Hewlett Packard Enterprise headquarters in San Jose, California Yevgeniy Sverdlik
Hewlett Packard Enterprise headquarters in San Jose, California

HPE Packages BlueData and Apollo for Canned AI Infrastructure

Integrates its heavy-duty servers with recently acquired BlueData and Pointnext services

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has packaged Big Data software, hardware, and services to make it faster and easier for enterprises to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.

Five months after acquiring start-up BlueData, HPE this week announced a new offering that integrates HPE Apollo hardware and HPE Pointnext consulting services with BlueData software, which provides a virtualized container environment that allows for simple, one-click deployment of AI and analytics tools, the company said.

The HPE package allows application developers, data scientists, and data engineers to focus on analytics instead of infrastructure needs, Patrick Osborne, HPE’s VP of Big Data and secondary storage, said. “We just want them to worry about data modeling and data engineering as opposed to futzing around with infrastructure,” he said.

Hardware makers such as HPE, IBM, Dell EMC, and Lenovo are all investing in the fast-growing AI market, and part of that is developing hardware for compute-intensive AI workloads, Dave Schubmehl, IDC’s research director for AI software platforms, said.

HPE, whose Apollo 6500 Gen10 system was purpose built for deep learning, has also developed specific Pointnext services to help its customers implement AI projects. The BlueData acquisition complements HPE’s AI efforts, Schubmehl said.

“HPE has invested in AI and ML quite a bit. They have specific reference architectures. They’ve got cookbooks – all sorts of great stuff for organizations that are running AI, and this is just furthering that whole approach,” he said.

BlueData Integration

BlueData software can run in on-premises data centers, in the public cloud, or in hybrid environments. HPE will continue to offer BlueData as a standalone software product that can run on any vendor’s on-premises infrastructure.

The turnkey HPE solution – which combines BlueData software with Apollo servers and storage and Pointnext services – is ideal for enterprises with large-scale AI, ML, and other data analytics projects, the company said.

“If you buy the software and the infrastructure together, we provide the building blocks, the sizing, and certainly the consulting services around it,” Osborne says.

Existing customers using BlueData software include those in financial services, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and other industries, the company said. Use cases include fraud detection, credit risk analysis, genomics research, and personalized medicine.

HPE’s BlueData team is working on improvements, including developing new reference architectures for different AI/ML tools, including Apache Kafka, Apache Spark, Cloudera, H20 and TensorFlow, the company said.

Overall, Osborne believes the BlueData acquisition will help HPE make further inroads into the AI market. 

“From our perspective, it allows us to not only have conversations and solutions for folks who are managing infrastructure, but now HPE with BlueData has a seat at the table with data scientists, data engineers and chief data officers,” he said. “Where HPE is known as a large portfolio company focused on hybrid cloud infrastructure, we are also able to talk data, data analytics, and these more business-oriented outcomes.”

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