Episode 23 – Riding the Cloud Experience with On-Premise Control and Saving Bundles of Money Along the Way!

Connection
Connection

We take you to the cloud and back with a consumption model that helps you implement on-demand services so you can kick the IT head-aches to the curb. GreenLake Flex Capacity explained by Keith Early: GreenLake Specialist for HPE.  A simple discussion to help get you in the “Everything-As-A-Service” game.

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This is the Transcript of the TechSperience Podcast – Episode 23

Penny Conway:

Welcome to another episode of Connection TechSperience. Today we are all talking about cloud services, and it’s forecasted that cloud services will be a 331-million-dollar market by 2022, which is predicted to be three times the growth of overall IT services. With organizations navigating this piece of the digital transformation through cloud or hybrid models, it’s begging a few questions. Are companies looking at IT services as an investment versus a cost of doing business? And are IT decisions really part of a corporate strategy, and if so who’s making those decisions? Just this past July, HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced that by 2022 all of HPE’s offerings would be services-based, which seems extremely timely with the projected growth of the industry. Today I have with me Keith Early, the GreenLake Specialist at HPE to weigh in on this digital transformation and really dig into the details of how cloud services and the consumption-based model is changing IT. Keith, welcome.

Keith Early:

Thank you.

Penny Conway:

Why don’t we start a little bit. Because I say “GreenLake Specialist for HPE.” Why don’t you give us a little bit of a background of who you are, what you do with HPE, and what brings you to the podcast today.

Keith Early:

Sure, absolutely. I’m at GreenLake Consumption Specialists. I cover the East Coast and I work with our clients, our business partners, and our enterprise teams work with and consulting on on-premise hybrid cloud solutions. We’re working actively with our customers to build private hybrid clouds that seamlessly integrate with their existing public clouds strategy.

Penny Conway:

Excellent. So let’s set the foundation for those that are listening, because the consumption-based model, the as a service or everything as a service model that we’re hearing all the buzz about is very familiar in our personal lives. We use things like Netflix and Hulu. I actually use a clothing as a service, rental service for myself. But when we look at moving into a corporate world, it’s a little bit unfamiliar for a lot of people. So how do you sort of introduce the idea of a consumption model to an IT department, or how do you even start having that conversation with someone if they’re already in a hybrid environment or they still have some sticklers that are those on-premise people? How do you broach the conversation and get them a little bit more comfortable in a corporate environment?

Keith Early:

It’s actually probably a little easier than you think. It’s really all around budgeting, forecasting, the financials. We can provide an on-premise hybrid consumption-based model actually less expensive than the public cloud.

Penny Conway:

Interesting.

Keith Early:

So, it’s very compelling. And when you look at time to value and execution of getting infrastructure up and running in our model, you’re not paying for it until it’s up and running and until it’s used. So, the finance people love it because it really is steering their IT organization away from overbuying and overprovisioning, which has always been a huge problem over the years.

Penny Conway:

You make a good point that it’s a huge financial decision. And I think traditionally we’ve seen a lot of IT decisions come from out of the C Suite, but that Chief Technology Officer, even a Chief Security Officer, as we kind of get into the cloud stuff. But now we’re seeing bigger decision makers like CFOs and CEOs, because this is more than just an IT purchase. It’s a way that they’re going to be doing business. So how does the conversation go with those kinds of stakeholders when you’ve traditionally been working with people that are in IT exclusively?

Keith Early:

Yeah, a lot of our finance people are looking for transparency. Transparency from a cost perspective, as well as who’s using the IT infrastructure, right? Where is it allocated? What’s driving those cost? So, the whole charge back show that what we have within our software stack is really adding value to the business, and that’s really what our customers are looking for. That visibility of what departments are driving their IT cost and why?

Penny Conway:

Hmm.

Keith Early:

Is it stale data? Is it active data? Or, what it looks like? So, we’re providing them that visibility.

Penny Conway:

And when you’re doing an overview. Let’s walk through what this would look like for a company. You’ve got someone that maybe has some version of the cloud already. That hybrid model on premise in cloud. Do you sit down and do sort of a cost model of them to show what the as a service consumption would look like versus what they’re doing today, and how that affects their capital expense versus an operating expense in how they’re tracking those expenses?

Keith Early:

Yeah, so the initial engagement is very traditional. Like we typically have engaged with our customers. As you start talking about solutioning, whether it be service, storage, the edge, switching, routing security, regardless of what it is, we then pivot and we look more deeply into the applications as well as the utilization and try to get some of that statistical data of where they’re at today from a benchmarking standpoint that we right-size the environment going forward. But more importantly we’re providing additional infrastructure on-premise that they don’t pay for. That HPE is providing them on-premise that is not paid for until they start to consume it in order to provide them the agility they need to meet the demands of the business. So, that’s really the the secret sauce, if you will.

Penny Conway:

Do you have any examples of what they financial model looks like for a company and how that plays out?

Keith Early:

Yeah. So today we’re doing a cash flow analysis go, moving forward. A little bit different than a total cost of ownership that some people have done in the past. And it’s a real cash flow analysis based on utilization, what it looks like today, and what it looks like going forward from a projection standpoint. So, it’s pretty compelling. We have a lot of customers using our tools to limit that overprovisioning, finding out what departments have a lot of stale data, and looking to offload that stale data or charge it back to the particular division within the organization. So it’s all about accountability.

Penny Conway:

That’s interesting, ’cause I think you have, I don’t think you realize when you’re talking about data who owns the data in an organization and necessarily who should be paying to store and use and pull that data. So what does that look like for a company? Have you ever worked with someone that you say, “Oh, it’s all being calculated here”, and then they put your model, they put GreenLake in place, and now they’re seeing that data is not being used by one department or another? What have you run into there?

Keith Early:

Yeah, it’s that transparency, visibility, understanding what the cost drivers are and where they sit within the departments and offloading that stale data at tertiary and more advantageous solutions. So.

Penny Conway:

Do you have an example of a customer that you’ve worked with?

Keith Early:

Yeah, we’ve had a couple that marketing tends to drive a lot of stale data. Things just sitting there over time. They hate to purge, they hate to get rid of anything. It’s really put the onus back on them to figure out what the business really needs and where should it live.

Penny Conway:

So all of this is living in the consumption-based model and in the service that you offer. With being able to categorize where that data is living or who the owners of that data is, when it’s being used, when it’s not being used, is there any sort of finding, making those findings and seeing that information that you offer a customer to help move that around?

Keith Early:

Yeah, great question. So, with the GreenLake solution we actually don’t just throw the software over the fence to you and expect our customers to actively manage it out of the gate. We actually deploy remote services with the solution. Those are technical account managers, utility managers that have the same visibility and tools that our customers have as it relates to their data. Those people are proactively making recommendations on a weekly, monthly basis on what capacity looks like, where workloads are being run, and actively making recommendations for efficiencies.

Penny Conway:

And that’s throughout the course. That’s part of the as a service, right?

Keith Early:

Absolutely.

Penny Conway:

It’s not the set it and forget it, you actually have someone guiding you?

Keith Early:

Absolutely. Ongoing. Ongoing. Yep.

Penny Conway:

I think of data as such a commodity. And it’s being moved around and traded and everyone wants data. Data … I was actually watching Sili- do you watch Silicon Valley?

Keith Early:

No, I haven’t seen that.

Penny Conway:

You should. You should. I was watching Silicon Valley last night. And so the whole premise of the show is like that he wanted to create a new internet. He had data storage and it could compress data and be pulled down from the cloud in kilobytes instead of terabytes. And this whole season is about him having the new internet and not collecting personal data. But turns out he’s got the best data algorithm collector and aggregator and all of that. And there’s of course a bad guy that wants to take all that data and use it for bad purposes. But so anyway, I digress.

But when we think about how much data is being collected on a regular basis, obviously maybe a company of 25 to 100 people might not be pulling in as much data to make an as a service useful. Or is it? Like what’s the ideal company size that would want to take advantage of this?

Keith Early:

Yeah, you probably have to be rough and tough, probably around 1,000 employees and have a significant data set to have it make sense and have value to the organization. We have a number of different customers using it for many different things. The use cases go anywhere from high-performance compute to GPU as a service to containers as a service to database as a service. So, it truly spans the gamut of what our customers are using it for. And from a storage perspective, definitely some advantages as it relates to, benefits of de-duplication and compression that our customers see the benefit of that. Not as opposed to the public cloud. You’re getting billed with those benefits of seeing de- duplication and compression, versus what is written.

Penny Conway:

Hmm. So, forgive my ignorance a little bit, but “container as a service”. What does that mean?

Keith Early:

So, Kubernetes and Dockers, very big as it relates to portability of workloads. We’re seeing a lot of our customers looking to run Kubernetes on Bare Metal or Kubernetes with the M-ware. And have the ability to shift those workloads on both on-prem and off-prem.

Penny Conway:

We covered sort of the financial model and how that addresses– finance is always a huge pain point for any company, any department. But what are some of the other pain points that you really see a customer having where this really comes in and swoops in, saves them time, resources. What are some of those additional pain points?

Keith Early:

Yeah, most of them revolve around business agility. Time to value executing from a business perspective and having the infrastructure there and ready to go. Um, and that’s module so that they can scale and start a new line of business at a reasonable expectation from an infrastructure standpoint and respond to the business’s needs. That’s what the IT folks are getting out of this model is that, is that agility.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. So they’re not taking a workload off of them so they can focus on other projects that are going on.

Keith Early:

It really gets down to IT no longer becoming a cost center and for them becoming a service provider to the business.

Penny Conway:

Oh, I like that a lot. Yeah, ’cause you always think of you know, all this expense is coming from IT or it’s gonna cost us this much-

Keith Early:

Right.

Penny Conway:

Or we need to refresh here, we need to do that there. And it’s always sort of pulling money out of the budget. But this gives them an opportunity to not only maybe add a service value but potentially put ROI back in. Which, IT is seeing a lot of pressure to actually create ROI versus expense all the time.

Keith Early:

Absolutely.

Penny Conway:

And you know, the other, the other question I have is, we just wrapped up back in October. Cyber Security Month, where everything we said and did was all about security. And I would imagine where there’s a component of On-Prem here, cause there’s a lot of kind of wariness about going to the cloud due to the security. What happens if someone that’s storing all of my data and controlling all of my data gets breached? But with GreenLake they have the ability to have it on premise. What does that look like from a security point of view and help them be a little more … What’s the word I want to use? Responsible for their own data.

Keith Early:

Yeah, it definitely addresses a lot of concerns our customers have as it relates to governance and security. Having to deploy additional security resources as you go into the cloud, and that whole visibility. So, our customers really love the control that the on-prem solution gives them. And they leverage public cloud when and where it makes sense and for that burst ability, but we say you should always own your own data.

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Keith Early:

You know, you use public cloud from a compute standpoint, but at the end of the day own your own data and never have to repatriate and, and pay to have that data come back on premise. You’ll always be in control.

Penny Conway:

Awesome. Yeah, we always say you don’t want to be the company that’s in the news for having your data spilled all over the place. When … Keith, what makes you like the most excited when you’re talking about this new solution from HPE that is GreenLake? To hear that your CEO is saying that by 2022 everything we offer is going to be as a service … What makes you most excited, being part of that vision and talking about the product and giving customers a solution?

Keith Early:

Sure. It’s a super exciting time to be at HPE. We are by far the leaders in the marketplace with this offering. Nobody’s even close. We’re doing it with our entire product portfolio. I get a lot of exposure to a lot of different business units. That’s super exciting as well. At the end of the day we’re really saving and adding value to our customers. I’m probably one of the only sales guys in America that’s going into an account and a customer and saying, “You’re buying too much from me, I need you to buy less.”

Penny Conway:

(laughs)

Keith Early:

We are truly adding value back to the business. And our customers are seeing that.

Penny Conway:

And I feel like everyone’s going to want your number now that you said that. (laughs) The one sales guy who isn’t asking me to buy more. This might actually answer my, kind of answer my next question, is when you’re talking to your customers, what is the number one thing that you’re asking them today to understand if they’re a good fit for GreenLake?

Keith Early:

Sure. And most of them don’t even know the answer to this, but typically we’re trying to understand how they buy, how they overprovision, what the three main applications look like. As well as what that data and traffic looks like. But most people are … They just don’t know how overprovisioned they are. So we have some free software tools that we run in environments, and we can actually run these tools in a matter of a week and collect the data.

Penny Conway:

Hmm.

Keith Early:

And then come back to them with hard and fast numbers on truly how overprovisioned they are. And more importantly after we roll out GreenLake, I can use those numbers that we establish as a baseline and come back to them after a year or two years and I can quantify exactly how much savings that we delivered over that 12 or 24 months by rolling out GreenLake into real numbers.

Penny Conway:

So real quick, tell me a little bit about what goes into the assessment with that one week assessment, and how we … A customer might be able to get that assessment.

Keith Early:

So our assessment tool is called “assessment foundry”. It’s uh, very similar to the, audit tools. Basically, pulling those same data points and data sets across the environment. It looks at all things regardless of manufacturer. It will tell us the sizing of the hardware, whether it be server or storage. It will tell us what the utilization looks like. And typically, we’ll want to run that for at least a week or two to give us good visibility into the environment.

Penny Conway:

Excellent. And I know that we have a very robust team here with HPE at Connection that is very well-versed in GreenLake and this assessment that you guys are offering. So if you are out there and you want to understand how you can better leverage your data, understand your data, and ultimately pay less for your data, give your account manager a call or visit www.connection.com/, and connect with us and learn all about HPE GreenLake and how it can help your business. Keith, thank you so much for joining the Connection TechSperience Podcast today. I hope you come back and join us soon.

Keith Early:

Thanks so much for having me.

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