In hopes of gaining a competitive edge, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has introduced predictive analytics and several other ease-of-management features to its SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) equipment.
The company on Monday said its InfoSight software is now available on the SimpliVity platform. InfoSight is HPE’s cloud-based service that uses machine learning and analytics to help customers manage resources and predict and prevent issues.
“We are giving customers insight into how they manage and operate their environments, so their applications stay fast and always on,” David Wang, HPE’s director of product marketing for storage, told Data Center Knowledge.
The two other ease-of-management features are one-click software upgrades and support for long-term data storage. The company has built tight integration between SimpliVity equipment and HPE’s StoreOnce backup appliance, making it simpler for customers to store archival data, Wang said.
HPE competes against market leaders Dell EMC, Nutanix, and Cisco in the growing hyperconverged infrastructure market. HCI combines server, storage, and networking into one appliance. According to IDC, the market reached $1.8 billion in revenue during the 2019 second quarter, a 23.7 percent sales increase from a year ago.
Wang said he believes HPE InfoSight, paired with SimpliVity, could differentiate HPE from its competitors. HCI has enabled software-defined automation, which makes it simple to deploy and scale infrastructure, but everyone in the industry offers that capability, Wang said.
Competing HCI products don’t do anything to address the fact that “IT still reacts to fires,” he said. IT managers “are still dealing with application disruptions and having to troubleshoot. For us, we see a movement beyond software-defined. We look at this as an opportunity to usher in a new generation of HCI that’s powered by artificial intelligence.”
HPE acquired InfoSight when the company purchased Nimble Storage in 2017. It collects data from HPE’s global install base and uses machine learning to train predictive analytics models for customers, Wang said. Future versions will provide recommendations and automate changes, he added.
InfoSight, which is free for SimpliVity customers with active support contracts, offers three categories of capabilities today.
The first is predictive resource planning, providing enterprises insight into capacity usage and forecasting, Chuck Wood, HPE SimpliVity’s product marketing manager, told us. For example, it not only tells customers the percentage of storage being used, it gives them an estimate of when they will run out of storage -- 90 to 180 days from today, for example.
“It looks at all the resources related to the virtual resource pool,” Wood explained. “It tells you how many days away you are away from being full, so you can thoughtfully plan and rebalance or add more resources.”
Second, InfoSight allows IT staff to drill down into performance and capacity metrics, such as latency and IOPS, and can show the top 10 VMs that are using the most resources, or conversely, VMs that are no longer being utilized, Wang said. “It’s an opportunity to repurpose underutilized resources,” he said.
Third, InfoSight offers support-case automation. It can detect problems, such as failed drives or a failed data backup attempt, and automatically open a support ticket, Wood said. HPE’s support engineers – combined with machine learning and data analytics – will help figure out the root cause of the problem, Wang added.
As for the other HPE announcements, the one-click HCI cluster upgrades allow enterprises to easily keep the entire SimpliVity software stack – firmware, hypervisor, and SimpliVity software – up to date with one click of the mouse, Wang said.
“It makes it easy to deploy across large, distributed environments, especially in edge use cases, where you don’t have IT administrators,” he said.
Historically, HPE SimpliVity has had data backup and recovery software and capabilities built in. But customers who want lower-cost storage for archival data will be able to use HPE’s StoreOnce backup appliance for HPE SimpliVity, slated for availability during the first half of 2020, the company said.
“This frees up their high-performance SSDs and moves their long-term data into a more cost-effective tier of storage,” Wang said.