HPE asserts disruptive potential of new convergence of OT and IT systems in same Edgeline chassis

HPE has had IoT appliances on the market for several years, but at HPE Discover this year they are announcing the EdgeLine OT Link Platform, software that combines OT and enterprise grade IT functionality in the same box, which will make it easier to manage massive amounts of devices at the edge.

Dr. Tom Bradicich, VP and GM, Converged Servers, Edge and IoT Systems at HPE

MADRID – Today at HPE Discover here, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has announced a series of new HPE Edgeline Converged Edge System solutions, with the big one being the evolution of their IoT technology to now support the convergence of full powered IT and OT [operational technology] systems in the same box, at the edge with the HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform. HPE also made several related announcements. These include the third appliance in the Edgeline family, the EL300 (with promises of many more come), a new Edgeline systems management solution, and HPE Edgeline Field Application Engineering Services, which are available from HPE Pointnext.

“It has been a long and great process to bring this together, but its disruptive nature will catapult us into a new world of OT – not just IT,” said Tom Bradicich, PhD, VP and GM, Converged Servers, Edge and IoT Systems at HPE.

That fully converged element of the announcement is the key part of the announcement, Bradicich stressed.

“We did not invent OT,” he said. “We are not an OT company. We did not invent IT. What we have invented is the convergence of both of them in a single box. We are the first and the only one now in the market that has taken those OT technologies – control systems, data acquisition systems and industrial systems – and put them in the same chassis as our enterprise grade compute and storage. That is the invention that we assert sets us apart in the industry. It makes the edge suitable for real-time action.”

Bradicich identified four components of the announcement, with the Edgeline OT Link Platform being the first among equals. The platform software includes an open workflow engine and application catalogue, which lets customers orchestrate components, data, and applications with a graphical drag-and-drop user interface. It also includes an ecosystem of third-party applications running from edge to cloud. These include the big enterprise vendors, like AWS, Google, Microsoft and, SAP, but they also include established OT vendors, as well as startups from both spaces. Certified modules – HPE-developed adapters that connect to a broad range of OT systems – enable bi-directional, time-sensitive, and deterministic control and communication, including high-speed digital input/output, CAN bus, Modbus, or Profinet. APIs and SDKs for these adapters are provided to encourage additional third-party designs of OT link modules.

“The platform enables us to use the hardware and its connectivity to the modules,” Bradicich said. “We can download applications and containers into the platform, and can connect third party systems and devices. We can build and have built connectors to many different clouds, because it’s an open architecture. We have opened it for third party hardware, software and cloud connectivity – three dimensions of openness.”

HPE partners are particularly critical in providing the OT expertise to which HPE makes no claims of expertise. However, the power and capacity of the new OT Link platform provides OT-focused partners with ample benefits. Christopher Cain, VP and GM, Electronic Industrial Products, at Keysight Technologies, an OT partner that does 4 billion in revenues, said the platform allows them to scale to the massive deployments that are now taking place at the edge.

“I see its ability to match our expertise in the OT space,” he said. “We need a homogeneous ecosystem to manage these huge systems. This will provide us with help in terms of rolling it out.”

HPE also announced HPE Edgeline Integrated System Manager, which they are terming the industry’s first systems management solution specifically designed for edge provisioning.

“The manageability that it provides is explicitly designed for the edge – where we don’t have reliable connectivity,” Bradicich said. “It is fully optimized for this edge environment.”

HPE Edgeline Integrated System Manager is embedded into HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems, and can remotely manage thousands of them. It includes one-click provisioning, ongoing system health management, and remote updates, and supports advanced security functions like preventing system boot file changes and remote system disablement during a security event.

The new family member, joining the HPE Edgeline EL1000 and EL4000, is the HPE Edgeline EL300, whose sweet spot is really embedded systems. It is a fan-less, low-energy system with Intel Core i5 processors, up to 32GB of memory and 3TB of storage. It will also support Intel Movidius MyriadX vision processing units to enable video analytics and AI inference at the edge, which can operate in a temperature range of from -30 to 70 degrees Celsius and has certified resiliency against shock, vibration, humidity, and dust.

“There’s a lot of numbers in between the EL300 and EL1000, and between the EL1000 and EL4000,” Bradicich said. “We will be filling many of those – so watch this space.”

The HPE Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge System will be added to HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity, HPE’s consumption-based offering.

The final element of the announcement is new HPE Edgeline Field Application Services through HPE Pointnext.

“These are to help partners and customers build OT modules and use analytics to run them,” Bradicich stated. “They are designed to work at a low level – the chip and circuit board level.”

HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform will be available globally in the first quarter of 2019. HPE Edgeline OT Link certified modules are now available globally, with list prices starting at $USD 189. HPE Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge System is now available globally, with list prices starting at $USD 2,532.  HPE Edgeline Integrated System Manager is now available globally, and a zero-fee software license is included with HPE Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge Systems.