OCSL Editor

Hyper convergence market insights with Iain Mobberley, OCSL’s Technology Director. Could this be considered the second “disruptive” purchase under the HP Enterprise banner? First they snapped up Aruba, and now Simplivity - a leader in the hyper converged infrastructure market. The purchase for $650 million seems a steal.   As recently as 2015 Simplivity was valued at $2.5 billion by venture capitalists.  And for a business that was only founded in 2009, that’s a pretty impressive growth rate. 

Hyper convergence - Why is Simplivity such a hot acquisition?

According to Antonio Neri, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Group, “HPE will bring together its best-in-class infrastructure, automation and cloud management software with Simplivity’s industry-leading software-defined data management platform, to deliver the industry’s only 'built-for-enterprise' hyper converged offering.”

At the heart of Simplivity’s tech portfolio is the Omni-Stack software defined abstraction layer.  This enables a powerful set of hyper converged technologies.

Cleverly, they appear not to have wedded themselves to any particular hardware vendor or hyper-visor provider.  This offers flexibility and maps to a number of different scenarios - whether it’s a virtual desktop solution, a data centre consolidation project or cloud computing.  Moving forward, this flexibility is likely to continue to be a key USP.  When it comes to the competition, there’s only one that really springs to mind. And that’s Nutanix.

In the past, Nutanix were known for specific workloads.  Plus they were limited with the hyper-visor they supported (at the time VMware).  Even though this is no longer the case, the perception has stuck.  Both organisations have forward-thinking management. But now Simplivity is under HPE’s portfolio, arguably, they have the edge. Especially, if you consider HPE’s established customer base and huge marketing reach into mid and enterprise-level organisations.

What’s HPE likely to do with their newest hyper convergence acquisition? And what could it mean for you?

Yes, there are some obvious synergies with the current HPE portfolio; but there will also be fall out.  For example, will HPE continue with their own offering in the hyper converged infrastructure  space? Unlikely. Up until now this has had mediocre success and Simplivity’s offering can now be easily mapped on to the datacentre portfolio.

One of the most interesting things will be how Simplivity’s software layer is extended to HPE’s Synergy portfolio. This will create a very high-end, modern architecture, likely to be hugely compelling for enterprise-level businesses.

There’s also more niche integrated server systems, such as Moonshot, its Energy Efficient, Integrated Infrastructure Servers. To date, these have struggled to gain mainstream adoption, but with Simplivity in the mix, this could be a much more interesting proposition. Especially in the optimised desktop space. 

But the most obvious stablemate will be the HC380 product line. This is likely to  go head-to-head with Nutanix. This is the most simple and obvious fit.  And this combination will offer a product line of server appliances built to industrial strength, (the “world’s most popular server”) coupled with a great software defined layer. 

Suddenly, HPE are set to become a significant force to be reckoned with in terms of hyper convergence and the Hyper converged infrastructure market.  It wouldn’t surprise me  if they don’t start to take share from Nutanix in EMEA and possibly other regions.  Have HPE stolen the crown jewels from Nutanix, Cisco and Dell?  Hyper converged infrastructure is set to be a growing market for the next 3-4 years and is set to reach nearly $6 billion by 2020.  So, in my opinion, HPE’s timing is spot on.

Are you an existing Simplivity customer or have invested heavily in a Simplivity Cloud infrastructure? Please get in contact with OCSL. We’d be happy to share our own perspective and insights on HPE’s latest acquisition and how hyperconvergence could be used to optimise your own infrastructure.

Thought piece