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HPE CEO Neri tests positive for COVID-19, talks hot topics for HPE’s Discover event

News Analysis
Jun 18, 20203 mins
Cloud Computing

HPE CEO Antonio Neri advances intelligent edge, AI/ML, and everything-as-a-service by 2022 as important subjects at the company's Discover event next week.

antonio neri hpe
Credit: HPE

The COVID-19 pandemic struck home for HPE CEO Antonio Neri this week as he told the world he tested positive for the disease on June 16. HPE says Neri is feeling well and plans to operate business as usual while he quarantines at home, including playing a key role in the vendor’s Discover 2020 virtual event next week. 

Indeed Neri was well enough to talk with Network World about the hot topics and trends the company will address at Discover.

The main discussion of course will be around continuing to develop the intelligent edge, a strategy Neri has driven for a couple years now.

“We see data growth in the cloud, on and off premises, and increasingly at the edge where we are uniquely positioned. The edge customers need persistent connectivity to bridge the digital and physical worlds,” Neri said during the company’s financial results call in May.

“HPE Aruba Central is at the core of our edge strategy. It is the only cloud-native simple-to-use and secure platform that unifies network management for wired, wireless and WAN networks, and soon 5G and edge computing. In Q2, the number of unique customers using Aruba Central increased to 65,000.”

The edge has also been the focus of HPE’s most recent slate of service introductions. 

Neri pointed to the company’s most recent edge extension, a cloud-based service called HPE Edge Orchestrator aimed at letting telcos deploy edge services to customers via IT infrastructure located at the edge of telco networks or on customer premises.

In addition, he pointed to Edge Services Platform, which can analyze telemetry data generated by Wi-Fi or network switching gear and use it to automatically optimize connectivity, discover network problems and secure the overall edge environment. The platform was recently introduced by HPE’s network subsidiary Aruba.

While the Orchestrator service is directed at telcos and Aruba ESP at enterprise customers, the moves are representative of Neri’s overarching plan to shift HPE’s portfolio to what he calls an everything-as-a-service model by 2022.

“The cost driver for customers is addressing and simplifying the data going back and forth between the edge and the data center or the edge and the cloud – multiple clouds in most cases. It’s easier and more effective to process everything at the edge, and we are enabling cloud services bring a compete cloud experience to customer data,” Neri said.  “This everything-as-a-service model is our focus for the future.”

Another hot topic at next week’s Discover will be how to address the growing remote workforce.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers were overwhelmed by the remote-access requirements, and there still is the concern of processing data in places we haven’t seen before,” Neri said. 

“There have been a number of great use cases in retail, healthcare and manufacturing where customers have adopted HPE technology to address remote access and security issues, and you will continue to hear about that more,” Neri said.

Another key direction is the continued deployment of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning in HPE offerings.

“We make use of AI in all of our platforms to manage issues before they happen and do things like predict storage usage. We have  2 billion data points that we collect all sorts of telemetry data from that makes our AI and ML smarter and stronger,” Neri said.  “AI and ML are fundamental to improve storage, security insights.”