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Why BlueShore Financial Chose HPE Primera’s AI Over Public Cloud

‘We benchmark ourselves against AWS [Amazon Web Services], GCP [Google Cloud Platform] and [Microsoft] Azure from an infrastructure standpoint, and we always come out way ahead of those environments,’ says Ryan Burgess, manager of technology infrastructure for the boutique financial institution that administers $6 billion in assets.

BlueShore Financial, the first Hewlett Packard Enterprise Primera global customer, sees the intelligent storage platform’s InfoSight software advantage as key to driving cost and efficiency advantages versus public cloud, said Ryan Burgess, manager of technology infrastructure for the boutique financial institution that administers $6 billion in assets.

“We benchmark ourselves against AWS [Amazon Web Services], GCP [Google Cloud Platform] and [Microsoft] Azure from an infrastructure standpoint, and we always come out way ahead of those environments,” said Burgess. “I really strongly believe it is because of the fact that we stick with a single vendor for our solutions. So we stick with HPE for our server, storage and networking because of the autonomous [predictive analytics]. HPE Is building that in holistically. They are not building silos. The autonomous [data center] dream becomes more possible because we are using HPE across the board.”

Key to that autonomous data center drive is HPE’s decision to tightly integrate InfoSight with Primera and to put the intelligent storage software analytics platform across its entire infrastructure portfolio, said Burgess. “There really isn’t any other AI/machine-learning platform for storage operations that I am aware of,” he said. “What is exciting about this is the InfoSight integration across HPE’s portfolio—not just Primera, but ProLiant, VMware and StoreOnce. The integration of all those together is going to be massive.”

BlueShore Financial, which is based in Vancouver, and has been named one of Canada’s best employers for nine consecutive years, used CloudPhysics, a Software-as-a-Service offering that monitors and analyzes IT infrastructure, to compare Primera infrastructure to public cloud offerings—and HPE Primera came out on top, said Burgess.

In many cases, customers are turning to public cloud because they have inefficient infrastructure, said Burgess. “Cloud is based a lot around inefficiency,” he said. “Customers are running their environments very inefficiently. There is a lot of room to improve. The cloud takes advantage of that vulnerability. I see that as where cloud is being used. It is not for highly efficient organizations that are agile.”

Burgess bristles at the pressure that he sees from public vendors to move “sovereign” data into the public cloud. “Our data belongs to our clients and, in a lot of cases, to us. Providing that to someone else so they can charge us back for it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “To me, that is counterintuitive. Why would you give that to somebody else?”

BlueShore Financial keeps a close eye on the public cloud offerings to ensure it has the most efficient and agile IT infrastructure, said Burgess. “We are always reviewing what is being offered,” he said. That said, he resents what he sees as the failure of public cloud vendors to support hybrid cloud.

“We have to run an infrastructure that is based on a world that is trying to force us from a golden age of software into the cloud,” said Burgess. “We have to always pay attention to what is going on in the public cloud. But at the same time, we have to continue to be very focused on being agile and cost-effective. We have to pick solutions that match up with that.”

Burgess sees the hybrid claims from public cloud vendors as a precursor to corporate lock-in. “It’s a way for them to get you to lower your shields and make you feel like it is going to be a two-way relationship when, in fact, it is just a red carpet being rolled out to pull you in,” said Burgess. “That is very much what we have seen.”

Burgess sees the current public cloud phenomenon as a focus on “software licensing” rather than customer satisfaction. “This is the golden age of software licensing right now with subscription and Software as a Service,” he said. “It is not about customer satisfaction. It is really about lock-in and making sure that as a customer you don’t have options—your option is that solution exclusively. We are trying to resist that as much as we possibly can. We don’t want to hold our business hostage, and we certainly don’t want to hold our clients’ data in a space where we have no idea who has access to that data or where that data is residing. We are being pushed sort of with our arms behind our back into Software-as-a-Service solutions more and more. Quite frankly, it is troubling and concerning from a privacy and data sovereignty perspective.”

BlueShore Financial is “proud” to tell clients the financial institution is focused first and foremost on protecting their data, said Burgess. “We are extremely confident [about protecting customer data],” he said. “We are constantly reviewing our practices, policies and procedures. We are constantly audited. … We take it very seriously.”

The “passion” that BlueShore Financial’s team has about protecting customer data is paramount, said Burgess. “The passion about that can be challenging sometimes because you feel like you are up against the world when it comes to cloud,” he said. “We certainly have days when we get frustrated and feel like we are being forced into solutions in the cloud space.”

One of the keys to BlueShore Financial’s decision to move to Primera is its 10-year relationship with DTM Systems of Vancouver, one of HPE’s top Platinum enterprise partners, said Burgess.

“DTM is a very strong HPE partner,” he said complimenting DTM for its “comfortable” and “complementary” relationship with BlueShore Financial and HPE. “With DTM it is a three-player relationship with HPE, DTM Systems and BlueShore,” he said. “Because DTM understands our business so well they helped provide a solution that would meet our requirements. They were involved directly in the configuration and all the logistics.”

DTM began working with BlueShore Financial on the Primera solution at HPE Discover last year before the product was even unveiled.

DTM Vice President of Enterprise Systems Sales Andrew Beck, a 26-year DTM sales leader, sees Primera as a watershed moment for the storage industry. “HPE has done the R&D with Primera,” he said. “HPE is enabling the autonomous data center experience.”

In many cases, traditional storage is getting an undeserved black eye of sorts because of the cloud storage phenomenon, said Beck. “That is not deserved when you have advancements like Primera,” he said. “InfoSight is a game-changer. AI is going to be huge in this business. I don’t think everyone really has grasped how big an effect that is going to have on this industry overall.”

DTM’s relationship with clients is based on “earned respect,” said Beck. “Because we don’t carry an inch-deep and mile-wide book of vendors on our books, we are able to really leverage our relationship with HPE—particularly around a new product introduction like Primera.”

Beck, who has been thrilled by the enthusiastic response to Primera from clients, sees more customers realizing the “promise of public cloud” is not the right fit for all workloads. “It’s a hybrid world,” he said. “When you have enterprise applications and key workloads and services, you really have to step back with regard to whatever technology you are going to host this service or data in and make sure you are making the right decision.”

The data sovereignty discussion with prospective clients is key to the Primera versus public cloud discussion, said Beck. “You can sit down with a client and say, ‘This is where your data is going to reside and how we are going to be able to serve your needs as a prospective client,’” he said. “That is huge. Good luck doing that with the cloud.”

Burgess, for his part, said he could not be more excited about the future with HPE given the all-out innovation drive under HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri. “We are super excited about the future with HPE,” he said. “Since Antonio took over, HPE is reinvigorated. You can feel the HPE pride. It has come back. HPE has a skip in their step and they are excited about Primera. It’s nice to work with partners like that.”

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