I’ve had the privilege of being invited to the Tech Summit run by HPE. The venue this year – Cannes. It’s the same venue that the film festivals run from, so naturally, a lot of local speakers have expressed humility and gratitude to be standing on such a prestigious stage – the Grand Auditorium here at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes.
I’m here with my colleague, Rich Dunthorne. Rich runs the presales function at AN and is well known for his ability to get his hands dirty when necessary – some might say he even enjoys it!
Well firstly, the security at this gig is tight. It definitely feels like we’re celebrities being herded around wearing badges that are checked at each entry point. Not a bad thing!
Making our way to the kick-off session, we had a full house. I believe it’s roughly 3000 people or so.
The show kicked off with a display of dancing and acrobatics.
To be honest, anything following this really would come across as a bit bland, but it was pretty awesome nonetheless.
We then had a keynote from the Chief Technologist, David Chalmers.
Dave spoke passionately about the ecosystem of HPE and its partners, and how HPE as a company has broken off from its parent, HP Inc. By becoming smaller, the new CEO has been able to run a tighter ship and really focus on what it’s delivering either directly or via its partner network.
We then had the MD of HPE EMEA, Andy Isherwood, give a speech on the current state of HPE as a company. Let’s just put it this way; things are looking good!
Next, we had Dr Tom Bradicich, VP of Servers, Converged Edge & IoT Systems.
Dr Tom spoke about how companies need to embrace digital disruption or be left behind, enabling better communication using IoT. He then pointed out to the fact that most companies don’t have a digital transformation strategy, but they want everything FAST! Customers want innovation, but don’t know how they’re going to get there. It’s up to us to help.
We then had a country update from Chris Depledge, BDM for HPE EMEA.
We then had Andy Sawyer take the stage.
Andy made an interesting point, that most companies will keep their workloads in-house and focus on a hybrid approach to cloud.
In my personal experience what I’ve seen so far is the same thing. I’ve yet to work with a large enterprise that has all of their workloads in the public cloud.
His point was that, for now, we need local computing to make decisions – i.e. a driverless car. The car is not going to hold its compute in a cloud platform, it will need the ability to make decisions within nanoseconds. That goes back to an important point regarding cloud – CONNECTIVITY! We just don’t have the connectivity in place at the moment to be able to have the same performance as we do with on-prem networking. Not to mention the amount of data that an intelligent system will need to hold in the form of storage. We can’t have driverless cars moving around with servers and data can we? Actually we’ll have to for the foreseeable future. That’s good for those of us who spend our time designing enterprise solutions!
Stathy Toulouis from Mesosphere then took the stage.
Stathy founded Mesosphere and is tackling the problem of having multiple platforms to run workloads from. Mesosphere provides software on which you can move workloads anywhere; public cloud or on-prem. Similar to Docker I guess.
After this we broke for lunch and then the next keynote session from Peter Chen at Intel. Note I was in the front row so that I could try grab a quick power nap before it started, but it didn’t work!
This was a really good keynote. Peter went into detail on Intel and HPE’s partnership, reminding us that 99% of what HPE ships server-wise contains Intel CPUs. Therefore if something is running in a datacenter somewhere, there’s an extremely high chance it’s running on Intel compute. On a separate note, this definitely rings true with what I see on a day-to-day basis. While I might use AMD on occasion at home, I generally only really see Intel in the world of work.
We then had a session with some HPE managers across EMEA. I have to be honest and say I found the first two speakers quite informative, but didn’t really relate to the last two speakers.
The 2nd day ended with a good old lab, where I configured a C7000 chassis using OneView. I was quite impressed, although I can see how this could be problematic in the real world and how the wrong person having access to OneView could lead to your entire environment being trashed! OneView is able to manage and monitor nearly all HPE products, from servers to blades to storage! The great thing about this is that it provides a single interface for all your automation tools, although you can use a mixture of all if you want. You probably wouldn’t want a single person having access to everything, BUT this is a good step towards breaking down walls between silos and having “infrastructure teams” rather than server teams, VMware teams, storage teams etc.
We ended the day with a pizza at a local French restaurant. It’s France, all the food is great!