Software-defined storage hits the bargain rack

HPE is introducing less expensive versions of some storage platforms so smaller enterprises can enter the next generation

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A booth sign at Mobile World Congress 2016 shows the logo of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a file image captured on Feb. 25, 2016.

Credit: Stephen Lawson

Some small and medium-sized businesses need fast, and flexible storage gear as much as large enterprises. The need to quickly spin up new applications, even without a storage specialist on staff, can drive those demands. The gear for doing so is gradually getting more affordable.

On Monday, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise extended two of its storage product lines into more affordable territory, in one case adopting an ARM processor to help cut the cost of a system.

HPE says the new systems give smaller organizations a way in on two of the hottest trends in enterprise storage: software-defined storage and flash. The former helps to line up the right storage for each application, even as a company’s demands quickly change, while the latter can give a speed boost to any type of storage arrangement.

To put storage under software control, HPE launched its StoreVirtual arrays in 2014. There are now in about 200,000 deployments worldwide, the company says. StoreVirtual systems can provide shared storage capacity alongside HPE ProLiant servers and hyperconverged appliances, using the company’s Synergy software.

Up to now, typical StoreVirtual systems have been mult-terabyte systems costing tens of thousands of dollars. On Monday, HPE introduced the StoreVirtual 3200 Storage, with capacities starting at 1.2TB and a street price starting at US$6,055.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise introduced the HPE StoreVirtual 3200 storage array on Aug. 15, 2016.

HPE says the 3200 is a way for SMBs to get a foot in the door with software-defined storage, consolidate workloads and gradually migrate to the new type of infrastructure over time. Beyond that base price and configuration, the new system stays cheaper even in a more typical arrangement like a two-node system with 14TB of capacity, HPE says. That system would be less than half the cost of the current StoreVirtual 4000 model with a similar configuration, the company says.

Part of the reason is that the processor at the heart of the 3200 uses an ARM microarchitecture rather than the x86 technology used in most other enterprise data-center gear. The ARM chip, which comes from AppliedMicro, delivered the computing power the company needed at a lower price than an x86 processor, said Brad Parks, HPE’s director of go-to-market strategy for storage. It might be the first of many used in HPE storage gear, though the company is only beginning to explore this approach, he said.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise introduced the HPE MSA 2042 storage array on Aug. 15, 2016.

Also on Monday, HPE introduced the MSA 2042, a new member of its MSA line of arrays that includes 800GB of SSD (solid-state drive) capacity and flash storage software as standard features. The flash can be used as a read cache accelerator or as a read and write performance tier, with automatic tiering software included. That hardware and software has been optional on MSA systems, but at an additional cost of about $7,500, Parks said. In the 2042, which is priced starting at $9,877, they are included at no extra cost.

Both the StoreVirtual 3200 and the MSA 2042 are available immediately worldwide.

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