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Ryder Cup provides extreme use case for managing the digital edge for 250K mobile golf fans

Ryder Cup provides extreme use case for managing the digital edge for 250K mobile golf fans

A discussion on how the 2018 Ryder Cup golf match between European and US players places unique technical and campus requirements on its operators.

Is Multi-Cloud Sprawl Causing Your Money to Fly Away?


According to a recent Forrester Research survey of IT decision makers, two-thirds of those pursuing hybrid IT in their digital transformation quest did so without a comprehensive plan. The result? A chaotic hybrid cloud deployment model that can be costly – not only economically, but also in terms agility and governance.

What causes this haphazard cloud use, and what new tools, processes, and methods are available that help IT leaders reign in their hybrid IT sprawl?

Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, discusses these issues in a recent BriefingsDirect, Voice of the Analyst hybrid IT management strategies. In this podcast, Gardner talks with Rhett Dillingham, Vice President and Senior Analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, to get his take on multi-cloud sprawl and what can be done to contain it.

Jerry-rigged, multi-cloud management tools aren’t working

Gardner and Dillingham describe how enterprises today are using at least one public cloud and many are using multiple public clouds—in addition to their private infrastructure. Although public cloud deployment has matured over the years, the typical enterprise doesn’t have the tools needed to understand the optimal cloud mix in terms of purchase and consumption options. When you combine that challenge with determining an accurate cost model for private infrastructure, the task can become overwhelming very quickly. 

The challenge is how to manage these infrastructures in terms of costs, security, and governance. Commonly available management tools only work on a cloud-by-cloud basis; a single tool that consolidates the management of all resources is hard to find. Although many organizations already have management tools for solving a variety of issues relating to heterogeneous systems, existing toolsets don’t extend to the public cloud.

The enterprise clearly needs better cloud management tools and services. These tools should encompass the entire hybrid infrastructure (aka hybrid estate) – from multiple off-premises, public clouds to numerous on-premises, private clouds. Until these tools or services are deployed, the problem of cloud sprawl will continue to grow.

What’s available now to better manage multi-cloud sprawl?

According to Dillingham, private infrastructure vendors are delivering new management capabilities, but actually managing clouds isn’t where most of them started. The rush to adopt public cloud – and the focus on agility over cost-efficiency – promoted a culture of visibility and reporting, but not governance. Therefore, many of the tools available are better at delivering visibility, instead of the management. Yet both visibility and governance are needed for enterprises to be able to get the most out of their hybrid IT infrastructure.

A number of vendors are innovating in this space. Dillingham gives the example of HPE OneSphere from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE OneSphere is a multi-cloud management solution that delivers visibility and governance capabilities along with the analytics enterprises need to make better cloud decisions.

Managed services are also starting to appear—the next logical step in helping the enterprise gain better management of their multi-cloud chaos. This type of service analyzes and optimizes the enterprise’s footprint across various cloud infrastructures on the basis of agility and cost comparisons.

Managing hybrid IT with tools or services?

Gardner wonders if enterprises should think of cloud management oversight and optimization as a set of services, rather than a product or a tool. He mentions, HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud, a new service that delivers cloud-native operations, compliance, financial control, and more for public clouds.  “Is that the way to go?” Gardner asks? “Should we think of cloud management oversight and optimization as a set of services, rather than a product or a tool? It seems to me that a set of services, with an ecosystem behind them, is pretty powerful.”

Dillingham explains that he believes in a three layer approach. The first is the multi-cloud infrastructure management tool, whether it is consumed as software or as a service. The second is the professional consultative services around the tool, which helps the enterprise take full advantage of the tool. And the third is a decision on whether you need an operational partner from a managed service provider perspective.

Dillingham explains, this is where “HPE is stepping up and saying we will handle all three of these. We will deliver your tools in various consumption models through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model with HPE OneSphere. And we will operate the services for you beyond that SaaS control portal – into your infrastructure management, across a hybrid footprint with the HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering. It is very compelling.”

Lots of moving parts. Choose carefully—with a long term view in mind.

Gardner concludes the podcast by asking Dillingham what the end user needs to consider to be successful in a cloud-first organization. With so many moving parts, what things should be top of mind?

Dillingham explains that it’s a complex process – and the enterprise needs a plan that includes many aspects. And that’s where you may want to enlist a professional services partner, to help walk you through the decision-making process. This discussion should include where you want to be in three, five, or even 10 years. The most important aspect to consider, according to Dillingham, is the goal. And this goal needs to be considered with a long term view in mind.

To listen to the complete podcast, click here. To learn more from HPE about managing your multi-cloud environment, check out this link. Read more from Rhett Dillingham on controlling hybrid cloud costs in a recent Forbes article.


Follow HPE Composable Infrastructure

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Chris Purcell  Composable Infrastructure, Integrated and Multi-Cloud management, Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Cloud


Chris Purcell

Composable Infrastructure, Integrated and Multi-Cloud management, Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Cloud

How the Internet of Things Is Cultivating a New Vision for Agriculture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  IsaacRo  Technologist in the making and proud geek. I crave chaos from disruptive tech trends: #IoT #BigData #AI. Currently leading Digital Marketing and Events @HPE_IoT



Technologist in the making and proud geek. I crave chaos from disruptive tech trends: #IoT #BigData #AI. Currently leading Digital Marketing and Events @HPE_IoT

To head off the threat of food shortages for a global population estimated to top 9 billion by 2050, the world’s agricultural output must double. That mandates innovation to improve monitoring of conditions in the field in order to reduce inputs while maximizing yield and nutritional value. It also means processing data from agricultural land, machines and facilities more efficiently to accelerate research.

These are ideal applications for IoT technologies and edge computing, which is why Hewlett Packard Enterprise is partnering with Purdue University, one of the world’s leading agricultural colleges, to create a new vision for farming and agricultural research in the 21st century. The partnership’s efforts attracted a lot of attention at HPE Discover Las Vegas in June. HPE’s Janice Zdankus, VP for Quality, and Purdue University Executive Sponsor, joined Patrick Smoker, Director and Department Head of Agriculture IT at Purdue, to talk about massive innovation to drive a smarter, more connected, more sustainable agriculture.

Watch the video to learn:

  • How edge computing powered by HPE Edgeline and connectivity tech from Aruba, an HPE company, capture terabytes of data from every inch of Purdue’s 1400-plus acre field research station
  • How intelligent edge technologies accelerate time-to-discovery for research teams
  • How the partners’ innovations will support economic development in Purdue’s home state of Indiana and around the world.

Patrick expanded on these comments in an interview with tech blogger Jake Ludington. How will IoT technologies – including wearables – improve the health and living conditions of livestock? How does the university’s research translate into entrepreneurial opportunities? Watch the video to find out.

Janice also talked with Jake in the interview below. Learn how the partnership with Purdue fits into the broader framework of HPE’s philanthropic efforts, and what comes next for the partners’ digital agriculture initiative.

The Intelligent Edge was one of the main themes at HPE Discover 2018. We announced new edge-to-cloud solutions that enable organizations to run unmodified enterprise-class applications and management software at the edge. Learn more in this post: Unleash the power of the cloud, right at your edge. The latest HPE Edgeline Systems capabilities.

Learn more about HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems here.

Featured Articles:

Intelligent IoT Powers Purdue’s Digital Agriculture Initiative for Food Security Worldwide

Purdue University partners with HPE and Aruba in digital-agriculture initiative to fight world hunger

HPE and Citrix team up to make hybrid cloud-enabled workspaces simpler to deploy

HPE and Citrix team up to make hybrid cloud-enabled workspaces simpler to deploy

A discussion on how hyperconverged infrastructure and virtual desktop infrastructure are combining to make one of the more traditionally challenging workloads far easier to deploy, optimize, and operate.

Citrix and HPE team to bring simplicity to the hybrid core-cloud-edge architecture

Citrix and HPE team to bring simplicity to the hybrid core-cloud-edge architecture

A discussion on how Citrix and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are aligned to bring new capabilities to the coalescing architectures around data center core, hybrid cloud, and edge computing.

New strategies emerge to stem the costly downside of complex cloud choices

New strategies emerge to stem the costly downside of complex cloud choices

A discussion on what causes haphazard cloud use, and how new tools, processes, and methods are bringing actionable analysis to regain control over hybrid IT sprawl.

Keep the Party Going with a New IoT Security Solution Approach

Author: Ty Tobin, Product Marketing Professional

Author: Ty Tobin, Product Marketing Professional

A wide variety of devices are being added to corporate networks in increasing numbers. IDC predicts that by 2020, over 30 billion IoT devices will be connected. A big concern is that most of the things in the Internet of Things are not designed with IT security in mind. IoT devices such as thermostats, copiers, cameras, sensors and the like are built to perform specific functions, and the ability to connect them to the Internet is an added feature. 

IoT opens up new threat vectors to information security.

In 2018, it was revealed that a Las Vegas casino was breached via a digital thermometer in a fish tank located in their lobby. A vulnerability was found in the Internet-connected thermometer, giving attackers access to a PC, then to the network; resulting in a high-roller database being infiltrated.

While the attack surface is getting wider, traditional information security approaches do not protect against threats from IoT. Now there is an effective security solution combination that can be layered on to an existing network with IoT devices connected inside and outside of the firewall.

User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) when combined with network policy enforcement software can watch for suspicious behavior, and kick off anyone or anything acting up. UEBA sets the baseline of normal behavior of both people and devices on a network. When unusual activity is detected, a higher score is assigned to that event. Thresholds can be set to send alerts above a certain score. Alerts can be sent to administrators as well as to network policy management software. The network access control (NAC) part of this solution can automatically terminate any session with a high score. It could also be set to reboot switches or isolate certain network segments.

A good analogy is to think of the network as a nightclub. A network policy enforcement engine is like the bouncer at the door; checking ID’s and letting in those who meet the criteria. The UEBA is like the security guy inside the club. He is watching for any unacceptable behavior, like someone being too tipsy, or people pushing and shoving, or outright fights. He could also be looking for things such as smoke rising from the end of cigarettes (in a no smoking club) or a glint of light reflecting off a concealed weapon. Then the security guy calls in the bouncer, who throws the offenders out of the club.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company offers the leading network policy management software with Aruba ClearPass, which includes network access control. Aruba also acquired a UEBA called Aruba IntroSpect. Together, ClearPass and IntroSpect can work like nightclub security on a network, but with automated responses that do not have to slow down for a human to react. 

Real-time detection using behavioral analytics together with automated policy enforcement can keep a network safe from both attackers and compromised IoT devices.

Huge waste in public cloud spend sets stage for next wave of total cloud governance solutions, says 451's Fellows

Huge waste in public cloud spend sets stage for next wave of total cloud governance solutions, says 451's Fellows

A discussion on how IT leaders face an increasingly complex mix of identifying and automating for both best performance and best price points across all of their cloud options.

Path to client workspace automation paved with hyperconverged infrastructure for New Jersey college

The next BriefingsDirect hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) use case discussion explores how a New Jersey college has embarked on the time-saving, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) modernization journey.

We will now learn how the combination of HCI and VDI makes the task of deploying and maintaining the latest end-user devices far simpler -- and cheaper than ever before.

Listen to the podcastFind it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. 

Here to explore how a new digital and data-driven culture can emerge from uniting the desktop edge with the hyper-efficient core are Tom Gillon, Director of Network and User Services at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, New Jersey; Michael Gilchrist, Assistant Director of Network Systems at County College of Morris (CCM), and Felise Katz, CEO of PKA Technologies, Inc. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: What are the trends driving your needs at County College of Morris to modernize and simplify your personal computer (PC) architecture?

Gillon: We need to be flexible and agile in terms of getting software to the students, when they need it, where they need it.



With physical infrastructure that really isn’t possible. So we realized that VDI was the solution to meet our goals -- to get the software where the students need it, when they need it, and so that’s a top trend that got us to this point.

Gardner: And is the simplicity of VDI deployments something you are looking at universally, or is this more specific to just students?

Gillon: We are looking to deploy VDI all throughout the college: Faculty, staff, and students. We started out with a pilot of 300 units that we mostly put out in labs and in common areas for the students. But now we are replacing older PCs that the faculty and staff use as well.

Gardner: VDI has been around for a while, and for the first few years there was a lot of promise, but there was also some lag from complications in that certain apps and media wouldn’t run properly; there were network degradation issues. We’ve worked through a lot of that, but what are some of your top concerns, Michael, when it comes to some of those higher-order infrastructure performance issues that you have to conquer before you get to the proper payoff from VDI?

Get Your Gorilla Guide

To HCI Implementation Strategies

Gilchrist: You want to make sure that the user experience is the same as what they would experience on a physical device, otherwise they will not accept it.

Just having the horse power -- nowadays these servers are so powerful, and now you can even get graphics processing units (GPUs) in there -- you can run stuff like AutoCAD or Adobe and still give the user the same experience that they would normally have on a physical device. That’s what we are finding. Pretty good so far.

Gardner: Felise, as a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Platinum Partner, you have been through this journey before, so you know how it was rough-and-tumble there for a while with VDI. How has that changed from your perspective at PKA Technologies?

Katz: When HPE made the acquisition of SimpliVity that was the moment that defined a huge game-changer because it enabled us, as a solution provider, to bring the right technology to CCM. That was huge.

Gardner: When you’re starting out on an IT transition, you have to keep the wings on the airplane while you’re changing the engines, or vice versa. You have to keep things going while you are doing change. Tom, how did you manage that? How did you keep your students getting their apps? How have you been able to swap things out in a way that hasn’t been disruptive?

Gillon: The beauty of VDI is that we can switch out a lab completely with thin clients in about an hour. And we didn’t realize that going in. We thought it would take us most of the day. And then when we did it, we were like, “Oh my God, we are done.” We were able to go in there first thing in the morning and knock it out before the students even came in.

That really helped us to get these devices out to where the students need them and to not be disruptive to them.

That really helped us to get these devices out to where the students need them and not be disruptive to them.

Gardner: Tom, how did it work from your perspective in terms of an orderly process? How was the support from your partners like PKA? Do you get to the point where this becomes routine?

Gillon: PKA has the expertise in this area. We worked with them previously on an Aruba wireless network deployment project, and we knew that’s who we wanted to work with, because they were professional and thorough.

Moving to the thin client systems deployments, we contacted PKA and they put together a solution that worked well for us. We had not been aware of SimpliVity combined with HPE. They determined that this would be the best path for us, and it turned out to be true. They came in and we worked with HPE, setting this up and deploying it. Michael did a lot of that work with HPE. It was very simple to do. We were surprised at how simple it was.

Academic pressure 

Gardner: Felise, as a solution partner that specializes in higher education, what’s different from working at a college campus environment from, say, a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) or another type of enterprise? Is there something specific about a college environment, such as the number of apps, the need for certain people and groups in the college to have different roles within responsibilities? How did it shake out?

Katz: That’s an interesting question. As a solution provider, as an owner of a business, we always put our best foot forward. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s an academic institution or a commercial customer, it always has to be done in the right way.



As a matter of fact, in academics it’s even more profound, and a lot more pressured, because you are dealing with students, you are dealing with faculty, and you are dealing with IT staff. Once we are in a “go” mode, we are under a lot of pressure. We have a limited time span between semesters -- or vacations and holidays -- where we have to be around to help them to get it up and running.

We have to make sure that the customer is enabled. And with these guys at CCM, they were so fabulous to work with. They enabled us to help them to do more with less -- and that’s what the solution is all about. It’s all about simplification. It’s all about modernization. It’s all about being more efficient. And as Michael said so eloquently, it’s all about the experience for the students. That’s what we care about.

Choose an HCI for VDI Solution

That’s Right for Your Needs

Gardner: Michael, where are you on your VDI-enablement journey? We heard that you want to go pervasively to VDI. What have you had to put in place -- in terms of servers in the HPE SimpliVity HCI case -- to make that happen?

Gilchrist: So far, we have six servers in total. Three servers in each of our two data centers that we have on campus, for high redundancy. That’s going to allow us to cover our initial pilot of 300 thin clients that we are putting out there.

As far as the performance of the system goes, we are not even scratching the surface in terms of the computing or RAM available for those first 300 endpoints.

When it comes to getting more thin clients, I think we’re going to be able to initially tack on more thin clients to the initial subset of six servers. And as we grow, the beauty of SimpliVity is that we just buy another server, rack it up, and bolt it in -- and that’s it. It’s just plug and play.

Gardner: In order to assess how well this solution is working, let’s learn more about CCM. It’s 50 years old. What’s this college all about?

Data-driven college transformation 

Gillon: We are located in North Central New Jersey. We have an enrollment of about 8,000 students per semester; that’s for credit. We also have a lot of non-credit students coming and going as well.

As you said, we are 50-years-old, and I’ve been there almost 23 years. I was the second person hired in the IT Department.

I have seen a lot come and go, and we actually just last year inaugurated our third college president, just three presidents in 50 years. It’s a very stable environment, and it’s really a great place to work.

Gardner: I understand that you have had with this newest leadership more of a technical and digital transformation focus. Tell us how the culture of the college has changed and how that may have impacted your leaping into some of the more modern infrastructure to support VDI.

GillonOur new president is very data-driven. He wants data on everything, and frankly we weren't in a position to provide that. 

We also changed CIOs. Our new CIO came in about a year after the new president, and he has also a strong data background. He is more about data than technology. So, with that focus we really knew that we had to get systems in place that are capable of quick transitions, and this HCI system really did the job for us. We are looking to expand further beyond that. 

Gardner: Felise, I have heard other people refer to hyperconverged infrastructure architectures like SimpliVity as a gift that keeps giving. Clearly the reason to get into this was to support the VDI, which is a difficult workload. But there are also other benefits.

The simplification from HCI has uncomplicated their capability for growth and for scale.

What have been some of the other benefits that you have been able to demonstrate to CCM that come with HCI? Is it the compression, the data storage savings, or a clear disaster recovery path that they hadn’t had before? What do you see as some of the ancillary benefits? 

KatzIt's all of the above. But to me -- and I think to both Tom and Michael -- it's really the simplification, because [HCI] has uncomplicated their capability for growth and for scale. 

Look, they are in a very competitive business, okay, attracting students, as Tom said. That’s tough, that's where they have to make the difference, they have to make a difference when that student arrives on campus with his, I don’t know, how many devices, right?

One student, five devices 

Gillon: It averages five now, I think.

Katz: Five devices that come on board. How do you contend with that, besides having this huge pipe for all the data and everything else that they have to enable? And then you have new ways of learning that everybody has to step up and enable. It's not just about a classroom; it’s a whole different world. And when you’re in a rural part of New Jersey, where you’re looking to attract students, you have to make sure you are at the top of your game.

Gardner: Expectations are higher than ever, and the younger people are even more demanding because they haven’t known anything else.

KatzYes, just think about their Xbox, their cell phones, and more devices. It's just a huge amount. And it's not only for them, it's also for your college staff.

Gardner: We can’t have a conversation about IT infrastructure without getting into the speeds and feeds a little bit. Tell us about your SimpliVity footprint, energy, maintenance, and operating costs. What has this brought to you at CCM? You have been doing this for 23 years, you know what a high-maintenance server can be like. How has this changed your perspective on keeping a full-fledged infrastructure up and running?

Ease into IT

Gillon: There are tremendous benefits, and we are seeing that. The six servers that we have put in, they are replacing a lot of other devices. If we would have gone with a different solution, we would have had a rack full of servers to contend with. With this solution, we are putting three devices in each of our server rooms to handle the load of our initial 300 VDI deployments -- and hopefully more soon. 

There are a lot of savings involved, such as power. A lot of our time is being saved because we are not a big shop. Besides Michael and myself, I have a network administrator, and another systems administrator -- that’s it, four people. We just don't have the time to do a lot of things we need to do -- and this system solves a lot of those issues.

Gilchrist: From a resources utilization standpoint, the deduplication and compression that the SimpliVity system provides is just insane. I am logically provisioning hundreds of terabytes of information in my VMware system -- and only using 1.5 terabytes physically. And just the backup and restore, it's kind of fire and forget. You put this stuff in place and it really does do what they say. You can restore large virtual machines (VMs) in about one or two seconds and then have it back up and running in case something goes haywire. It just makes my life a lot easier. 

I’m no longer having to worry about, “Well, who was my back-up vendor? Or who is my storage area network (SAN) vendor? And then there’s trying to combine all of those systems into one. Well,HPE SimpliVity just takes care of all of that. It’s a one-stop shop; it’s a no-brainer. 

Gardner:All in one, Felise, is that a fair characterization?

Get Your Gorilla Guide

To HCI Implementation Strategies

KatzThat is a very, very true assessment. My goal, my responsibility is to bring forward the best solution for my customers and having HPE in my corner with this is huge. It gives me the advantage to help my clients, and so we are able to put together a really great solution for CCM. 

Gardner: There seems to be a natural progression with IT infrastructure adoption patterns. You move from bare metal to virtualization, then you move from virtualization to HCI, and then that puts you on a path to private cloud -- and then hybrid cloud. And in doing this modernization, you get used to the programmatic approach to infrastructure, so composable infrastructure

Do you feel that this progression is helping you modernize your organization? And where might that lead to, Tom?

Gillon: I do. With the experience we are gaining with SimpliVity, we see that this can go well beyond VDI, and we are excited about that. We are getting to a point where our current infrastructure is getting a little long in the tooth. We need to make some decisions, and right now the two of us are like, this is only decision we want to make. This is the way we are going to go.

Gardner: I have also read that VDI is like the New York of IT -- if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere. So what next workloads do you have in mind? Is this enterprise resource planning (ERP), is it business apps? What?

Gillon: All of the above. We are definitely looking to put some of our server loads into the VDI world, and just the benefits that SimpliVity gives to us in terms of business continuity and redundancy, it really is a no-brainer for us. 

And yes, ERP, we have our ERP system currently virtualized, and the way Michael has things set up now, it's going to be an easy transition for us when we get to that point. 

Gardner: We have talked a lot about the hardware, but we also have to factor in the software. You have been using the VMware Horizon approach to VDI and workspaces, and that’s great, but what about moving toward cloud?

Do you want to have more choice in your hypervisor? Does that set you on another path to make choices about private cloud? What comes next in terms of what you support on such a great HCI platform? 

A cloudy future?

Gillon: We have decisions to make when it comes to cloud. We are doing some things in the cloud now, but there are some things we don't want to do in the cloud. And HPE has a lot of solutions. 

We recently attended a discussion with the CEO of HPE [Antonio Neri] about where they are headed, and they say hybrid is the way to go. You are going to have some on-premises workloads, you are going to have some off-premises. And that's where we see CCM going as well.

Gardner: What advice would you give to other organizations that are maybe later in starting out with VDI? What might save them a step or two?

Get yourself a good partner because there are so many things that you don't know about these systems.

Gillon: First thing, get yourself a good partner because there are so many things that you don't know about these systems. And having a good partner like PKA, they brought a lot to the table. They could have easily provided a solution to us that was just a bunch of servers.

Gilchrist: Yes, they brought in the expertise. We didn’t know about SimpliVity, and once they showed us everything that it can do, we were skeptical. But it just does it. We are really happy with it, and I have to say, having a good partner is step number one.

Gardner: Felise, what recommendations do you have for organizations that are just now dipping their toe into workloads like VDI? What is it about HCI in particular that they should consider? 

Look to the future 

Katz: If they are looking for flexible architecture, if they are looking for the agility, to be able to make those moves down the road -- and that's where their minds are – then they really have to do the due diligence. Tom, Michael and their team did. They were able understand what their needs are, what right requirements are for them -- not just for today but also going down the road to the future.

When you adopt a new architecture, you are displacing a lot of your older methodologies, too. It’s a different world, a hybrid world. You need to be able to move, and to move the workloads back and forth. 

It’s a great time right now. It's a great place to be because things are working, and they are clicking. We have the reference architectures available now to help, but it’s really first about doing their homework.

Choose an HCI for VDI Solution

That’s Right for Your Needs

CCM is really a great team to work with. It's really a pleasure, and it’s a lot of fun. 

And I would be remiss not to say, I have a great team. From my sales to my technical: Strategic Account Manager Angie Moncada, Systems Engineer Patrick Shelley, and Vice President of Technology Russ Chow, they were just all-in with them. That makes a huge difference when you also connect with HPE on the right solutions. So that’s really been great.

Listen to the podcastFind it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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HPE Support Center: Empowering you with the support tools and information you need

From the moment we wake, we are inundated with information in countless formats. We might experience it via home systems, apps on our phones, personalized streaming content from smart TVs, and that’s before we even go to work. It can be a struggle not to get pulled down by the current of content. But the beauty of all of this information—is only when that information is useful. And more often than not, finding insights, or even an answer to a simple question, can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

What you need, when you need it

At HPE, we know that when it comes to something as important as keeping your IT assets up and running and at maximum performance, you need more than just the right information. You need it organized and delivered in a way that gets you the answers you need to quickly solve your issues and get back to focusing on your business.

That’s why we offer customers a full slate of options to access support information and tools at the HPE Support CenterIf you haven’t visited HPE’s Support Center in a while, it’s time to revisit. We’re constantly adding new capabilities to enhance your digital support experience, putting information in your hands that empowers you to self-solve your issues efficiently to make your job easier.

support center 1.png

Support Favorites

One feature that many customers find hugely useful is Warranty Check. No need to pick up a phone to retrieve the warranty status on your HPE hardware. Simply enter your serial number and country in which your product resides to retrieve detailed information on your warranty or support agreements. 

Need to open a support case? The HPE Support Center makes it easy to submit and manage your cases online and get expert advice to resolve issues fast. Or you may prefer an immediate online chat with an HPE support expert. Whatever works best for you, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re looking for the latest in product documentation, need to update software or drivers, or want to access recent security bulletins or top issues resolutions, the Support Center is your hub for all of this information and more. 

Delivering information the way that works for you is one of our goals in the Support Center. Visit the HPE Support Centertoday and watch for frequent new enhancements rolling out that will continue to enhance your support experience.

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How HPE and Docker together accelerate and automate hybrid cloud adoption

The next BriefingsDirect hybrid cloud strategies discussion examines how the use of containers has moved from developer infatuation to mainstream enterprise adoption.

As part of the wave of interest in containerization technology, Docker, Inc. has emerged as a leader in the field and has greased the skids for management and ease of use.

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has embraced containers as a way to move beyond legacy virtualization and to provide both developers and IT operators more choice and efficiency as they seek new hybrid clouddeployment scenarios.

Like the proverbial chocolate and peanut butter coming together -- or as I like to say, with Docker and HPE, fish and chips -- the two make a highly productive alliance and cloud ecosystem tag team.

Here to describe exactly how the Docker and HPE alliance accelerates modern and agile hybrid architectures, we are joined by two executives, Betty Junod, Senior Director of Product and Partner Marketing at Docker, and Jeff Carlat, Senior Director of Global Alliances at HPE. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Jeff, how do containers -- and how does Docker specifically -- help data center architects achieve their goals?

Carlat: When you look at the advent of where technology has gone, through virtualization of applications, we are moving into a whole new era where we need much more agility in in applications -- and IT operations.

We believe that our modern infrastructure and our partnership with Docker -- specifically around containers and container orchestration -- provides businesses of all sizes much lower acquisition cost of deploying infrastructure, and ongoing operation costs. And, of course, the game from a business standpoint is all about driving profitability and shareholder stock value.

Second, there is huge value when it comes to Docker and containers around extending the life of legacy applications. Modernizing traditional apps and being able to extend their life and bring them forward to a new modern architecture -- that drives greater efficiencies and lower risk.

Gardner: Betty, how do you see the alignment between what HPE’s long-term vision for hybrid computing and edge-to-core computing and what Docker and containerization can do? How do these align?


Align your apps

Betty Junod

Betty Junod

Junod: It’s actually a wonderful alignment because what we look at from a Docker perspective is specifically at the application layer and bringing choice, agility, and security at the application layer in a way that can be married with what HPE is doing on the infrastructure layer across the hybrid cloud.

Our customers are saying, “We want to go to cloud, but we know the world is hybrid. We are going to be hybrid. So how do we do that in a way that doesn’t blow up all of our compliance if we make a change? Is this all for new apps? Or what do I do with all the stuff that I have accrued over the decades that’s eating into all of my budget?”

When it comes to transformation, it is not just an infrastructure story. It's not just an applications story. It's how do I use those two together in a way that's highly efficient and also very agile for managing the stuff I already have today. Can I make that cheaper, better, stronger -- and how do I enable the developers to build all the new services for the future that are going to provide more services, or better engage with my customers?

Gardner: How does DevOps, in particular, align? There is a lot of the developer allegiance to a Docker value proposition. But IT operators are also very much interested in what HPE is bringing to market, such as better management, better efficiency, and automation.

How are your two companies an accelerant to DevOps?


The future is Agile 

Junod: DevOps is interesting in that it's a word that's been used a lot, along with Agile development. It all stems from the desire for companies to be faster, right? They want to be faster in everything -- faster in delivering new services, faster in time-to-market, as well as faster in responses so they can deliver the best service-level agreements (SLAs) to the customer. It’s very much about how application teams and infrastructure teams work together.

What's great is that Docker brings the ability for developers and operations teams to have a common language, to be able to do their own thing on their timelines without messing up the other side of the house. No more of thatWaterfall. Developers can keep developing, shipping, and not break something that the infrastructure teams have set up, and vice versa.

No more of that Waterfall. Developers can keep developing and shipping, and not break something that the infrastructure teams have set up.

Carlat: Let’s be clear, the world is moving to Agile. I mean, companies are delivering continuous releases and ongoing builds. Those companies that can adopt and embrace that are going to get a leg up on their competition and provide better service levels. So the DevOps community and what we are doing is a perfect match. What Docker and HPE are delivering is ideal for that Dev orthe Ops environments. 

Gardner: When you have the fungibility of moving workloads around the operators benefit, because they get to finally gain more choice about what keeps the trains running on time regardless of who is inside those trains, so to speak.

Let's look at some of the hurdles. What prevents organizations from adopting these hybrid cloud and containerization benefits? What else needs to happen?


Make hybrid happen 

Junod: One of the biggest things we hear from our customers is, “Where should I go when it comes to cloud, and how?” They want to make sure that what they do is future-proof. The want to spend their time being beholden to what their application and customer needs are -- and not specifically a cloud A or cloud B.

Because with the new regulations regarding data privacy and data sovereignty, if you are a multinational company, your data sets are going to have to live in a bunch of different places. People want the ability to have things hybrid. But that presents an application and an infrastructure operational challenge.

What's great in our partnership is that we are saying we are going to provide you the safest way to do hybrid; the fastest way to get there. With the Docker layer on top of that, no matter what cloud you pick to marry with your HPE on-premises infrastructure, it’s seamless portability -- and you can have the same operational governance.

Jeff Carlat

Jeff Carlat

Carlat: We also see enterprises, as they move to gain efficiencies, are on a journey. And the journey around containerization and containers in our modern infrastructure can be daunting at times.

One of the barriers, or prohibitions, to active adoption movement is complexity, of not knowing where to start. This is where we are partnering deeply; essentially around the services capabilities, to be able to bring in our consultative capabilities with Pointnext and do assessments and help customers establish that journey and get them through the maturity of testing and development, and progressing into full production-level environments.

Gardner: Is Cloud Technology Partners, a recent HPE acquisition, also a big plus given that they have been of, by, and for cloud -- and very heavily into containers?

Carlat: Yes. That snaps in naturally with the choice in our hybrid strategy. It's a great bridge, if you will, between what applications you may want on-premises and also using Cloud Technology Partners for leveraging an agnostic set of public cloud providers.

Gardner: Betty, when we think about adoption, sometimes too much of a good thing too soon can provide challenges. Is there anything about people adopting containers too rapidly without doing the groundwork -- the blocking and tackling, around management and orchestration, and even automation -- that becomes a negative? And how does HPE factor into that?


Too much transformation, too soon 

Junod: We have learned over these last few years, across 500 different customers, what does and doesn't work. It has a consistent pattern. The companies that say they want to do DevOps, and cloud, and microservices -- and they put all the buzzwords in – and they want to do it all right now for transformation -- those organizations tend to fail. That’s because it's too much change at once, like you mentioned.

What we have worked out by collaborating tightly with our partners as well as our customers is that we say, “Pick one, and maybe not the most complicated application you have. Because you might be deploying on a new infrastructure. You are using a new container model. You are going to need to evolve some of your processes internally.”

And if you are going to do hybrid, when is it hybrid? Is it during the development and test in the cloud, and then to on-premises for production? Or is it cloud bursting for scale up? Or is it for failover replication? If you don't have some of that sorted out before you go, well, then you are just stuck with too much stuff, too much of a good thing.

The companies that say they want to do DevOps, cloud, microservices, and do it all right now — those organizations tend to fail.

What we have partnered with HPE on -- and especially HPE Pointnextfrom a services standpoint -- is very much an advisory role, to say let's look at your landscape of applications that you have today and let's assess them. Let’s put them in buckets for you and we can pick one or two to start with. Then, let’s outline what’s going to happen with those. How does this inform your new platform choices? 

And then once we get some of those kinks worked out and try some of the operational processes that evolve, then after that it’s almost like a factory. They can just start funneling more in.

Gardner: Jeff, lot of what HPE has been doing is around management and monitoring, governance, being mindful of security and compliance issues. So things like HPE Synergy, things like HPE OneView that have been in the market for a long time, and newer products like HPE OneSphere, how are they factoring into allowing containers to be what they should be without getting out of control?


Hand in glove

Carlat: We have seen containerization evolve. And the modern architectures such as HPE Synergy and OneView are designed and built for bare metal deployment or containers or virtualization. It's all designed -- you say, it's like fish and chips, or it's like a hand in glove in my analogy – to allow customers choice, agility, and flexibility.

Our modern infrastructure is not purely designed for containers. We see a lot of virtualization, and Docker runs great in a virtualized environment as well. So it’s not one or the other. So again, it's like a hand in glove.

Gardner: By the way, I know that the Docker whale isn’t technically a fish, but I like to use it anyway.

Let's talk about the rapid adoption now around hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). How is HCI helping move forward hybrid cloud and particularly for you on the Docker side? Are you seeing it as an accelerant?

Junod: What you are seeing with some of the hyperconverged -- and especially if you relate that over to what's going on with the adoption of containers -- it's all about agility. They want speed and they want to be able to spin things out fast, whether it's compute resources or whether it's application resources. I think it's a nice marriage of where the entire industry wants to go, and what companies are looking for to deliver services faster to our customers.

Carlat: Specifically, hyperconverged represents one of the fastest growing segments in the market for us. And the folks that are adopting hyperconverged clearly want the choice, agility, and rapid simplicity -- and rapid deployment -- of their applications.

Where we are partnering with Docker is taking HPE SimpliVity, our hyperconverged infrastructure, in building out solutions for either test or development and using scripting to be able to deploy this all in a complete environment in 30 minutes or less.

Yes, we are perfectly aligned, and we see hyperconverged as a great area for dropping in infrastructure and testing and development, as well as for midsize IT environments.

Gardner: Recently DockerCon wrapped up. Betty, what was some of the big news there, and how has that had an impact on going to market with a partner like HPE?


Choice, Agility, Security 

Junod: At DockerCon we reemphasized our core pillars: choice, agility, and security, because it's choice in what you want to build. You should as an organization be able to build the best applications with the best components that you feel are right for your application -- and then be able to run that anywhere, in whatever scenario.

Agility is really around speed for delivering new applications, as well as speed for operations teams. Back to DevOps, those two sides have to exist together and in partnership. One can't be fast and the other slow. We want to enable both to be fast together.

Organizations should be able to build the best applications with the best components and run them anywhere, in any scenario.

And lastly, security. It's really about driving security throughout the lifecycle, from development to production. We want to make sure that we have security built into the entire stack that's supporting the application.

We just advanced the platform along those lines. Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 really started a couple of months ago, so 2.0 is out. But we announced as part of that some technology preview capabilities. We introduced the integration ofKubernetes, which is a very popular container orchestration engine, to allow into our core Enterprise Edition platform and then we added being able to do that all with Windows as well. 

So back to choice; it's a Linux and Windows world. You should be able to use any orchestration you like as part of that.


No more kicking the tires 

Carlat: One thing I really noticed at DockerCon was not necessarily just about what Docker did, but the significance of major enterprises -- Fortune 500, Fortune 100 enterprises – that are truly pivoting to the use of containers and Docker specifically on HPE.

No longer are they kicking the tires and evaluating. We are seeing full-scale production roll outs in major, major, major enterprises. The time is right for customers to modernize, embrace, and adopt containers and container orchestration and drop that onto a modern infrastructure or architecture. They can then gain the benefits of the efficiencies, agility, and the security that we have talked about. That is paramount.

Gardner: Along those lines, do you have examples that show how the combination of what HPE brings to the table and what Docker brings to the table combine in a way that satisfies significant requirements and needs in the market?

Junod: I can highlight two customers. One is Bosch, a major manufacturer in Europe, as well as DaVita healthcare.

What’s interesting is that Bosch began with a lot of organic use of Docker by their developers, spread all over the place. But they said, “Hang on a second, because developers are working with corporate intellectual property (IP), we need to find a way to centralize that, so it better scales for them -- and it’s also secure for us.”

This is one of the first accounts that Docker and HPE worked on together to bring them an integrated solution. They implemented a new development pipeline. Central IT at Bosch is doing the governance, management, and the security around the images and content. But each application development team, no matter where they are around the world, is able to spin up their own separate clusters and then be able to do the development and continuous integration on their own, and then publish the software to a centralized pipeline.


Containers at the intelligent edge 

Carlat: There are use cases across the board and in all industry verticals; healthcare, manufacturing. We are seeing strong interest in adoption outside of the data center and we call that the intelligent edge.

We see that containers, and containers-as-a-service, are joining more compute, data, and analytics at the edge. As we move forward, the same level of choice, agility, and security there is paramount. We see containers as a perfect complement, if you will, at the edge.

Gardner: Right; bringing down the necessary runtime for those edge apps -- but not any more than the necessary runtime. Let’s unpack that a little bit. What is it about container and edge devices, like an HPE Edgeline server, for example, that makes so much sense?

Junod: There is a broad spectrum on the edge. You will have like things like remote offices and retail locations. You will also see things like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). There you have very small devices for data ingest that feed into a distributed server that then ultimately feeds into the core, or the cloud, to do large-scale data analytics. Together this provides real-time insights, and this is an area we have been partnering and working with some of our customers on right now.

Security is actually paramount because -- if you start thinking about the data ingest devices -- we are not talking about, “Oh, hey, I have 100 small offices.” We are talking about millions and millions of very small devices out there that need to run a workload. They have minimal compute resources and they are going to run one or two workloads to collect data. If not sufficiently secured, they can be risk areas for attack.

So, what's really important from a Docker perspective is the security; integrated security that goes from the core -- all the way to the edge. Our ability, from a software layer, to provide trusted transport and digital signatures and the locking down of the runtime along the way means that these tiny sensor devices have one container on them. And it's been encrypted and locked with keys that can’t be attacked.

That’s very important, because now if someone did attack, they could also start getting access into the network. So security is even more paramount as you get closer to the edge.

Gardner: Any other forward-looking implications for your alliance? What should we be thinking about in terms of analyzing that data and bringingmachine learning (ML) to the edge? Is there something that between your two companies will help facilitate that?

Carlat: The world of containers and agile cloud-native applications is not going away. When I think about the future, enterprises need to pivot. Yet change is hard for all enterprises, and they need help.

They are likely going to turn to trusted partners. HPE and Docker are perfectly aligned, we have been bellwethers in the industry, and we will be there to help on that journey.

Gardner: Yes, this seems like a long-term relationship. 

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app.  Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

You may also be interested in:

3PAR and InfoSight QuickStart guide

calvin zito.png

About the Author

I have worked at HP and now HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage.

I've done a few recent articles on Around the Storage Block showing you HPE InfoSight. The purpose of this article is to share with you a QuickStart guide that the 3PAR on InfoSight team pulled together after they heard several questions from storage people around HPE asking how to get it working. A big thank you to Wiley Thrasher, an engineer on the team doing the work to integrate 3PAR and InfoSight, for this guide. On a personal note, I met Wiley in 1999 when HP acquired Transoft Networks; my son-in-law, who was a summer intern on the 3PAR team a couple of years ago, just joined the team that Wiley is on. He and my daughter are moving to Boise soon, so I'm excited to have them close by!

Ok, let's jump into this.

Get the QuickStart guides

NOTE: The QuickStart guide is updated regularily. The links in this section are the latest as of July 2018. Check back and I'll update the links or check my SlideShare account for the latest. 

I have two ways for you to get the guide. You can download it from my SlideShare.net account. Click on this link to the QuickStart guide and you'll find a "Download" button that will let you get a PDF version. I'll also embed it here but because some of the print is small, I suggest downloading it. 

HPE HPE InfoSight for 3PAR quickstart v1.4 from Calvin Zito

Note that if these have any updates to them, I'll update the links so you can get the latest.  This version is a very complete and detailed guide. Wiley created another guide that is more suited to 3PAR customers that have used the portal before as a user of StoreFront Remote. Here's a link to the shorter QuickStart guide

I talked with Wiley and want to call out a few things. 

What is required?

Customers that want to use 3PAR on InfoSight must have a support contract in place. There are a few other things that are "musts" so let me share those.

  • For global visibility, you have to have a minimum of 3PAR OS version 2.2.x and Service Processor (SP) version 2.4.2. I'll have a bit more about global visibility in a second. 
  • For the cross-stack analytics, there's a bit more you need. Today you have to have 3PAR OS version 3.3.1 and 3PAR SP version of 5.0.3 (aka 5.0 MU3). You must also enable the RDA transport. 

The longer QuickStart guide gives details about what you get with "global visibility" but I'll give a short summary here.  At a high-level, it includes customizable dashboards and PDF reports for HPE Storage (3PAR StoreServ, StoreOnce & RMC). Some of the specifics you'll see include:

  • 3PAR Models, OS Versions & Entitlement
  • Systems by Country & Region
  • Historical, Total & Allocated Capacity
  • Capacity Efficiency, Deduplication & Compression Ratios
  • Total & Average Front-End Performance
  • Device Type Count & Utilization
  • Wellness Score & Type

Check out the demo I did showing the cross-stack analytics. Its a short intro to what it is. I've had people ask me how are we getting this VMware information. We have a collector that is running on the 3PAR SP that is making "lightweight" REST API calls about once every one to three hours. The guide talks about how to set this up for your vCenter instances that you want to connect. Note that to get any cross-stack analytics information, the VMs in your vCenter must be running on 3PAR. InfoSight will only provide analytics for VMs running on 3PAR. 

Help, I need somebody!


You've read the guide and you think you followed all the steps but something still isn't working. What now? When you are logged into HPE InfoSight, click on Resources. You'll then see two columns as shown in the image on the right. Under the 3PAR and StoreOnce column, click on HPE InfoSight Portal Support. 

On this page, you'll see an email address that you can email for support with HPE InfoSight. Do not manually enter the email address into your email but click on the link so that an email opens up. It will include information that the L4 engineering team needs to assist you. You should include information about whatever issues you are having and include screenshots if applicable. Also, include your 3PAR serial number as that will make it easier for the team to help you. 

You can see our articles about InfoSight (include recent demos I've shared) on Around the Storage Block

Server Relays and SnapChat filters: Inspiring the next generation of female innovators.

Girls Tech Camp participants at HPE Houston Campus

Girls Tech Camp participants at HPE Houston Campus

Busting Stereotypes and Bridging the STEM Gap

The “STEM gap” has received a lot of media attention, the need to increase representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (#STEM) fields. There are several theories about why this gap exists, but one fact is that the pipeline of girls going into STEM careers needs to be increased. The key is expanding girls' access to and interest in the fields of science, technology, and math. 

hpe ladies 7.jpg

Stereotypes get formed in from many different sources but consider if we give young women more exposure to technical experiences and resources, which will give them momentum to resist those stereotypes and in turn be engaged and invested in STEM careers.

Another key stimulus in boosting girls’ confidence in STEM is by exposing them to confident, successful women engaged in the technology industry in many different roles. Innovation leaders Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc (HP) recently co-sponsored a Girl’s Technology Camp event that did exactly that.


High Tech Campers and Coders

Building on HPE’s and HP’s long-term success with HPE Code Wars, a first-class programming competition for high school students, the camp was hosted at the HPE and HP campus in Houston by founders Scott Harsany and Sylvia Quillen and HP co-sponsor Claretta Strickland. The event was envisioned to give girls an intense, hands-on experience to share technology innovation, spark interest in tech careers and showcase talented female innovators and engineers. Over a two day period, thirty girls nominated to attend from area high schools toured leading-edge HPE and HP innovation labs including 3D Printing, Thermal and Mechanical, and the Digital Tech Oasis. Through these experiences, they had the opportunity to gain an appreciation for some of the challenges involved in the product and solutions development process and a bird’s eye view into innovation.

hpe ladies 8.jpg

They also participated in hands-on programming exercises: one highlight was building an Internet of Things (IoT) device using an Arduino board, and another favorite activity was coding a Jumpy Bird game.  Relay teams built and tore down a server to demonstrate how the technology they observed in the labs translated into a product. The girls also learned about some of the tech behind a favorite teenage pastime, social media. The girls chronicled the entire event through Snapchat stories and several prizes were awarded for innovation in posting “snaps.”  The event highlighted that the sponsoring companies are capturing and drawing from diverse points of view that in turn improves our products and services, and our companies as a whole.


Engineers to Quality Leaders: The Tech Career Spectrum

Meeting women in technology careers is very important to help the young women envision themselves in tech roles. To learn about the different paths that can lead to tech, the young women heard from female leaders from HPE and HP including Susan BlockerMarie MyersMonique NolkRhonda Rubinstein and Krista Satterthwaite who shared their career journeys and highlights. Each leader shared a personal message that uncovered their motivation for pursuing a tech career. The girls also learned about the wide variety of careers in technology from technical roles from trailblazing women engineers and innovators and functional leaders in finance, human resources, procurement, and supply chain. The event demonstrated that we bring together the brightest minds to create breakthrough technology solutions that advance the way people work and live.

HPE Chief Diversity Officer, Brian Tippens

HPE Chief Diversity Officer, Brian Tippens

A highlight on the second day was a lively panel discussion where the participants could hear from a diverse set of HPE diversity champions.  The girls also had the opportunity to meet Chief Diversity Officer Brian Tippens who shared HPE’s vision for an inclusive and diverse workforce, where our inclusive culture allows our global workforce to thrive by celebrating our differences, promoting collaboration and inspiring innovation. The girls also had time set aside to have lunch in small groups, allowing for more personal conversations with female employees seeking to encourage connections and support for any questions or concerns they raised. 

hpe ladies 10.jpg

Since no tech event is complete without some swag and giveaways, the girls received backpacks with technology treats and HPE and HP themed gear. They left the event inspired and encouraged to seek out their high school coding teams and to come back and participate in CodeWars or check out our internships with HP and HPE Careers. If you’d like to learn more about HPE female innovators, check out this HPE Careers blog posting “In Celebration of Female Engineers and Innovators”.


About the Author

Jill Sweeney, TCE and Quality Knowledge Management at HPE

Jill Sweeney, TCE and Quality Knowledge Management at HPE

Jill Sweeney leads technical Knowledge Management for volume servers, high performance computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and composable systems at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.  Jill and her team are transforming the technical experiences customers and partners have with HPE's products, solutions and support information to foster positive customer business outcomes. No stranger to change management and transformation, Jill has held technology focused and marketing roles at HPE including launching both the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility go-to-market programs as well as managing global brand programs for Hewlett Packard's Starbucks Alliance and employee communication engagement. 

Prior to the HP/Compaq merger, Jill drove alliances for a Compaq owned start-up, B2E Solutions.  Jill is a champion for Inclusion and Diversity as well as STEM Careers.  She actively supports CodeWars programming competition, HPE university recruiting and serves as a mentor to early and mid-career employees seeking to move outside their comfort zone.

This year, Jill has taken on a new challenge, addressing a societal problem of human trafficking.  She is working with a local organization to give female victims of human trafficking career coaching and referrals to coding camps to break the economic cycle, supporting dignity and sharing hope.

An inspirational and motivational speaker, Jill has recently given industry keynotes on topics including IoT trends, diversity, employee engagement and work-life transformation.  Jill served on the Anita.Borg Partner Forum to select technical topics and source industry leading speakers for the Grace Hopper Celebration panel submissions. A frequent social media contributor on technology and STEM topics, you can follow Jill on Twitter @JillW_Sweeney and on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/jillsweeney to learn more about her passion for increasing #STEM engagement and technology interests.

Why climb out of the app-data gap? Soar over it instead.

Jason Nickerson, Supplier Business Executive HPE Storage, Tech Data

Jason Nickerson, Supplier Business Executive
HPE Storage, Tech Data

Many, if not most of your customers’ environments are susceptible to the app-data gap – defined as the inability to enjoy immediate access to data all the time and without interruption. The gap creates a bottleneck that can impact productivity and even the company’s overall operations.

Once in the gap, companies try to do whatever it takes to climb out of it, focusing most of their efforts on storage. That’s only natural since that’s where the data resides. However, in 54% of the cases, that’s not where the problem resides. The issue could just as well be related to configuration or interoperability, as well as to host, compute, or VM.

Reacting to the gap

Because the causes of the gap are multiple and complex, they usually cannot be quickly identified and addressed. This leads to a wide range of consequences, including time wasted chasing the wrong issue, extended downtime, user frustration, and missed business goals.

The same factors also mean that the gap cannot be eliminated simply by buying new and “better” storage. Even fast flash cannot address the 54% of the gap issues that are non-storage related.

The best way to help your customers climb out of the app-date gap is to not let them fall into it at all. That is something you can easily do by providing them with a storage solution that makes use of machine learning and predictive analysis.

Avoiding the gap completely

Predictive analysis helps your customers avoid the app-data gap by identifying and addressing issues before they can cause issues in the environment. As a result, customers probably will not know the gap even exists.

Specifically, predictive analysis provides:     

  • Downtime prediction, identifying potential causes of slowness and downtime well before they occur.
  • Downtime automatic prevention, done automatically thanks to machine learning. This approach is much superior to traditional reactive monitoring, which provides little relief other than flagging the problem.
  • Prescriptive resolution, leading to a clear and prescriptive resolution on the rare occasion where the infrastructure cannot automatically prevent an issue. This eliminates the need for customers to call support or pore through documentation/online forums
  • Rapid root-cause analysis rapidly identifies the root cause so that the problem can be quickly resolved. Again, this is for the rare occasions where no automatic prescription is available.
  • Cross-stack application of analytics, providing an intimate knowledge of and the ability to collect information across the infrastructure stack.
  • Analytics-driven tech support that can eliminate the need for frontline, level-1 and level-2 support engineers.

Closing the gap for customers. Widening it for the competition. 

HPE InfoSight has proven its ability to deliver all the benefits of a machine learning and predictive analysis solution. Pioneered by Nimble Storage, it is now available to your customers in both HPE Nimble and HPE 3PAR storage. These solutions deliver on the impressive promise of predicative analysis by predicting and resolving 86% of problems before customers even know there is an issue. These include problems throughout the environment, not just in storage, that is why both HPE Nimble and HPE 3PAR offer guaranteed six-nines (99.9999%) availability.

Predictive analysis also offers you a clear benefit since it is exclusive to HPE storage and therefore not available from any other vendor.

More information 

Information about HPE InfoSight and predictive analysis is available on the storage page of the HPE Zone. I highly recommend the following white papers, which you can also share with customers:

Your customers can find information on the HPE InfoSight page on the HPE website. Encourage them to read the “Faster applications with predictive flash” e-book for a quick overview of the power and benefits of predictive analysis.  

 Get Schooled

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 Other Articles

Legacy IT evolves: How cloud choices like Microsoft Azure can conquer the VMware Tax

Legacy IT evolves: How cloud choices like Microsoft Azure can conquer the VMware Tax

For thousands of companies, the evaluation of their cloud choices also impacts how they on can help conquer the “VMware tax” by moving beyond a traditional server virtualization legacy.

Consumption model: De-horning a couple of major IT dilemmas


By: Stephen Mease, Supplier Business Executive – HPE Pointnext Services, Tech Data




The expression “horns of a dilemma” has always struck me as a perfect description of the terrible, nasty feeling you have when faced with a seemingly no-win situation. It definitely applies to the way many enterprises now feel when they need to somehow deal with the rapid changes occurring in both technology and the marketplace. Questions that illustrate these dilemmas are how to:

  • Implement IoT without adding staff or skills
  • Rely on proven solutions
  • Keep control
  • Scale and innovate
  • Pay as you go
  • Align investments with returns
  • Minimize security exposure

Here are a couple of pointed (ouch) examples:


Too much? Not enough?  

When it comes to acquiring those solutions, the dilemma for servers and storage focuses on capacity. Because realities are changing so quickly, capacity planning becomes a definite challenge. This creates a situation where it’s possible to purchase too little or too much capacity.

Purchase too little and you risk not being able to meet business demands down the road. According to 451 Research, 50% of enterprises have suffered downtime as a result of poor capacity planning. Remember, adding capacity often requires going through a lengthy purchasing process. What happens if demand drops again in response to another change once you have added the new capacity? Ouch. 

The same 451 Research report states that enterprises over-provision compute capacity by an average of 59% and storage capacity by an average of 48%. That’s a clear waste of $$ that could be better used to meet other business requirements.


Spend, spend, spend?

Every one of the rapid changes seems to generate one or more new technology solutions. The great thing is that most solutions go beyond simply helping you deal with change. They actually enhance your ability to success and compete. But here’s the dilemma. Can you really afford to acquire every new solution that becomes available? On the other hand, can you really afford not to?

If you go the spend route, you end up with the latest and best tools for analytics, cloud, IoT, mobility, and much more.  But you’d end up with a massive hole in your budget, because the changes are never-ending. 

If you resist the temptation to splurge on IT, you gradually (sometimes not so gradually) fall behind the competition and can no longer deliver what customers expect. And nobody can afford to have that happen, as so many major retail stores have recently discovered.  


How an IT consumption model de-horns the dilemma  

IT Consumption models turns the no-win situations I describe above into clear winners.

In terms of acquisition, these models allow you to acquire new technology with OPEX vs. CAPEX funds. They also eliminate the lengthy process associated with purchasing additional technology by making more capacity instantly available as part of the consumption agreement.

There’s also no fear of choosing too much or too little capacity. These consumption models let you provision for what you need and yet pay only for what you actually use over and above a basic charge.

No waste, no worry, no horns, no dilemmas.  Just a flexible, sensible way to acquire and consume the technology you need to thrive in the face of rapidly-changing realities. In other words, accelerated outcomes on your terms. 


Take a swim in the HPE GreenLake waters


Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers three ways to make the IT consumption-model yours with its GreenLake approach:


  1. HPE GreenLake suite of on-premises, consumption-based solutions for your top workloads—big data, backup, database platform, SAP HANA, and edge computing—delivered on your terms.  
  2. HPE GeenLake Flex Capacity for an enterprise-wide or larger-scale consumption-based solution  
  3. HPE GreenLake Standard Packages - small-scale point solutions for individual technologies like 3PAR storage and converged systems, as well as for specific use cases like VDI and composable infrastructure

Choose the approach or combination of approaches that best meet your operation and its requirements.


More information

Complete information on the HPE consumption models is available on the HPE GreenLake website. An excellent video on this site provides a quick overview.

If you are currently a Tech Data HPE Channel Partner, please visit https://www.themaxmind.com/hpepointnext for HPE Pointnext on-demand training videos and resources.     

Learn how to simplify your business at HPE Discover Las Vegas


sansan_strozier  2 weeks ago

Join us at HPE Discover to learn more about solutions built on secure HPE ProLiant Gen10 platforms—and how they can simplify your business affordably.

Heading to HPE Discover? Please join Tim Peters, Vice President and General Manager SMB Segment and ProLiant Tower Servers, Joaquin Ochoa, Owner J-Tech, and Ruth Wrestling Owner/Director, Faith Lutheran church and school, as they discuss new and improved ways to help small businesses succeed.

medium (1).jpg

Led by Peters and these two business owners, the discussion will focus on new, lower-cost solutions tailored to meet business needs. Whether you are looking for a unified threat management (UTM), virtualization, storage and backup or a multi-function business solution, we’ve put together offers that you will not be able to pass by. Built on the industry’s most secure HPE ProLiant Gen10 platforms, the solutions pull together best-in-breed server, storage, network, management and software products in a way that makes them affordable to even the most demanding business.

Register today for HPE Discover Session B5146

  • Location: Sands conference center
  • Room: Titian 2306
  • Date: 06/19/2018
  • Time: 10:30 AM

Check out the Agenda Builder to make the most of your time at Discover.

More to explore at HPE Discover

In the Technology Showcase:
Futures including new ProLiant Gen10 servers and solutions for SMBs

In the Solutions Showcase:
Unified Threat Management demo and HPE ProLiant ML350, ML110 and MicroServer platforms

Learn more now about entry-level servers and solutions.

And hope to see you soon at HPE Discover in Las Vegas, June 19-21.

What Microsoft means by “Intelligent Communications”




Microsoft launched its vision for Intelligent Communications in September 2017 and celebrated the 1st anniversary of Microsoft Teams 6 months later, in March of this year.  This bold vision describes a world beyond that of traditional unified communications to one where Microsoft seeks to enable people to complete tasks more efficiently with minimal context switching, to participate in more productive meetings that cover the entire meeting lifecycle and to help people better manage their everyday communications overload.  

To facilitate this, Microsoft is bringing the real-time communication capabilities of Skype for Business into Teams and delivering a single hub for teamwork which will have built-in, fully integrated voice and video calling as well as ad-hoc and scheduled online meetings. Microsoft is tightly weaving communications into the applications people use to collaborate every day, alongside AI, Microsoft Graph, LinkedIn and other data and cognitive services, and by doing so will enable this vision of "Intelligent Communications".  

Microsoft Teams remains central to this vision by becoming the primary client for intelligent communications and collaboration delivered as a cloud service in Office replacing Skype for Business online and the Skype for Business client. In fact, internally at Microsoft many groups have already made this switch and are using Teams as the primary communications client as you might expect.   

So just how quickly might this happen for the for the rest of us? This really depends on your business needs and the current and pending feature capabilities in Teams. The Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap provides the latest updates for customers to review and determine if their business needs will be met with a move to Teams now, or if they should wait. For those customers not yet ready to adopt Teams or run in the cloud only, the new Skype for Business Server 2019 is due to be released towards the end of 2018 enabling on-premises deployments to continue.  

For customers that are in the process of moving to Skype for Business Online, the guidance from Microsoft is still to evaluate the roadmap and Teams' current capabilities and if it meets the business need, adjust strategy and move to Teams. If not, continue with Skype for Business Online and consider running Teams independently or in parallel.  

Whatever course of action you take, the underlying need to ensure your ongoing ability to plan, build, deploy, manage and optimize your Unified Communications platforms and architectures remains critical; and that is where Prognosis can help. More than 1000 organizations in over 60 countries—including some of the world’s largest banks, airlines and telecommunication companies, rely on IR Prognosis to provide business critical insights and ensure continuity-critical systems deliver high availability and performance for millions of their customers across the globe. For more information check out our Microsoft (and multi-vendor) offering here.  

In Celebration of Female Engineers and Innovators


In Celebration of Female Engineers and Innovators

Talent Acquisition and Attraction
 ‎04-04-2018 06:00 AM

NCWIT Group Photo 2015

NCWIT Group Photo 2015

Technology innovation is the bedrock of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and our employees are the engine that fuels it. Over the past three years, we have been on a journey to rapidly transform the company to better align with changing technology trends and evolving customer needs. A critical element of this transformation has been the re-ignition of our innovation engine. Every HPE innovation comes from a team of individuals, each contributing their unique perspective, knowledge and experience to advance the way the world works and lives. The full power of our people is driving HPE’s success. A focus on Inclusion and Diversity helps to drive new business, fuel innovation, attract and attain the best employees.

Our culture supports and inspires women in technical roles through the stages of their careers and lives as we continuously push the boundaries of technology to deliver life-enriching innovations that impact our customers, partners and the world.

NCWIT awards with Pat Russo and Janice Zdankus

NCWIT awards with Pat Russo and Janice Zdankus

HPE has a long history of supporting and partnering with organizations that create, celebrate and support female innovators.  A big part of HPE’s impact in the industry starts with supporting and growing technology and STEM interest in young women from early in their education, up and throughout their employment. One partner we amplify impact with is the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). NCWIT is dedicated to increasing the meaningful participation of young women in computing and technology careers.  NCWIT offers a number of programs that complement and supplement HPE’s efforts in this critical area.

HPE has provided leadership and financial support, as an NCWIT investment partner, for the NCWIT Collegiate Award, an honor that annually recognizes undergraduate and graduate women’s technical contributions to projects that demonstrate a high level of innovation and potential impact:

  • Since 2015, 47 college women have been recognized with the Collegiate Award.
  • Each recipient receives a trip to the NCWIT Summit with a private networking reception.
  • Winners receive $10,000 in cash and an engraved award; and honorable mentions receive $2,500 in cash and a covered certificate.
  • Winners and honorable mentions hail from across the country, representing 30 different colleges and universities.
  • HPE employees have participated in the review and selection of award winners

 The Collegiate Award is a component of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) program, which provides technical girls and women with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their computing-related interests and achievements from high school through college and into the workforce, and it is making a difference:

  • The AiC Community, the largest network of its kind, includes more than 10,000 technical women.
  • Recipients of the Award for AiC, another component of the comprehensive AiC program, consistently report greater confidence, awareness of computing fields, motivation to persist, as well as less anxiety and uncertainty about computing skills when asked to describe the impact of the award.
  • Furthermore, 91 percent of past Award for AiC winners report a major or minor in a STEM field while in college — 77 percent in computer science or engineering.
  • NCWIT Collegiate Award recipients often receive national media attention for their mobile applications, devices, visualization tools, and other innovations.

 HPE Vice President of Quality Janice Zdankus serves on the NCWIT Board of Directors and is a visible example of leadership that is making a difference, making participation “real” and inspiring participation and outreach amongst employees. Janice provides input to NCWIT’s strategy and program directions, and brings ideas and best practices back to HPE. Janice will join NCWIT in honoring the 2018 Collegiate Award and Pioneer in Tech Award recipients at the 2018 NCWIT Summit. The NCWIT Summit is the world’s largest annual convening of change leaders focused on significantly improving diversity and inclusion in computing. Educators, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and social scientists (both men and women) from across industries and disciplines participate in this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

NCWIT Tucson - 2017

NCWIT Tucson - 2017

During celebrative times like Women’s History Month, elevating the technical women of today who are making history, is just as critical as paying tribute to previous generations of women whose technical contributions have proved invaluable to society and have inspired young women. This support and recognition is important to lift meaningful participation of all women — at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability status — in the influential field of computing, particularly in terms of innovation and development.

HPE 2018 Women's Network North Texas International Women's Day Celebration

HPE 2018 Women's Network North Texas International Women's Day Celebration


About the Author

Jill Sweeney, Senior Manager

Jill Sweeney, Senior Manager

Jill Sweeney leads technical Knowledge management for volume servers, composable systems, high performance computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  Jill and her team are transforming the experiences customers and partners have with HPE's products, solutions and support information to foster positive customer business outcomes.

No stranger to change management and transformation, Jill has held technology focused and marketing roles at HPE including launching both the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility go-to-market programs as well as managing global brand programs for Hewlett Packard's Starbucks Alliance and employee communication engagement. 

Prior to the HP/Compaq merger, Jill drove alliances for a Compaq owned start-up, B2E Solutions.  Jill is a champion for Inclusion and Diversity as well as STEM Careers.  She actively support HPE Code Wars and University recruiting.

This year, Jill has taken a new challenge,  addressing a societal problem of human trafficking.  She is working with a local organization to give female victims of human trafficking career coaching and referrals to coding camps to break the economic cycle, supporting dignity and sharing hope..

An inspirational and motivational speaker, Jill has recently given industry keynotes on topics including IoT trends, diversity, employee engagement and work-life transformaiton.  Jill has served on the Anita.Borg Partner Forum to select technical topics and source industry leading speakers for the Grace Hopper Celebration panel submissions.

Follow Jill on Twitter @JillW_Sweeney and on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/jillsweeney.

Featured articles:

How new tools help any business build ethical and sustainable supply chains

The next BriefingsDirect digital business innovations discussion explores new ways that companies gain improved visibility, analytics, and predictive responses to better manage supply-chain risk-and-reward sustainability factors.

We’ll examine new tools and methods that can be combined to ease the assessment and remediation of hundreds of supply-chain risks -- from use of illegal and unethical labor practices to hidden environmental malpractices

Listen to the podcastFind it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. 

Here to explore more about the exploding sophistication in the ability to gain insights into supply-chain risks and provide rapid remediation, are our panelists, Tony Harris, Global Vice President and General Manager of Supplier Management Solutions at SAP Ariba; Erin McVeigh, Head of Products and Data Services at Verisk Maplecroft, and Emily Rakowski, Chief Marketing Officer at EcoVadis. The discussion was moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Tony, I heard somebody say recently there’s never been a better time to gather information and to assert governance across supply chains. Why is that the case? Why is this an opportune time to be attacking risk in supply chains?

Harris: Several factors have culminated in a very short time around the need for organizations to have better governance and insight into their supply chains.



First, there is legislation such as the UK’s Modern Slavery Act in 2015 and variations of this across the world. This is forcing companies to make declarations that they are working to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains. Of course, they can state that they are not taking any action, but if you can imagine the impacts that such a statement would have on the reputation of the company, it’s not going to be very good. 

Next, there has been a real step change in the way the public now considers and evaluates the companies whose goods and services they are buying. People inherently want to do good in the world, and they want to buy products and services from companies who can demonstrate, in full transparency, that they are also making a positive contribution to society -- and not just generating dividends and capital growth for shareholders. 

Finally, there’s also been a step change by many innovative companies that have realized the real value of fully embracing an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda. There’s clear evidence that now shows that companies with a solid ESG policy are more valuable. They sell more. The company’s valuation is higher. They attract and retain more top talent -- particularly Millennials and Generation Z -- and they are more likely to get better investment rates as well. 

Gardner: The impetus is clearly there for ethical examination of how you do business, and to let your costumers know that. But what about the technologies and methods that better accomplish this? Is there not, hand in hand, an opportunity to dig deeper and see deeper than you ever could before?

Better business decisions with AI

Harris: Yes, we have seen a big increase in the number of data and content companies that now provide insights into the different risk types that organizations face.

We have companies like EcoVadis that have built score cards on various corporate social responsibility (CSR) metrics, and Verisk Maplecroft’s indices across the whole range of ESG criteria. We have financial risk ratings, we have cyber risk ratings, and we have compliance risk ratings. 

These insights and these data providers are great. They really are the building blocks of risk management. However, what I think has been missing until recently was the capability to pull all of this together so that you can really get a single view of your entire supplier risk exposure across your business in one place.

What has been missing was the capability to pull all of this together so that you can really get a single view of your entire supplier risk exposure across your business.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), for example, and machine learning (ML) are supporting businesses at various stages of the procurement process in helping to make the right decisions. And that’s what we developed here at SAP Ariba. 

Gardner: It seems to me that 10 years ago when people talked about procurement and supply-chain integrity that they were really thinking about cost savings and process efficiency. Erin, what’s changed since then? And tell us also about Verisk Maplecroft and how you’re allowing a deeper set of variables to be examined when it comes to integrity across supply chains.

McVeigh: There’s been a lot of shift in the market in the last five to 10 years. I think that predominantly it really shifted with environmental regulatory compliance. Companies were being forced to look at issues that they never really had to dig underneath and understand -- not just their own footprint, but to understand their supply chain’s footprint. And then 10 years ago, of course, we had the California Transparency Act, and then from that we had the UK Modern Slavery Act, and we keep seeing more governance compliance requirements. 



But what’s really interesting is that companies are going beyond what’s mandated by regulations. The reason that they have to do that is because they don’t really know what’s coming next. With a global footprint, it changes that dynamic. So, they really need to think ahead of the game and make sure that they’re not reacting to new compliance initiatives. And they have to react to a different marketplace, as Tony explained; it’s a rapidly changing dynamic.

We were talking earlier today about the fact that companies are embracing sustainability, and they’re doing that because that’s what consumers are driving toward.

At Verisk Maplecroft, we came to business about 12 years ago, which was really interesting because it came out of a number of individuals who were getting their master’s degrees in supply-chain risk. They began to look at how to quantify risk issues that are so difficult and complex to understand and to make it simple, easy, and intuitive. 

They began with a subset of risk indices. I think probably initially we looked at 20 risks across the board. Now we’re up to more than 200 risk issues across four thematic issue categories. We begin at the highest pillar of thinking about risks -- like politics, economics, environmental, and social risks. But under each of those risk’s themes are specific issues that we look at. So, if we’re talking about social risk, we’re looking at diversity and labor, and then under each of those risk issues we go a step further, and it’s the indicators -- it’s all that data matrix that comes together that tell the actionable story. 

Some companies still just want to check a [compliance] box. Other companies want to dig deeper -- but the power is there for both kinds of companies. They have a very quick way to segment their supply chain, and for those that want to go to the next level to support their consumer demands, to support regulatory needs, they can have that data at their fingertips. 

Global compliance

Gardner: Emily, in this global environment you can’t just comply in one market or area. You need to be global in nature and thinking about all of the various markets and sustainability across them. Tell us what EcoVadis does and how an organization can be compliant on a global scale.

Rakowski: EcoVadis conducts business sustainability ratings, and the way that we’re using the procurement context is primarily that very large multinational companies like Johnson and Johnson or Nestlé will come to us and say, “We would like to evaluate the sustainability factors of our key suppliers.”



They might decide to evaluate only the suppliers that represent a significant risk to the business, or they might decide that they actually want to review all suppliers of a certain scale that represent a certain amount of spend in their business. 

What EcoVadis provides is a 10-year-old methodology for assessing businesses based on evidence-backed criteria. We put out a questionnaire to the supplier, what we call a right-sized questionnaire, the supplier responds to material questions based on what kind of goods or services they provide, what geography they are in, and what size of business they are in. 

Of course, very small suppliers are not expected to have very mature and sophisticated capabilities around sustainability systems, but larger suppliers are. So, we evaluate them based on those criteria, and then we collect all kinds of evidence from the suppliers in terms of their policies, their actions, and their results against those policies, and we give them ultimately a 0 to 100 score. 

And that 0 to 100 score is a pretty good indicator to the buying companies of how well that company is doing in their sustainability systems, and that includes such criteria as environmental, labor and human rights, their business practices, and sustainable procurement practices. 

Gardner: More data and information are being gathered on these risks on a global scale. But in order to make that information actionable, there’s an aggregation process under way. You’re aggregating on your own -- and SAP Ariba is now aggregating the aggregators.

How then do we make this actionable? What are the challenges, Tony, for making the great work being done by your partners into something that companies can really use and benefit from? 

Timely insights, best business decisions

Harris: Other than some of the technological challenges of aggregating this data across different providers is the need for linking it to the aspects of the procurement process in support of what our customers are trying to achieve. We must make sure that we can surface those insights at the right point in their process to help them make better decisions. 

The other aspect to this is how we’re looking at not just trying to support risk through that source-to-settlement process -- trying to surface those risk insights -- but also understanding that where there’s risk, there is opportunity.

So what we are looking at here is how can we help organizations to determine what value they can derive from turning a risk into an opportunity, and how they can then measure the value they’ve delivered in pursuit of that particular goal. These are a couple of the top challenges we’re working on right now.

We're looking at not just trying to support risk through that source-to-settlement process -- trying to surface those risk insights -- but also understanding that where there is risk there is opportunity.

Gardner: And what about the opportunity for compression of time? Not all challenges are something that are foreseeable. Is there something about this that allows companies to react very quickly? And how do you bring that into a procurement process?

Harris: If we look at some risk aspects such as natural disasters, you can’t react timelier than to a natural disaster. So, the way we can alert from our data sources on earthquakes, for example, we’re able to very quickly ascertain whom the suppliers are, where their distribution centers are, and where that supplier’s distribution centers and factories are.

When you can understand what the impacts are going to be very quickly, and how to respond to that, your mitigation plan is going to prevent the supply chain from coming to a complete halt. 

Gardner: We have to ask the obligatory question these days about AI and ML. What are the business implications for tapping into what’s now possible technically for better analyzing risks and even forecasting them? 

AI risk assessment reaps rewards

Harris: If you look at AI, this is a great technology, and what we trying to do is really simplify that process for our customers to figure out how they can take action on the information we’re providing. So rather them having to be experts in risk analysis and doing all this analysis themselves, AI allows us to surface those risks through the technology -- through our procurement suite, for example -- to impact the decisions they’re making. 

For example, if I’m in the process of awarding a piece of sourcing business off of a request for proposal (RFP), the technology can surface the risk insights against the supplier I’m about to award business to right at that point in time. 

A determination can be made based upon the goods or the services I’m looking to award to the supplier or based on the part of the world they operate in, or where I’m looking to distribute these goods or services. If a particular supplier has a risk issue that we feel is too high, we can act upon that. Now that might mean we postpone the award decision before we do some further investigation, or it may mean we choose not to award that business. So, AI can really help in those kinds of areas. 

Gardner: Emily, when we think about the pressing need for insight, we think about both data and analysis capabilities. This isn’t something necessarily that the buyer or an individual company can do alone if they don’t have access to the data. Why is your approach better and how does AI assist that?

Rakowski: In our case, it’s all about allowing for scale. The way that we’re applying AI and ML at EcoVadis is we’re using it to do an evidence-based evaluation.

We collect a great amount of documentation from the suppliers we’re evaluating, and actually that AI is helping us scan through the documentation more quickly. That way we can find the relevant information that our analysts are looking for, compress the evaluation time from what used to be about a six or seven-hour evaluation time for each supplier down to three or four hours. So that’s essentially allowing us to double our workforce of analysts in a heartbeat.

AI is helping us scan through the documentation more quickly. That way we can find the relevant information that our analysts are looking for, allowing us to double our workforce of analysts.

The other thing it’s doing is helping scan through material news feeds, so we’re collecting more than 2,500 news sources from around all kinds of reports, from China Labor Watch or OSHA. These technologies help us scan through those reports from material information, and then puts that in front of our analysts. It helps them then to surface that real-time news that we’re for sure at that point is material. 

And that way we we’re combining AI with real human analysis and validation to make sure that what we we’re serving is accurate and relevant. 

Harris: And that’s a great point, Emily. On the SAP Ariba side, we also use ML in analyzing similarly vast amounts of content from across the Internet. We’re scanning more than 600,000 data sources on a daily basis for information on any number of risk types. We’re scanning that content for more than 200 different risk types.

We use ML in that context to find an issue, or an article, for example, or a piece of bad news, bad media. The software effectively reads that article electronically. It understands that this is actually the supplier we think it is, the supplier that we’ve tracked, and it understands the context of that article. 

By effectively reading that text electronically, a machine has concluded, “Hey, this is about a contracts reduction, it may be the company just lost a piece of business and they had to downsize, and so that presents a potential risk to our business because maybe this supplier is on their way out of business.”

And the software using ML figures all that stuff out by itself. It defines a risk rating, a score, and brings that information to the attention of the appropriate category manager and various users. So, it is very powerful technology that can number crunch and read all this content very quickly. 

Gardner: Erin, at Maplecroft, how are such technologies as AI and ML being brought to bear, and what are the business benefits to your clients and your ecosystem? 

The AI-aggregation advantage

McVeigh: As an aggregator of data, it’s basically the bread and butter of what we do. We bring all of this information together and ML and AI allow us to do it faster, and more reliably

We look at many indices. We actually just revamped our social indices a couple of years ago.

Before that you had a human who was sitting there, maybe they were having a bad day and they just sort of checked the box. But now we have the capabilities to validate that data against true sources. 

Just as Emily mentioned, we were able to reduce our human-rights analyst team significantly and the number of individuals that it took to create an index and allow them to go out and begin to work on additional types of projects for our customers. This helped our customers to be able to utilize the data that’s being automated and generated for them. 

We also talked about what customers are expecting when they think about data these days. They’re thinking about the price of data coming down. They’re expecting it to be more dynamic, they’re expecting it to be more granular. And to be able to provide data at that level, it’s really the combination of technology with the intelligent data scientists, experts, and data engineers that bring that power together and allow companies to harness it. 

Gardner: Let’s get more concrete about how this goes to market. Tony, at the recent SAP Ariba Live conference, you announced the Ariba Supplier Risk improvements. Tell us about the productization of this, how people intercept with it. It sounds great in theory, but how does this actually work in practice?

Partnership prowess

Harris: What we announced at Ariba Live in March is the partnership between SAP Ariba, EcoVadis and Verisk Maplecroft to bring this combined set of ESG and CSR insights into SAP Ariba’s solution.

We do not yet have the solution generally available, so we are currently working on building out integration with our partners. We have a number of common customers that are working with us on what we call our design partners. There’s no better customer ultimately then a customer already using these solutions from our companies. We anticipate making this available in the Q3 2018 time frame. 

And with that, customers that have an active subscription to our combined solutions are then able to benefit from the integration, whereby we pull this data from Verisk Maplecroft, and we pull the CSR score cards, for example, from EcoVadis, and then we are able to present that within SAP Ariba’s supplier risk solution directly. 

What it means is that users can get that aggregated view, that high-level view across all of these different risk types and these metrics in one place. However, if, ultimately they are going to get to the nth degree of detail, they will have the ability to click through and naturally go into the solutions from our partners here as well, to drill right down to that level of detail. The aim here is to get them that high-level view to help them with their overall assessments of these suppliers. 

Gardner: Over time, is this something that organizations will be able to customize? They will have dials to tune in or out certain risks in order to make it more applicable to their particular situation?

Customers that have an active subscription to our combined solutions are then able to benefit from the integration and see all that data within SAP Ariba's supplier risk solutions directly.

Harris: Yes, and that’s a great question. We already addressed that in our solutions today. We cover risk across more than 200 types, and we categorized those into four primary risk categories. The way the risk exposure score works is that any of the feeding attributes that go into that calculation the customer gets to decide on how they want to weigh those. 

If I have more bias toward that kind of financial risk aspects, or if I have more of the bias toward ESG metrics, for example, then I can weigh that part of the score, the algorithm, appropriately.

Gardner: Before we close out, let’s examine the paybacks or penalties when you either do this well -- or not so well.

Erin, when an organization can fully avail themselves of the data, the insight, the analysis, make it actionable, make it low-latency -- how can that materially impact the company? Is this a nice-to-have, or how does it affect the bottom line? How do we make business value from this?

Nice-to-have ROI

Rakowski: One of the things that we’re still working on is quantifying the return on investment (ROI) for companies that are able to mitigate risk, because the event didn’t happen.

How do you put a tangible dollar value to something that didn’t occur? What we can look at is taking data that was acquired over the past few years and understand that as we begin to see our risk reduction over time, we begin to source for more suppliers, add diversity to our supply chain, or even minimize our supply chain depending on the way you want to move forward in your risk landscape and your supply diversification program. It’s giving them that power to really make those decisions faster and more actionable. 

And so, while many companies still think about data and tools around ethical sourcing or sustainable procurement as a nice-to-have, those leaders in the industry today are saying, “It’s no longer a nice-to-have, we’re actually changing the way we have done business for generations.”

And, it’s how other companies are beginning to see that it’s not being pushed down on them anymore from these large retailers, these large organizations. It’s a choice they have to make to do better business. They are also realizing that there’s a big ROI from putting in that upfront infrastructure and having dedicated resources that understand and utilize the data. They still need to internally create a strategy and make decisions about business process. 

We can automate through technology, we can provide data, and we can help to create technology that embeds their business process into it -- but ultimately it requires a company to embrace a culture, and a cultural shift to where they really believe that data is the foundation, and that technology will help them move in this direction.

Gardner: Emily, for companies that don’t have that culture, that don’t think seriously about what’s going on with their suppliers, what are some of the pitfalls? When you don’t take this seriously, are bad things going to happen? 

Pay attention, be prepared

Rakowski: There are dozens and dozens of stories out there about companies that have not paid attention to critical ESG aspects and suffered the consequences of a horrible brand hit or a fine from a regulatory situation. And any of those things easily cost that company on the order of a hundred times what it would cost to actually put in place a program and some supporting services and technologies to try to avoid that. 

From an ROI standpoint, there’s a lot of evidence out there in terms of these stories. For companies that are not really as sophisticated or ready to embrace sustainable procurement, it is a challenge. Hopefully there are some positive mavericks out there in the businesses that are willing to stake their reputation on trying to move in this direction, understanding that the power they have in the procurement function is great. 

They can use their company’s resources to bet on supply-chain actors that are doing the right thing, that are paying living wages, that are not overworking their employees, that are not dumping toxic chemicals in our rivers and these are all things that, I think, everybody is coming to realize are really a must, regardless of regulations.

Hopefully there are some positive mavericks out there who are willing to stake their reputations on moving in this direction. The power they have in the procurement function is great.

And so, it’s really those individuals that are willing to stand up, take a stand and think about how they are going to put in place a program that will really drive this culture into the business, and educate the business. Even if you’re starting from a very little group that’s dedicated to it, you can find a way to make it grow within a culture. I think it’s critical.

Gardner: Tony, for organizations interested in taking advantage of these technologies and capabilities, what should they be doing to prepare to best use them? What should companies be thinking about as they get ready for such great tools that are coming their way?

Synergistic risk management

Harris: Organizationally, there tend to be a couple of different teams inside of business that manage risks. So, on the one hand there can be the kind of governance risk and compliance team. On the other hand, they can be the corporate social responsibility team. 

I think first of all, bringing those two teams together in some capacity makes complete sense because there are synergies across those teams. They are both ultimately trying to achieve the same outcome for the business, right? Safeguard the business against unforeseen risks, but also ensure that the business is doing the right thing in the first place, which can help safeguard the business from unforeseen risks.

I think getting the organizational model right, and also thinking about how they can best begin to map out their supply chains are key. One of the big challenges here, which we haven’t quite solved yet, is figuring out who are the players or supply-chain actors in that supply chain? It’s pretty easy to determine now who are the tier-one suppliers, but who are the suppliers to the suppliers -- and who are the suppliers to the suppliers to the suppliers?

We’ve yet to actually build a better technology that can figure that out easily. We’re working on it; stay posted. But I think trying to compile that information upfront is great because once you can get that mapping done, our software and our partner software with EcoVadis and Verisk Maplecroft is here to surfaces those kinds of risks inside and across that entire supply chain.

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