Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) held the digital version of its Discover event this week. Similar to the Atmosphere virtual event, held last week by HPE’s Aruba division, the “Intelligent Edge” was a core theme (see my coverage of the Aruba event here, if interested). Today I would like to share my edge and telco-related insights from Discover 2020.
Why the edge is important
The edge is “the place where things happen,” according to HPE executives. I agree wholeheartedly. Data is being generated at astronomical rates. It’s estimated that connected vehicles will generate dozens of terabytes of data daily once autonomous driving becomes a reality. Additionally, it’s expected that new use cases powered by 5G networks and edge “supercharging” will generate similar volumes across consumer and enterprise segments. Because of this, enterprises can no longer rely solely on cloud computing resources to connect, process, analyze and act on data. The highly centralized cloud will need to be married to a highly distributed network edge in order to fully unlock digital transformation. The lower latency that results from placing compute resources closer to data creation points will support application responsiveness and the delivery of new, highly disruptive services.
Both HPE CEO Antonio Neri and HPE Aruba President Keerti Melkote expounded on the power of the edge during the three-day conference. Mr. Neri, and the founder of Zenuity shared the virtual stage on Day 1 to discuss autonomous driving. Zenuity is a Volvo Cars joint venture devoted to the development of self-driving and assisted-driving platforms that balance safety and performance. HPE supplies artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and edge infrastructure to facilitate Zenuity’s development and validation efforts.
On Day 2, Mr. Melkote talked about Aruba’s Covid-19 response efforts. The company has provided popup connectivity for mobile clinics, Wi-Fi parking lot hotspots for underserved schools and flexible, robust, and secure platforms such as the Aruba Remote Access Point for remote workers. These use cases all take place in the far network edge, speaking volumes for Aruba’s capabilities in the sector. Looking forward, I also believe location-based services will be instrumental in facilitating a safe return to office environments, by enabling contact tracing and density monitoring to ensure proper social distancing. Aruba has a proven track record here, with its acquisition of Meridian several years ago, and has built up a robust ecosystem of partners and solutions.
Getting edgy with telcos
This week at Discover, HPE made a key announcement that further strengthens its momentum within the telecommunications industry. In an effort to help operators and service providers identify new monetization opportunities at the edge of 5G networks and telco clouds, the company announced HPE Edge Orchestrator. At a high level, the solution delivers low latency cloud services through an app catalog. This allows operators the ability to offer customers a number of “single click” edge computing solutions that are simple to deploy and can scale across multiple locations. It looks to be a compelling offering that compliments prior announcements made in the spring, such as the 5G Core Stack set of microservices for unlocking edge use cases and a platform dubbed Open Distributed Infrastructure Management (ODIM) that is focused on helping simplify 5G operator deployments. What I find compelling about ODIM is that it can manage both multi-vendor and multi-generational cellular infrastructure. ODIM provides critical harmonization, and, in my opinion, the potential to not only improve service agility but also deliver operational expense savings. If you are interested in learning more, you can find that article here.
I continue to be impressed with the way HPE is positioning and leveraging Aruba’s capabilities. Often when companies are acquired, intellectual property is harvested, and staffs are reduced. That is not the case here, and one might even characterize the Aruba integration as a “reverse” merger given the strategic role Mr. Melkote and team serves in driving HPE’s overall edge strategy. However, HPE also has a strong telco team with operator DNA infused in its veins. It is actively involved in helping build out 5G networks of the future with a strong portfolio of services and solutions. In short, Discover 2020 highlighted both HPE’s edge leadership and telco acumen. Across enterprises and service providers, I believe the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunities presented by the edge and growth of 5G.