HPE goes after IBM’s Watson with new cloud-based deep learning platform

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise may have given up on competing in the infrastructure-as-a-service market, but the other elements of its plan to expand beyond the data center are coming along on schedule. After nearly a year and a half of testing, the company this morning launched a managed analytics platform that attempts to challenge IBM Corp.’s Watson Developer Cloud.

Haven OnDemand combines HPE’s high-speed relational database with Hadoop to provide an environment that can process both unstructured and unstructured information. Layered over the top is a set of deep learning features similar to what Big Blue has included in its own rivaling platform. Developers are able to scan images for specific objects and individuals, extract key details from large amounts of text and transcribe speech to writing or vice versa. There’s also a variety of more advanced capabilities that make it possible to perform manual analysis when deeper insight is required.

All in all, Haven OnDemand packs over 60 distinct services, more than three time the number that Watson Developer Cloud currently offers. The platform maintains its lead even when taking into account the various managed database and business intelligence offerings available on IBM’s SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service platform, which should appeal to larger organizations. After all, the more services can be bought from a single source, the less time and effort has to be spent dealing with vendors.

HPE isn’t exactly a one-stop shop, however. Because the company shut down its public cloud earlier this year, Haven OnDemand is hosted on Microsoft Azure. The decision to choose the platform over bigger rival Amazon Web Service no doubt has something to do with the partnership that the companies struck in December following HPE’s split from its former consumer technology arm.

The agreement saw HPE designate Microsoft as a “preferred cloud partner” in exchange for the software giant committing to buy more of its hardware, particularly the ultra-scalable kind. Haven OnDemand has the potential to create even more business for the vendors while drawing away customers from joint rival IBM. The platform has attracted over 12,000 developers since entering private beta in late 2014, many of whom are using its capabilities to support production applications.

Image via Geralt