It turns out that the next big trend in enterprise tech may be entertainment.
Imagine Communications and Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced a new deal today that expands on an existing partnership designed to combine Imagine's video distribution services with HPE's data center infrastructure and systems integration expertise. As part of the agreement, HPE will resell Imagine's video products globally, and Imagine will migrate to HPE's hardware platforms.
There are several factors driving the new deal. Aging broadcast video infrastructure and the move to IP-based video have created demand for Imagine's services. The company's IP playout system includes not only the transmission of video streams over IP, but also software that makes it possible for programmers to create and manage channels easily. Imagine also offers its CloudXtream portfolio, which gives distributors the tools they need to deliver live, linear, on-demand and cloud DVR services. (See Imagine Debuts CloudXtream.)
In order to make its New IP solutions as cost effective and scalable as possible, however, Imagine needs more than its software-based systems; it also needs hardware. And that, in large part, is where HPE comes in.
"The equipment that we're going to be using from HP is standard off-the-shelf hardware," explained Imagine's CTO Steve Reynolds in an interview. However, he went on to add that "the expectation is that by working with HP, and working with not only their consulting services group but also working directly with their products people and their hardware engineers, we are going to be able to create highly optimized solutions using their hardware portfolio."
By optimized, Reynolds means both in terms of performance and price. Imagine will work with HPE to balance processing power, memory and storage to create the ideal hardware configurations for media delivery.
On the HPE side, the deal with Imagine signals new recognition that video delivery could be big business for enterprise tech vendors, and that as the media industry moves away from proprietary systems and toward standard data center architectures, there's a huge opportunity available.
The future isn't all sunshine and rainbows, however. Potential customers now also have the option to move away from dedicated hardware, like the products sold by HPE, and toward open source solutions. By combining with Imagine, HPE clearly hopes to sway customers with the advantages of media-specific expertise and the promise of a single source -- the team of Imagine and HPE -- for hardware, software, service and support.
Imagine and HPE aren't naming any joint customers at the moment, but they do say their combined solutions are already deployed around the world, thanks to the initial partnership the two companies announced last April.
Reynolds also expressed enthusiasm for where the partnership is headed. "We think we're the first ones to do anything like this," he said, "forming this kind of an alliance between a broadcast systems expert like Imagine and an IP powerhouse like HP -- we don't believe there's any precedent for it."
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading