HP, Intel seed market for software-defined storage

HP is working with Intel to make 1 TB of StoreVirtual VSA storage available to all purchases of servers with Intel's latest Xeon processors.

Dale Degen, senior worldwide marketing manager for HP Storage

Dale Degen, senior worldwide marketing manager for HP Storage

HP is teaming up with Intel to make its StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Array) a lot more prevalent. In fact, under a deal between the two, HP will make a 1 TB license for StoreVirtual available for free on every server in the market with an Intel Xeon E5 V3 chip in it.

Of course, HP would prefer that be done on an HP server – and say customers will get the most out of the experience by doing so – but the free software will be equally available on hardware from both HP and its x86 server rivals, including Dell and Lenovo.

The companies’ bet is clear – if end users get a chance to dip their toe in the software-defined storage waters, they’ll be much quicker to build out on the technology across their enterprise.

“This signals a time where software-defined storage has come of age, said Dale Degen, senior worldwide marketing manager for HP Storage. “We’re taking software-defined storage mainstream.”

The available-for-free version of StoreVirtual is capped at 1 TB per server, but Degen said up to three servers can be clustered together to effectively create a 3 TB raw storage pool, a size which he said provides “a nice sampler” to get used to ideas like running applications and storage off the same server and get a feel how software-defined storage can be used in their environment. And, of course, when customers grow out of that, there’s a path to upgrade to anywhere from 10 to 50 licenses for VSA, support for up to 32 nodes in management group, with additional support and auto-tiering. But that kind of outgrow-it-and-upgrade-it path isn’t the only way the channel can profit on what is ostensibly a free copy of StoreVirtual.

“Every dollar of SDS drags up to 2.5 dollars of additional server capacity and options,” Degen said. “It’s an opportunity to go in to existing customers, talk about these new servers, talk about the software-defined storage opportunity. It’s a great opportunity to look at the value they can show their customers, add some services, add in additional hardware, and maybe a better SKU on the server side.”

While any server running a compatible server from any vendor will be included, Degen is quick to point out what the company sees as advantages for running StoreVirtual on the latest generation of HP ProLiant servers. Those benefits include intelligent deployment to automate the process of rolling out StoreVirtual.

With the 1 TB per server to a maximum of 3 TB limitation, Degen said the size of deployment possible with the free promotion will satisfy all the needs of just “a small fraction” of customers, whereas for the majority, it will present “an opportunity to dabble in this.”

“This is our way of giving them a no-risk way to do software-defined storage, a safety net of security to help them move themselves into the next era of converged infrastructure,” Degen said. “The more people are comfortable with virtual arrays, the better it is.”