HPE Refresh Makes All Flash More Affordable

    Regardless of the type of IT infrastructure being employed, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) is making the case that the time has come for midmarket IT organizations to make the switch to an all-Flash environment.

    HPE this week unveiled a raft of storage arrays, Proliant Gen10 servers and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offerings based on all-Flash configurations. New additions to the HPE lineup include new HPE MSA storage arrays as well as all-Flash arrays based on the platform HPE gained by acquiring Nimble Storage. There is also a new HCI platform based on the software that HPE gained by acquiring SimpliVity. Finally, HPE unveiled a faster HPE StoreFabric M-Series Ethernet switch that was built for HPE by Mellanox Technologies as well as a $250 wireless access point.

    Brad Parks, director of product and solution marketing for storage and Big Data at HPE, says the price points of all-Flash configurations have fallen to the point where most midmarket organizations can afford to start to make that transition.

    “We think the time has come for a lot of organizations to refresh their server and storage systems,” says Parks.

    To achieve that goal, HPE appears to be willing to be aggressive. HPE claims the HPE SimpliVity 380 HCI platform is priced 20 percent lower than rival HCI platforms. A new MSA1050 hybrid storage array is priced starting at under $5,500, which is not the lowest entry price point in the HPE shared storage lineup. Higher-end MSA 2050/2052 models now deliver two times more performance than the previous generation for the same price.

    Kevin Deierling, vice president of marketing for Mellanox, says that regardless of the platform choice made, there’s no doubt that adoption of all-Flash systems will also require access to faster networks.

    “We think we’re on the brink of a network renaissance,” says Deierling.

    A big part of that renaissance, adds Deierling, will be based on 25G Ethernet switches that are priced at a slight premium over 10G switches replacing Fibre channel switches in storage networks.

    Rather than trying to force customers down a specific platform path, HPE’s Parks says the company will continue to invest in both servers and storage arrays as well as HCI platforms. While HCI platforms lower the total cost of IT by unifying the management of compute and storage, Parks says there are still lots of legacy applications that require access to a shared storage array. In addition, Parks says HPE will continue to make both MSA series and Nimble storage arrays available as well. The Nimble storage arrays are attractive because they include analytics capabilities that reduce downtime and predict performance issues based on available storage capacity, says Parks.

    It remains to be seen how aggressively midmarket IT organizations will transition to all-Flash servers and storage systems. The one thing that is certain is that transition has already been a long time coming and many of them will be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much of an impact Flash storage can have on the performance of existing legacy applications.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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