Hewlett Packard Enterprise's new InfoSight on 3Par product combined with a breakthrough artificial intelligence-based recommendation engine tilts the balance of power in the intensely competitive storage market in HPE's favor, partners told CRN.
Infosight on 3Par marks the first time a major storage vendor has been able to predict and proactively resolve storage issues in complex enterprise IT environments, said partners.
"Nobody else has this capability," said Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based solution provider. "This is a big deal. It gives channel partners as well as storage administrators a bird's eye view of what needs to be done. Putting the AI recommendation engine behind the storage makes everyone smarter. It's going to make storage management more dynamic."
Goldstein expects to drive big midrange storage sales growth by leveraging the AI capabilities of InfoSight on 3Par. "This is the first time we have ever had a true AI application that helps us with enterprise storage optimization," he said. "This gives us the insights to keep the storage up and performance tuned."
The high praise from partners came after HPE Tuesday unveiled what it is calling the industry's "first" artificial intelligence-based recommendation engine as part of its new InfoSight on 3Par product launch. The recommendation engine brings InfoSight from what was predictive analytics to proactive recommendations.
HPE, in fact, is bringing enterprise storage into the AI-based age where machine learning and big data are driving a new era of autonomous data centers, said Goldstein. "What is exciting about the machine-learning capabilities of InfoSight is it can be performance-tuned to each individual customer environment," he said. "This gives every customer their own storage knowledge base."
The 3Par release of InfoSight comes just seven months after HPE acquired Nimble – the all-flash superstar that developed the breakthrough predictive InfoSight analytics product – in a $1.1 billion blockbuster deal. Nimble's predictive analytics – considered years ahead of competitors – is credited with lowering storage IT operating expenditures by 79 percent.
HPE said InfoSight on3Par with the recommendation engine will be available starting in January at no additional charge to 3Par customers on the latest OS release with an active support contract.
The new AI recommendation will also be available to current Nimble customers free of charge with an active support contract.
Dan Molina, chief technology officer at San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, one of HPE's top enterprise partners, said InfoSight's AI-based recommendation engine and deep predictive analytics platform combined with 3Par is a "tremendous combination" that will be tough for HPE competitors to match.
"The combination of InfoSight with 3Par -- which been a data center staple for many years -- is a big differentiator in the market," said Nth Generation's Molina. "I think we will see significant sales growth from this, but what excites me more is we can provide a better solution to our customers. It is exciting for us to be able to provide these innovative AI technologies in an integrated solution to our customers who already love 3Par."
Molina said the key to InfoSight is its ability to provide application insight aimed at preventing difficult-to-remedy application bottlenecks. "InfoSight with 3Par is going to help customers get to the heart of why applications are sometimes not performing as expected," he said. "You need good analytics to find out where the bottleneck is. InfoSight combined with the enterprise-grade scalabity of 3Par is very significant."
Gavin Cohen, vice president of product and solution marketing for HPE, said InfoSight on 3Par provides partners with "huge" competitive differentiation."This is the ultimate in customer experience," he said. "InfoSight completely changes the game on how the [3Par] product operates and is supported. It proactively pounces on problems before the customer hits them."
Cohen, a five-year Nimble veteran who joined HPE in the wake of the acquisition, said the recommendation engine for the first time moves Nimble from predictive to "proactive or pre-emptive" storage recommendations. There is a lot of "noise" from competitors around AI storage capabilities, but no other vendor has the InfoSight capabilities, Cohen said. "What InfoSight brings on Nimble and 3Par is completely unique," he said.
Vish Mulchand, senior director for product management and marketing for HPE's Storage Division, said the recommendation engine takes the HPE enterprise storage technology lead up a notch. "Predictive analytics has been done for a while; the recommendation engine is another big step up," he said.
One of the biggest differentiators for 3Par customers is the cross-stack analytics capabilities of InfoSight, said Mulchand. That opens the door for partners to look between virtual machines and storage to pinpoint once-hard-to-detect problems, he said.
"This was a big pain point for customers that in the past took a lot of click-throughs and correlation of different reports to get to where the problem was," Mulchand said. "While others claim to be doing some of these analytics, they are all doing it in the box as opposed to outside the box across the entire infrastructure. That is the key differentiator."
InfoSight on 3Par also provides a cloud portal with global visibility into capacity analytics, performance trending and best practices. "This makes it easier, faster and more effective for channel partners to quickly help customers as their trusted adviser," Mulchand said.
The new product also brings for the first time to 3Par a new foundation to provide more detailed predictive analytics capabilities as new iterations of the product are delivered every three to six months, said Mulchand.
Cohen said HPE Nimble InfoSight has a multiyear lead over competitors. "The biggest thing HPE acquired with Nimble is the code base for InfoSight and the IT behind it," he said. "There is almost 10 years of innovation in the depth and breadth of the analytics and data science that goes into it."
The most successful Nimble partners were leveraging InfoSight customer portals to provide high-value data analytics around storage capacity and performance for specific application environments such as Oracle, SQL, SAP and SharePoint. That accelerated sales cycles, said Cohen. "That gave clean ammunition for the partners to get a [purchase order]," he said. "Those reports were used to get budget approval for adding upgrades."
Cohen said HPE is providing Nimble the scale to dramatically reshape the storage landscape with the InfoSight predictive and proactive capabilities. "It's tremendous to see the enormous machine of HPE sales and channel partners that now have access to the product," he said. "Customers used to ask if it was safe to bet on a [small] company like Nimble. Now that Nimble is part of HPE, all of that has disappeared."