this point on their ARR. He showed a comparable to ServiceNow, Salesforce and Workday. And it was faster than any of those companies at this current point, which just goes to back up the whole thing about just how critical data is to the enterprises, and how much enterprises right now are investing.
To grow to that next level though, as I see, and Pat, we talk about this all the time on our show is, you need to have those right levers, those right partnerships, that right scalability. And it seems that this is just a match that's really been well-designed. And I'm guessing with a win early on, like Wells Fargo, that you're going to be able to take that to other large financial institutions, large government, especially where there's a lot of regulatory, and compliance, and challenges at scale. And I think this could be the first of many wins, and I think that'll be something that would be great to see for a partnership like this.
Skip Bacon: The benefits here are not constrained to large. We'll start there, where the needs are the most pressing, get the light scape landed, but the speed, the flexibility, the time to value. It's very common for customers to decide, "Hey, I need to get this next [inaudible] to date, and this next set in." Not having them have to go procure, acquire, deploy, and stand up new servers to do that is magic for customers of all sizes. So I definitely look forward to taking this from the higher end of the spectrum down to mid-sized, and even below. I think it's going to be that compelling for everybody over time.
Daniel Newman: Well, like I always say. Most of these companies aren't in the business of IT. They just need the IT to do the right things. And this is where Splunk and HPE have a great opportunity to be difference makers. So before we send you on your way, and by the way, thank you so much to HPE and Splunk for being part of this show. What can we offer the customers in terms of perspective, people that are interested in learning more, where should they go see more about your products? I'm guessing the website, but anywhere in particular? Keith and Skip, we'll give you both a shot at this, but Keith, I'll send to you first.
Keith White: jsp.com/greenlake. Yeah. It's all up there and we're highlighting all of this. And again, we're happy to lean in and really partner with customers on these solutions. And so we're excited to tell, but that's the first spot, and excited to help.
Skip Bacon: Obviously, splunk.com. But I think even more interestingly, the operator that enables all of this is an open source project and it has been for quite a while. So for the more technically inclined, go right to GitHub, you can check that out. We've already seen some significant customer contributions back to that. So the open source strategy is working. It's just a very, very transparent and efficient way of serving this market need.
Daniel Newman: Absolutely. Well Skip, Keith, thank you so much for joining the Six Five Insider's Edition. We're going to send you on your way. We're going to wrap this show up, but thanks again for spending some time with us.
Skip Bacon: Thanks.
Keith White: Thanks. Appreciate it.
Daniel Newman: That was fun. Wasn't it?
Patrick Moorhead: Wow. It was, it was. And I got to tell you, I'll just reiterate two companies from different areas, making changes, expanding. Although their paths are different I think they make a pretty good couple.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. This is also a great indicator of where we talked early on in the show, this momentum that's being built for these hybrid cloud scale, both scale out and scale up services. Apps are what need to scale. That's one of the biggest things. It's data and apps, and to be able to deploy these things across the ecosystem, make them very usable. But also, like I said, take all the intimidation out of IT modernization. And it seems a lot of what's happening here is companies can't do this fast enough on their own. That's why there's a great opportunity. And that's what I think I heard Keith really saying, and Skip, too, about why this partnership was so well-designed as the two companies started working together.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. And I'm really glad to see that we're beyond the, it has to be in the public cloud. I think, with 80% of the data, and the app still on prem, and with public cloud actually slowing down, a hybrid is the answer. And I think these two companies have the ability to take hybrid to the next level.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely, Pat. Well, we've got to wrap this Insider Edition up. It was great to have HPE and Splunk both take time from their busy executive schedules to come talk to us on this show, but it's also going to be a lot of fun to watch how this matures, how this becomes a scaled up new customer, that the two companies can tout wins together. And then as we come back in a year, I expect big growth from GreenLake. And I'm expecting that big growth from Splunk. I said 89%, we're going to want to see those kinds of big double digits. The street in the, in the industry loves, loves a growth story, so growth across the board, Pat.
Patrick Moorhead: Deep double digits. That's what they're looking for in cloud right now.
Daniel Newman: Absolutely. So we've got to say goodbye for now. Hit that subscribe button, check out our show notes. We'll have some links to learn more about HPE GreenLake, and more about Splunk, and cloud, and the partnership. You can learn all about it there. Again, thanks for being part of our family, our community here at the Six Five. Go ahead and check out all of our other Insider Editions, and our regular weekly show where we cover all the big news with deep analysis so that you know, not only what's going on, but what it all means. But for now we've got to say goodbye. We'll see you later.