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HP Joins 'Composable Infrastructure' Race with Synergy

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) recently unveiled Synergy, a next-gen datacenter hardware product that's part of an emerging crop of converged systems that deliver "composable infrastructure."

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 software-defined intelligence and fluid resource pools, will let Synergy automatically optimize itself based on specific applications designed either for traditional datacenters or cloud infrastructures. Arista, Capgemini, 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 falls under the category of composable infrastructure -- a term HPE, Cisco and others are likely to parrot throughout 2016 -- which is especially suited for organizations that have moved to a DevOps model of building and managing distributed apps and systems. HPE argues that Synergy is the first composable infrastructure product, although Cisco claims to be the first-to-market with its Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Servers and the Cisco UCS C3260 Rack Server.

Synergy is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2016, HPE announced at its recent Discover conference in London, where it also also launched its Azure Cloud Platform System (CPS).

HPE described Synergy as composing 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, senior vice president and general manager of HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure, during the opening keynote of 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 that the composable 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, he noted that 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."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.