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Synergy 'Composable Infrastructure' Will Be HPE's Big Play for 2016

Look for the lines between server, storage and network gear to blur further in 2016 as a new crop of converged systems arrive that offer what several key suppliers this year have begun describing as "composable infrastructure," which is especially suited for organizations that have moved to a DevOps model of building and managing distributed apps and systems. Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week was the latest to announce next-generation datacenter hardware called Synergy that falls under that description.

HPE executives revealed plans to deliver Synergy in the second quarter of 2016 at its Discover conference, which took place in London, where the company also launched its Azure Cloud Platform System (CPS). Synergy is a converged system that combines compute, storage and networking fabric into common resource pools controlled through a single API that enables management via the HPE OneView systems management platform.

The unified API combined with its software-defined intelligence and fluid resource pools will let Synergy automatically optimize itself based on specific applications designed either for traditional datacenters or cloud infrastructure. Arista, Capgenini, Chef, Docker, Microsoft, NVIDIA and VMware are among those that have said they will support HPE's new Synergy API in their respective wares.

Synergy is the latest form of so-called composable infrastructure -- a term HPE, Cisco and others are likely to tout more in 2016. Cisco claims it's the first to deliver composable infrastructure with its Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Servers and the Cisco UCS C3260 Rack Server.

As HPE describes Synergy (which it also argues is the first composable infrastructure), it composes physical and virtual resources into any configuration for any application.

"What it has is fluid resources that can dynamically flex to the specific needs of an application in any deployment model, whether it be virtual, physical or bare metal or even in containers," said Ric Lewis, SVP and General Manager of HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure, during the opening keynote session at the Discover conference.

These fluid resource pools are the basis of the unified API, Lewis explained. "It allows ops and developers alike to simply access the resources as code. This infrastructure boots up ready to run a workload. There's not a whole bunch of configuration and things like that you need to do. As you add elements, it auto-identifies those elements and presents them ready to run applications."

The unified API provides a single interface to diagnose, discover, provision, search and update Synergy. Lewis emphasized the compsable API is based on a single line of code designed to provision the resources needed for specific applications, which eliminates the need for scripting.

"I like what I see with Synergy," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy. "It spans server, storage and networking. It uses fluid resource pools across many different environments. The key is the Synergy API." That said, IT decision makers will need to determine whether a composable infrastructure such as Synergy is suited to their applications and workloads.

It's important for enterprises to have the ability to cost compare to traditional racks and blades, even though comparing cost alone misses the point," he said. "There is a cost to composable's speed and flexibility, and enterprises will want to know what that is."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/11/2015 at 11:03 AM


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