Software defined storage hits the bargain rack

The HPE SV3000 (Image: HPE)

16 August 2016

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.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has 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.

The HPE MSA2042 SFF array (Image: HPE)

The HPE MSA2042 SFF array (Image: HPE)

HPE says the new systems give smaller organisations 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 multi-terabyte systems costing tens of thousands of dollars. HPE has introduced the StoreVirtual 3200 Storage, with capacities starting at 1.2Tb and a street price starting at $6,055 (€5,388).

HPE says the 3200 is a way for smaller organisations 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-centre 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.

HPE also introduced the MSA 2042, a new member of its MSA line of arrays that includes 800Gb of solid state drive (SSD) 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 (€6,676), Parks said. In the 2042, which is priced starting at $9,877 (€8,792), they are included at no extra cost.

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

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