Hybrid IT is the lifeline of businesses: Alain Andreoli

CIOs are the strategic orchestrators between IT and business stakeholders with the data plane at the core says Alain Andreoli, global chief for Hybrid IT Group at HPE.

The end-to-end enterprise technology market has moved from traditional IT to cloud to intelligent edge. “We believe the consolidation of this horizon will lead us to era of autonomous datacentre - the datacentres which will not be necessarily what we see today,” said Alain Andreoli, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hybrid IT Group, HPE in an exclusive interaction with CIO India. On an India visit; he talked about HPE’s overall business strategy and how hybrid IT fits in to the modern IT infrastructure.

Hybrid IT is a broad industry term that is often over-hyped by technology vendors. With many organizations still in the cloud 1.0 era, how would the gap narrow for companies to become truly hybrid?

The customers today not only need to deliver current apps but also build the new products as part of this hybrid IT world. There will be hordes of data from the edge into their datacentres but more data across public cloud, private cloud, colocation and hence there will be many complexities designing hybrid IT strategy. There will be seventy percent of data at the edge by 2022 as per reports and that will be next revolution after the cloud.

Alain’s Bucket List for CIOs & Hybrid IT Blueprint

  • Do not consider that one size fits all as different tools provide different customer experiences.
  • Try as many things you can with focus on core apps with highest degree of control.
  • Deploy some form of private cloud with the flexibility to run different workloads efficiently.
  • Ensure the pubic cloud has a predictable cost and the flexible path to migrate back if needed.
  • Learn from the business units on the impact of the edge on business now and in future.
  • Explore the digitization of company’s products that are more intelligent and hyper connected.

The gap can recede only when the IT infra has a data plane that allows the data to move from one point to the other. Till then you have cohabitation between on prem, specialized, private cloud and then some public cloud usage. But these are different workloads infact they are different people like the developers and others working on creating solutions on public cloud and others. The distributed data has to be self-healing with a seamless data orchestration between the core, cloud and the edge. Hence HPE has very high expectation with HPE OneSphere that truly enables hybrid IT.

Clouds of different vendors don’t talk to each other for actionable insights on humongous data moving from datacenter to edge in a multi-cloud environment?

I am not sure that the data from different cloud vendors will talk to each other. You will have a translator in the middle that will take the data from the different places and articulate them with a common format. Right now if you go on AWS and Microsoft Azure, they don’t talk to each other.

It has to be made easier for customers to use multi cloud – not one but several clouds including their own and they should be able to have the data to decide how much it will cost them and the location of the workloads based on frequency of usage, volume and other parameters. At present, it is not made easy for customers to be open. There are all different proprietary islands and that’s why they are struggling to make IT hybrid at their end. The infra will be truly hydrid when there is single pane of data and the cohabitation of this data takes place.

The CIOs and IT teams could buy some clouds and IT gear in ad-hoc manner and plonk them together to work?

You could call that hybrid IT but it does not give all the benefits. The reals benefits come when they are able to understand on how much data and workloads to keep in datacenter and we have number of offerings for the same. It’s important for them to know what to keep on prem and what they want to do off prem including at the edge today and more importantly in the future.

It will become more difficult for customers to compute and analyze the workloads close to the edge and send it back to datacenter or let’s call it cloud – internal and external. Because even with 5G it’s hard to imagine that all data generated from say electric data, robot will migrate directly to the datacenter. Our vision is to help the customers to compute enough at the edge and that’s where the autonomous datacenters comes in.

HPE’s ‘Make Hybrid IT Simple’ tagline isn’t easy as it sounds because CIOs and ITDMs are grappling to strike an optimal balance between ‘lights on’ budgets and innovation budgets in the era of digital transformation. Your take?

Globally we see all the CIOs willingly or unwillingly have to deal with public cloud. If they aren’t trying then they would be playing defense. Initially in US, companies moved to public cloud but when they received the invoices, many moved back to private cloud. There have been calculations like for workloads below x number of servers, it’s eventually cheaper to put workload outside, but higher volume means inside the datacenter is beneficial and economical.

“Modern CIO is not the chief IT officer but the chief data officer at their company that helps key stakeholders makes business decisions based on data than being an IT organization. We are moving fast from information to data in hybrid world.”

AlainAndreoli-SVPnGM-HybridITgroup-HPE170

Alain Andreoli, Senior VP & GM, Hybrid IT Group, HPE

Many CIOs haven’t been able to stabilize the decision point for on prem and off prem because they missed the flexibility bus to help workloads and Apps migrate to and fro from the public cloud. They have the tendency to be central than what’s really going outside at the edge. The public cloud is mostly for Greenfield for enterprise or customers who haven’t built datacenter in first place. The pure enterprise moving from datacentre to public cloud is relatively limited despite lot of fuzz around it.

Now there are ‘Multiple Buying Centers’ as CDOs, CMOs,LOBs at the organizations have their own budgets and more influence in IT decisions. Has CIO role become less powerful?

Hybrid IT makes decisions much more distributed across company’s stakeholders but it makes CIO role as the strategic orchestrator to finalize these choices for the business. More influence and at times choices will be made by business units but CIO will be the person with the IT strategy to guide them towards the right business decision.

Companies had dedicated budgets (capex), good control with apps on premise because the data was at one place. But now the data is everywhere across three destinations of core, cloud and edge plus the fact the apps can run on SaaS which is much bigger ingredient than IaaS. CIOs have to keep their eyes wide open on choosing the best business model at point of time for given app. HPE has a mission to be the neutral party to really help customers make decision in a way they can quantify, predict their bill and control of data as well.

Everyone is on the bandwagon of Hybrid IT be it traditional tech players like IBM, Dell EMC and new ones like Nutanix. What set you ahead of competition?

We are services led company with the capability to take our customers agnostically through this transformation both in terms of advisory services and consumption models. HPE Pointnext offers advisory for customers on transformation journey and consumption models for on prem and off prem through HPE GreenLake. OneSphere is the platform for this services approach for on premise and our traditional infra and more specialised for HPC, Big Data, converged, HCI, more compassable for private cloud with HPE Synergy. HPE InfoSight provides self-healing to everything across our extensive stack from Nimble, 3PAR, SimpliVity and other technologies.

We offer a single data plane allowing customers the flexibility to go everywhere – across on prem, off prem and at the edge. HPE offers not only best infra but the best self-healing infra that customers will continue to buy from us or from other people in an open environment.

Your best practices’ guide for CIOs to have a successful Hybrid IT blueprint for their company?

Do not consider that one size fits all. The set of tools that you can use are all very different, they are in different stage of evolution, they have a very different cost structure and they provide different customer experiences. Try as many things as you can making sure to keep core apps with the highest degree of control and predictable cost. Solutions that deliver business outcome should remain super critical and high priority for companies.

5 Big Trends of 2018 : HPE’S Alain Andreoli

1. The edge will become more important.

2. Stabilization of the market between private and public cloud.

3. Steadying of the rates of IT components. 

4. Good economy accelerates investment capabilities by tech OEMs.

5. More innovation from Silicon by different vendors’s products at the systems level.

Have some form of private cloud to have the flexibility to run different workloads by yourself in a very efficient manner. Make sure whatever put on pubic cloud you are able to predict how much will cost and the flexible path to go back to on prem if needed.

And finally, make no mistake, learn from business units on what the future of the edge. Your job will be different as your reply to CFOs and CEOs about cheaper usage of public cloud is easy equation. With the digitization of the products that enterprise used to develop in the past is now becoming intelligent and connected, and hence you should not lose this wave to stay relevant to your job and the industry.

What are the chief trends you anticipate in the enterprise world in 2018 that will impact the technology landscape?

The edge will be much more important. We will see the stabilization of the market between private and public cloud which has happened in past couple quarters. The trial and error as a short time priority by CIOs for workload placement will see more clarity around what moves in the cloud and what stays in DevOps side.

Another big trend will be the steadying of rates of IT components which has been quite a problem for last few years.  Economy is pretty good everywhere than the crisis in the past across few geographies that increase our capabilities for innovation and capability of investments. Lastly, lot of innovation will continue to come from silicon world with emergence of different vendors that allows more innovation at systems level.

Your short pitch for a CIO of a modern and innovative company?

IT is everywhere as we become a digital society and strive to stay in control economically and strategically in terms of security. It’s a new world beyond the walls of the datacenter and what matters is the data. Modern CIO is not the chief IT officer but the chief data officer at their company that helps key stakeholders makes business decisions based on data than being an IT organization. We are moving fast from information to data in hybrid world.