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HPE shows off first fruits of $4bn edge computing investment

Tech supplier has beefed up its Edgeline portfolio with new hardware and software offerings to make it easier to manage edge devices, applications and data

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has unveiled the first fruits of its $4bn investment in edge computing with a slew of new offerings to help enterprises better manage their edge devices, applications and data.

These include hardware adapters that connect IT networks to operational technology (OT) systems, and the Edgeline OT Link software platform that makes insights from the edge available across an enterprise through business applications hosted on-premise and on the cloud.

HPE also highlighted its Edgeline Integrated System Manager, claiming that the software is designed to make it easier to deploy and manage edge infrastructure and applications, along with the new Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge system, which comes with compute and storage capabilities.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of HPE Discover in Madrid, Tom Bradicich, HPE’s vice-president and general manager for converged servers, edge and internet-of-things (IoT) systems, said the new offerings in HPE’s edge computing portfolio will bring the management and security capabilities of IT systems to the OT world.

“Deploying IoT, edge and cyber-physical systems is a challenge requiring a fresh look at uniting the physical and digital worlds,” said Bradicich. “With today’s announcements, we enable our customers to accelerate the delivery of applications that capitalise on edge data, safeguarded by enterprise-class management.

“And we lay the groundwork for a new ecosystem of intelligent edge solutions to drive innovation and growth across industries.”

At a media briefing, Bradicich hinted that there will be more edge computing capabilities to come, pointing to a range of model numbers that HPE can use for its Edgeline systems to cater to different requirements and industries.

One company that has benefited from HPE’s edge computing capabilities is US electricity supplier Centerpoint Energy, whose power grid generates terabytes of data per hour at the edge and relies on edge technologies connected to central analytics and cloud platforms.

“CenterPoint Energy is enthused about continuing our partnership with HPE, as we explore applications for the Edgeline EL300 and Edgeline OT Link platform to help us accelerate the deployment and improve operational efficiency of our edge-to-cloud solutions, while attaining our goal of safer and more efficient energy delivery for our customers,” said Steve Pratt, CTO of CenterPoint Energy.

Read more about edge computing and IoT in APAC

Vernon Turner, executive analyst at technology research firm Ecosystm, noted that while HPE’s system management capabilities and open edge computing platform are part of a maturing IoT roll-out where enterprises will want to connect more diverse industrial devices, industrial customers may not have the suitable IT experience to support a growing edge computing environment.

So, the need for a support service is again an answer to a potential growing need, he said. When it comes to the announcements, I don’t see Dell EMC or others in this space becoming panicked as it is something that they know has to be done. I think it’s likely that they are working on similar offerings and will get there almost as soon as HPE.”

In June 2018, HPE said it would invest $4bn in edge computing over the next four years, amid expectations that a majority of data will be created and analysed at edge locations such as oil rigs and wind farms.

Gartner has predicted that as result of digital business projects, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised datacentre or cloud by 2022, up from less than 10% in 2018.

In an interview with Bloomberg this week, HPE president and CEO Antonio Neri said the company expects to reap returns from its edge computing investment in two years, noting that HPE’s edge business has been growing in the double-digit range.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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