Last week HPE announced its acquisition of SimpliVity, a provider of enterprise hyper-converged infrastructure solutions. While that announcement certainly made news in the IT industry, the broader implications of this acquisition signaled that enterprise IT providers such as HPE could no longer sit on the sidelines and merely be content to partner with providers such as SimpliVity as hyper-converged solutions rapidly become a growing percentage of enterprise IT. If HPE wanted its fair share of this market, it was imperative that it act sooner rather than later to ensure it remained a leading player in this rapidly growing market.
The good news is that in HPE’s acquisition of Simplivity is that HPE chose a product that aligned well with its existing hybrid IT strategy.
HPE Hybrid IT Strategy
The challenge with this strategy as defined is that its existing HPE Hyper Converged 380 simply did not have the chops to scale into the enterprise. It was a great solution for the midmarket environments for which it was intended offering fast deployments, simplified on-going management, and right-sized for these environments. But when looking at enterprise IT environments that demand greater scalability and data management services, the HPE HC 380 did not quite fit the bill.
Enter HPE’s acquisition of SimpliVity.
SimpliVity stormed onto the hyper-converged infrastructure market a few years ago. While it certainly had success in the midmarket with its products, it more importantly also had success in the enterprise market which many of its competitors failed to breach. I was even present at some of its analyst conferences where end-users openly talked about leveraging SimpliVity to displace enterprise level converged infrastructure solutions. Heady times indeed, for a company so new to the market.
Clearly HPE took notice, probably in part because I suspect some of these displacements involved SimpliVity cutting in on its turf. However, an enterprise caliber hyper-converged infrastructure offering was a gap that HPE needed to fill in its enterprise product portfolio anyway. In this case, if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em, which is exactly what HPE is in the process of doing.
In the analyst briefing that I attended last week, it was obvious that HPE had a clear vision of how it intended to merge SimpliVity into its portfolio of offerings. In talking about how SimpliVity would fit into its hybrid IT strategy, HPE explained how enterprise IT would consist of the traditional IT stack (servers, storage, and networking,) hyper-converged infrastructure, and the cloud.
Yet that emerging enterprise IT framework did not dissuade HPE. Rather, HPE recognized that it could cleanly incorporate SimpliVity into this IT architecture by creating what it terms “composable workloads” that encompassed its existing 3PAR StoreServ and cloud platforms as well as the new SimpliVity platform. Using its tools (I assume to be developed,) application workloads can dynamically be placed on any of these platforms and then moved if and when needed.
Further adding to SimpliVity’s appeal was its availability of enterprise data management services. However, HPE uncovered that these services worked and were in use. In researching SimpliVity prior to the acquisition, HPE found that many if not most of SimpliVity’s existing customers used its compression and deduplication services as well as its built-in data protection features. In other words, SimpliVity did more than “check” the box that it offered these features. It delivered these features in a manner that companies could confidently deploy and use them in their environment.
HPE admitted that SimpliVity’s offering still had some work to do in the areas of ease of use and speed of deployment to match enterprise expectations in those areas. But considering that HPE has probably done as much or more work than almost any other enterprise provider to deliver on these types of expectations with its 3PAR and StoreOnce lines of storage, SimpliVity should experience great success near and long term in its forthcoming home at HPE.