Q&A with Ken Bruni, director, Advanced Programs Group; and Howard Clifford, distinguished technologist
Q: How does HPE support the Intelligence Community (IC)?
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has had a strong, long-term relationship with the IC, engineering and building information technology (IT), and providing consulting services in support of their unique and challenging missions. Additionally, HPE has worked with the IC to define technologies and techniques to address cyber vulnerabilities such as the advanced persistent threat, and as a result, HPE has created highly secure IT infrastructure. As part of HPE’s cyber strategy, the company is implementing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and NIST 800-171 to secure HPE’s supply chain. Finally, HPE has cleared support technologists worldwide and secure facilities in order to support the IC globally.
Q: What is the background on HPE’s Enterprise Services spin off to DXC Technology? How will this change HPE?
On April 1, we completed the spin-merge of our Enterprise Services business with Computer Sciences Corp. to form DXC Technology. We believe this was an important move for HPE to create a more focused company dedicated to the solutions our customers and partners tell us they want most.
HPE will retain and continue to invest in Pointnext, its technology services organization, made up of more than 25,000 specialists in 80 countries to support customers across advisory and transformation services, professional services, and operational services. These teams collaborate with businesses worldwide to speed their adoption of emerging technologies, including cloud computing and hybrid IT, big data and analytics, the intelligent edge, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Q: How is HPE innovating in the GEOINT space?
HPE is innovating across IT, from the core to the edge. One focus area is what we call “hybrid IT.” HPE recognizes some workloads are best deployed in public or private clouds, while others are best deployed in traditional IT infrastructure. Building and helping to create hybrid IT is a core strategy of HPE, since that is what our customers are asking for. To deliver on that strategy, HPE has engineered and built new hardware and software technologies to deliver the same dynamic configuration flexibility and economics of cloud across traditional computing, storage, and networking solutions. This innovation allows our customers to deploy the right workload on the right platform within the right economic model. Most importantly, this directly supports the GEOINT Community’s desire for rapid development and widely-shared apps and data hosted in the cloud while keeping data collection, high performance data processing, and mature workloads on traditional infrastructure.
Another major innovation is in the area of mobility with HPE’s Aruba Wi-Fi hardware and software. The IC now has its community cloud and HPE has worked with the IC to create a National Security Agency-approved way of handling sensitive and classified data over Wi-Fi. While Wi-Fi is likely not appropriate for use everywhere in the IC, it does have its place and its use will grow over time.
Q: What are your thoughts on how IT will transform in the next five years?
A huge change is already underway and will become more apparent in the next several years. If you look at the IT industry since its inception, there have been several tectonic shifts and we are at the beginning of a fourth shift. Now, we are rapidly moving toward a world where everything imaginable has some kind of connectivity and processing. This is the Internet of Things, where processing is decentralized and pushed out to the edge close to where data is created, whether by autonomous cars and planes, smart cities, or sensors adorning nearly every item imaginable. With IoT the number of “users” or data creators could reach the hundreds of trillions and the resulting amount of data generated will grow exponentially.
The computers we rely on today, from smartphones to supercomputers, are hitting a wall in terms of physical size, efficiency, and computing capacity, because today’s computers are based on an architecture that’s more than 60 years old. To address this challenge, HPE envisioned an entirely new computing architecture called “memory-driven computing,” which enables a massive leap in our ability to process data. It allows the development of new ways of extracting knowledge and insights from large, complex data sources. Massive performance gains can be obtained from rethinking and re-architecting how data is processed and analyzed. All of this has huge implications for the IC, allowing the community to leverage the power of the IoT.
Machine learning will cease to be a novelty and will soon become a necessity as the data volumes continue to grow beyond what human eyes can view and analyze. And, the IC will need to learn how to protect its own IoT from exploitation as well as how to exploit the intelligent things deployed by adversaries. For the IC, our adversaries’ secrets hide in plain sight within that ocean of data, and it’s critical they have the systems and know-how to discover those secrets.
Q: What benefits has HPE seen from its USGIF Organizational Membership?
HPE has maintained a great relationship with USGIF. The GEOINT Symposium is one of HPE Federal’s most important shows to attend. The breakout sessions, networking events, and access to senior executives within IC leadership are outstanding. HPE also greatly benefited from attending USGIF’s Powering GEOINT Analytics: Big Data from Small Sats workshop in April at NGA Campus East in Virginia. The theme of collecting data from small satellites was right on target and of great interest to HPE. We see computing at the intelligent edge as a significant area of opportunity for many years ahead.