Hewlett Packard Enterprise took off its gloves on Tuesday in the next-generation container software battle against rivals VMware and Red Hat with the launch of a new, open-source, native Kubernetes container software brand called Ezmeral.
“We are really going to create a swimming lane (next-generation container) for ourselves,” HPE Chief Technology Officer and Chief Software Officer Kumar Sreekanti, one of the driving forces behind the new Ezmeral software platform, said in an interview. with CRN. “This is going to be in parallel with (VMware) Tanzu and (Red Hat) OpenShift and now there is Ezmeral.”
The name Ezmeral, which was inspired by the Spanish word for emerald, is a reference to the mythical and transformative powers that the bright green gemstone brings to people.
The new Ezmeral software, which can be purchased both as a cloud service and a local software license, is both the heart and central nervous system of a multi-cloud open platform to modernize applications that can be run and moved without problems from edge to data center to cloud. “What we are giving customers with Ezmeral is the only software where they can run legacy applications and cloud-native applications under the same glass,” said Sreekanti.
HPE even allows the software to run on rival systems like Dell and Lenovo. “The vertical stack can run on any hardware or on any cloud,” said Sreekanti.
Ezmeral essentially provides the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) platforms for partners and customers to build a new generation of smart applications that take advantage of the platform’s robust AI and machine learning capabilities, Sreekanti said.
Among HPE’s biggest advantages in the battle of Kubernetes-based container software against VMware and Red Hat is Ezmeral’s ability to provide “persistent storage” through its MapR file system and robust machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities with HPE BlueData, said Sreekanti, a software innovator who started AI Superstar BlueData which was acquired by HPE in 2018.
“We are the only one that has truly integrated persistent storage that is based on one of the world’s most scalable file systems through MapR,” said Sreekanti. That file system runs the Aadhaar biometric database in India, which provides a single registry of all 1.5 billion citizens of India.
The other unique advantage of HPE in the software container war is the BlueData AI machine learning software that Sreekanti delivered to BlueData customers. That software is designed to run stateful and stateless workloads, essentially enabling HPE to deliver the same cloud experience on a native or on-premises cloud workload in the data center or even real-time on the edge.
“It is the only one running Spark (real-time data) ML (machine learning) AI (artificial intelligence) AI workloads while running CICD (continuous integration, continuous delivery),” Srkeenati said.
Ezmeral’s AI-based PaaS functionality is something that competitors simply cannot match, Sreekanti said. “When it comes to the PaaS layer, we are the undisputed leader,” he said.
HPE even recently won a significant deal with a large customer that pitted HPE Ezmeral against the competition. “It is a new workload that runs directly into Ezmeral,” Sreekanti said.
Machine learning operations for Ezmeral run with the Kubernetes open source platform on the same hardware as the MapR file system. “What that does is give the customer the ability to get the best of the entire stack organized from top to bottom,” said Sreekanti.
HPE designed Ezmeral from the start as a next-generation “bold” offering that is not tied to the old virtualization software paradigm, Sreekanti said. “When I invent a car, I don’t screw it to a horse-drawn carriage,” he said. “The horse-drawn carriage is an older version. We run natively on bare metal. You don’t need to have any existing virtualization. You can run in virtualization. We have no problem doing that. But it is unnecessary.
HPE partners said Ezmeral brings together HPE’s growing suite of robust software offerings under a single brand aimed at driving a new era of smart applications.
With Ezmeral, HPE is aggressively moving to provide the essential software customers need to succeed in the future, said Erik Krucker, CTO of Comport Consulting, a partner at HPE Platinum, No. 314 at the CRN Solution Provider 500.
“HPE goes where customers want to be, not where they have been,” said Krucker. “HPE is doing the right thing by incorporating the different pieces of its software portfolio into one container platform. It will be a great competitive offer for us. I think it will do well. It is encouraging to see that HPE is moving in the direction the market is moving. They are trying to get ahead of the main market. Customers don’t want to stay in the past. HPE continues to move forward. “
Krucker said he expects HPE to release versions of Ezmeral in the future that will run on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud as HPE moves forward aggressively with its open source multi-cloud container platform. “This gives customers the ability to have portable workloads with built-in resiliency for applications, regardless of whether they run on-premises or in the cloud,” he said. “It gives customers the ability to deploy the workload where it makes the most sense. It is definitely a big change for HPE in how they are developing a software portfolio. “
Krucker said that Sreekanti, who has deep software roots including three years of research and development for VMware’s cloud infrastructure business, made significant gains in loading the HPE software. “HPE’s vision is clear: They want to provide everything as a service and they want to be more of a software company rather than a pure hardware company,” he said. “Kumar has brought some of that lineage of VMware into software into HPE’s hardware innovation mindset. He has brought those two together. He has shown good leadership with this container software. ”
Ezmeral opens the door for customers to “create modern applications” that can run in a hybrid or native IT environment in the cloud, said Dan Molina, chief technology officer at Nth Generation, San Diego, who has just been named HPE as a partner This year’s service year. “It is very refreshing to see that HPE is investing in this next-generation container software,” he said. “This gives our clients additional options. It is a very smart move from HPE. The time is right for Ezmeral. “
Paul O’Dell, director of CPP Associates, HPE Platinum Partner in Clinton, NJ, who this week was named HPE Solution Provider of the Year, said he hopes Ezmeral will give a big boost to the fast-growing data intelligence practice. of CPP.
“This is exciting,” he said. “It is where the future of IT infrastructure is going. About 80 percent of all development within large companies is done in containers. It is absolutely critical that CPP and HPE play in that market. We want to be at the forefront of where these next-generation apps are created. This is aimed at the sweet spot of what we are doing with our data intelligence practice. This is a good rebranding of MapR and BlueData in a new software solution. “
CPP’s top technical talent was impressed by the data intelligence functionality of MapR and BlueData, O’Dell said. “We are huge admirers of what Kumar Sreekanti has done here,” he said. “We have built a whole practice around BlueData. What HPE is doing with Ezmeral is perfect. It’s about delivering hybrid IT the way customers want it delivered. The company that can really make it easier for customers to change workloads will be the winner. ”