What to expect from HPE Discover Europe 2017

We head to Madrid to get a taste of servers, strategy and sangria for HPE’s bi-annual conference

CEO Meg Whitman has definitely been busy since the last Discover in June; HPE completed the $8.8 billion software spin off to the British company Micro Focus in September, launched two HPE servers into space the month before and partnered with Tottenham Hotspur FC in July.

However, the biggest news for HPE right now is that Whitman is stepping down as CEO and this is likely to overshadow the conference. Whitman will not be the only focus, however, as eyes will be watching HPE's current president and next CEO Antonio Neri.

Neri, who is from Argentina, has worked his way up through HP and HPE's ranks over the years. He started working at HP in 1995 as a EMEA customer service engineer and went on to become HP's general manager for the server and networking business unit in 2014. He became executive VP of HPE in 2015 and then president in June 2017, and will no doubt have his own vision for the company's future.

Among all the excitement and furor over HPE's executive switch-up, there is sure to be announcements about what the company is working on too.

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One hot topic at the moment which we will almost certainly hear about at Discover is artificial intelligence. HPE recently added AI to data centre management which it claims will help businesses manage their IT infrastructure, including apps, better.

You can't have a conference nowadays without talking about blockchain either, and HPE will probably want to explain it from its point of view. The company is planning to offer blockchain-as-a-service for enterprises by early 2018 as it tries to stay ahead of the competition and attract more customers.

One topic on everyone's mind in Europe is GDPR and this will definitely be a strong and prominent theme at the conference. We are only four months away from the deadline, so HPE will probably want to showcase to customers its strategy for the next few months before the regulation kicks in.

Aside from this, the company will want to cover IoT and its IoT applications, throw in a little bit of hype surrounding 5G, as well as unveiling new projects it has been working on. It will also be interesting to see if HPE offers more Microsoft-specific services, as in September the company announced it would allow customers to pay for Azure Stack deployments on its own servers on a consumption model.

Ultimately, expect an exciting conference with the onus on Neri to persuade customers and investors he can keep the company on the right tracks and catch up to HP's success. It's going to be full of news as usual but with the added excitement, and potentially panic, that Whitman is leaving.

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