In what is likely the most exciting of the announcements so far at HPE Discover, HPE announces two converged EdgeLine devices, as well as the ability to use their Vertica Big Data solution and functionality from their Aruba secure wi-fi system in IoT devices. New IoT partnerships and IoT Innovation Labs were also announced.
LAS VEGAS – Today at HPE Discover, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced two new Edgeline Internet of Things systems, the Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000. These two devices are, however, a quantum leap from the first two Edgeline devices HPE announced seven months ago at its European Discover event. In fact, the company believes that they constitute a brand new product category.
“Our December announcement, the EL 10 and EL 20, was an appetizer,” said Dr. Tom Bradicich, Vice President and General Manager, Servers and IoT Systems. “The EL 10 and EL 20 were in the gateway category. In contrast, this is a banquet of IoT opportunity, and we need to distinguish the EL 1000 and EL 4000 from the earlier models. This isn’t just creating a new product. This creates a new product category – a converged IoT system.”
Bradicich said that the world needs a converged IoT system, and that HPE has been the first to respond to this need.
“There was a day when there were no blade servers,” he said. “Now there are many. This is what’s so newsworthy. It’s the creation of a new product category. We believe there will be other entrants, from other companies as well as our own, but we are the pioneers.”
Bradicich said the two new devices are novel because they combine three things that haven’t been combined before.
“First, this takes enterprise-class high-performance computing – 64 Xeon3 cores – and puts them on the edge,” he said. “Today, what’s on the edge is little ARM cores or little routers. This puts deep computing at the edge”
The second element is deep data ingest technology.
“That exists already as product in the IoT edge. But now we put it in the same box as the enterprise computing, so something which used to stand alone is now integrated in the box.”
The key here is PXI technology, an open standard for measurement and automation systems.
“This is Big Data, but it is big ANALOG data,” Bradicich said. “It comes from the natural world. National Instruments is the leading vendor in this, and an expert in that physical world of data, and we have partnered with them.”
Bradicich worked for National Instruments earlier in his career, and played a key role in bringing this new partnership about.
“I tried to do it earlier, when I worked there,” he said. “This combines two industries that MUST work together, because the IoT industry is very complex.”
In addition to these efficiencies, Bradicich pointed out that the partnership will expand HPE’s technology into a brand new market – for them.
“Under this partnership, we will both resell each other’s products,” he said. “This brings us into a market that we didn’t sell to at all before.” New partnerships with other industrial IoT firms, GE Digital and PTC, were also announced.
The third element in the new equation is managing the billions of systems and devices out at the edge.
“We have been managing PCs with our Lights Out and systems management technology,” Bradicich said, noting that the Lights Out technology means little or no human intervention is needed, making it ideal for edge deployment.
“Now we are moving these PC technologies to the edge. Together with the other two elements, we wrap them all together in an environmentally hardened package for the edge.”
The EL 1000 is the size of a shoebox, while even the more powerful EL 4000 has a 1U form factor, and can be mounted in many different ways, including on an industry standard rack. Both integrate compute, storage, data capture, control and enterprise-class systems and device management, and are designed to thrive in hardened environments and handle shock, vibration and extreme temperatures.
Both the EL1000 and EL4000 are optimized to deliver heavy-duty data analytics and insights. The EL 4000 also runs the HPE Vertica Analytics Platform, HPE’s Big Data solution, which runs machine learning algorithms across a broad range of IoT analytic use cases.
“We can now take Vertica and run it on the edge,” Bradicich said. “Before you couldn’t do something like this unless you compromised, and chopped it down to ‘drive by analytics.’ There are lots of computing devices at the edge, but you can’t run deep analytics on them.”
To easily secure traffic back to the data center, both the EL1000 and EL4000 also support the Virtual Intranet Access (VIA) VPN client from Aruba, which HPE acquired a year ago.
“Aruba is a specialist in high security wi-fi, which transforms untrustworthy devices into secure IoT,” said Michael Tennefoss, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Aruba. “VIA can send data over a secure VP connection up to a classification of top secret, retaining the security of the data centre at the edge.
Aruba is also announcing an extension to their ClearPass Network Access Control System which will be critical for these IoT devices.
“We are announcing IoT device profiling,” Tennefoss said. “It ‘fingerprints’ devices and determines if they are trustworthy. If it is, it lets them connect but imposes terms. If it is untrustworthy, it doesn’t get on the network at all. If it is unknown, it has additional security ramifications until it’s proven trustworthy.”
Tennefoss said this IoT device profiling reduces the risk of connecting a device to the IoT infrastructure.
“The system is totally automatic with no manual intervention, which makes it easy to implement,” he said.
HPE also introduced the HPE IoT Transformation workshop, an interactive HPE-facilitated workshop that helps customers to define their IoT vision and strategy and gain business technology alignment.
“One of the challenges for customers is they want to connect things but don’t know how to go about it,” Tennefoss said. “The workshops are designed to help them understand what they are trying to accomplish with the IoT from a business point of view.”
Finally, HPE also announced four IoT Innovation Labs, co-operated by HPE and Intel, and based in Houston, Grenoble France, Bangalore India, and Singapore. They are designed to help customers and channel partners envision how IoT can be applied in their industry, build and test IoT applications, and access technical expertise.
“These four sites allow partners and customers to come together to pretest and prevalidate,” Bradicich said. “It’s all about time to value.”
Bradicich also noted that the number of devices in the HPE IoT family will expand from the current four, but that this expansion will reflect future convergence, rather than simply a desire to create new devices for more precise use cases.
“There is really no limit to what can eventually be converged into these,” he said. “Look at consumer smartphones. They replaced GPS systems and music listening devices, and who would have initially imagined that. Future EdgeLine devices will be created to converge in additional functionality.”