At its Discover event this week, HPE announced its own multi cloud management platform: HPE Project New Stack.

Lets investigate the key customer value, differentiation and chances to succeed of HPE’s new data center and cloud management platform:

Business Value
HPE Project New Stack lets customers of HPE’s Synergy composable infrastructure expand their management capabilities to AWS and Azure:

  • Development groups can request application environments that Project New Stack, together with HPE Synergy, then composes from data center and public cloud resources.
  • Business executives receive a centralized dashboard to view cost, health, performance and utilization for their public cloud and data center resources.

EMA research confirms that these are both significant pain points in enterprise IT today.

Background
This announcement comes after months of guessing games around whether or not HPE will get back into the cloud business. Unsurprisingly, the answer is and had to be YES. In the recent past HPE has placed a series of cloud bets that did not work out: CloudSystem, Eucalyptus, OpenStack. With the Simplivity acquisition HPE chose not to pursue Simplivity’s capabilities in terms of federation with AWS and Azure, which raised and still raises questions.

Competition and Differentiation
RightScale, Cisco CloudCenter (formerly CliQR), IBM Cloud Automation Manager and the freshly integrated VMware vRealize suite of multi cloud management tools are some of the core competitors. Whether or not Project New Stack will be the missing link for the success of HPE’s cloud strategy depends on the ultimate answers to the following core questions:

  • Can HPE convince customers to use a multi cloud management solution that is attached to hardware vendor specific operations management tools?
  • Will HPE be able to create a software tool that, in its first iterations, comes at least close to what the seasoned competition already offers and at the same time significantly exceeds the competition’s level of local server, storage and network integration?
  • Can HPE establish a competitive DevOps story tied to Project New Stack.
  • Will customers trust HPE to get it right this time, after previous cloud failures
  • Will HPE be able to rapidly integrate Simplivity’s OmniStack file system as the foundation of a HPE managed federated architecture?
  • Will HPE’s composable play find customer adoption beyond simple hardware refresh scenarios?

As a CIO, Would I Adopt New Stack as a Multi Cloud Manager?
I have always liked the concept of composability and I highly commend HPE for sticking its “neck” out for this fascinating vision. Scaling application environments across multiple data centers and clouds in a policy-driven and automated manner is the right thing to do. The question mark for me is whether HPE can show any significant differentiation that would make me, as the CTO or CIO, want to bet on an HPE-centric cloud management solution. This differentiation could lie in the combination of HPE Synergy composable infrastructure, the Simplivity OmniStack federated file system, the HPE OneView operations management platform and HPE New Stack. In the end, there are many moving parts that have to be integrated in a convincing manner.

But is this the right thing to do for HPE right now?
Yes it is and here is why: 
adding New Stack on top of Synergy is a low-risk play, as customers today do not buy Synergy for its composability, but simply because they want to refresh their servers. That said, I would look at New Stack as a “free play,” where the quarterback can take some risk because there won’t be any interceptions possible. This is why I cannot fault HPE for trying and I’m curious to learn more about how New Stack will differentiate.