HPE unveils new StoreVirtual, MSA entry level storage arrays

HPE’s strategy with its new offerings is to offer strong featured hybrid-flash and software-defined offerings to the entry level at a sub-$10k price where they haven’t played before.


The HPE StoreVirtual 3200

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced new software-defined (StoreVirtual) and hybrid-flash(MSA) storage offerings designed for the entry level (sub-$25,000) market. The new platforms hit sub-$10,000 price points. They also offer significant features and services for their space.

“What we are hearing in talking with partners is that the sub $25k entry level market wants hot technologies, especially flash,” said Brad Parks, Director, GTM Strategy and Enablement, HPE Storage. “Several years ago we moved 3PAR technology from the high end to the mid range. Now there’s an opportunity to take some of the higher price band technology and bring it into the entry segment.”

HPE says that the entry-level market – a mix of SMBs and ROBO deployments – has been priced out of modern technologies like flash and software-defined storage. While some such products for the low end are on the market, they are typically far from feature-rich. The idea with these new products is to both hit very low price points, while also providing high end features.

“The HPE StoreVirtual 3200 Storage system takes a technology based that has been around for close to a decade since LeftHand days, and for the first time positions it at the entry market,” Parks said. “The StoreVirtual 4000 hasn’t been accessible at the SMB price point.”

HPE moves the technology downmarket by packaging it in the dual-controller scale-up system based on 64-bit ARM technology.

“This is new for StoreVirtual, which has a scale-out architecture,” Parks said. “We have taken its OS, the same technology base, and paired it with this dual-controller system, and that gets us to a $USD 6,000 starting street price. That comes with advanced storage data services like snapshots, thin provisioning and replication.

Parks said that the 3200’s architecture is much better geared to the way SMBs expand their arrays.

“If you built a two-node StoreVirtual 4330 configuration, you buy capacity in a building block, buying fixed chunks,” he said. “That makes it easy to scale, but building blocks are expensive. The 3200 lets you scale up with pairs of drives instead of shelves of drives, As a result, scalability is much more granular.”

Parks said the limitations of scale-up compared to scale-out don’t apply in the SMB space.

“The StoreVirtual 4000 models are scale out, so you can go well beyond two nodes – but that’s for midrange storage clusters,” he said. “For SMBs, an eight-node cluster is beyond what they need. Tiering is also optional, so if you don’t need it, you don’t have to pay for it. That gets us into that aggressive price point.”

The HPE StoreVirtual 3200 uses the same intuitive design framework, drawn from the HP 3PAR StoreServ Management Console, which is now common across HPE’s enterprise storage and data centre offerings.

“This gives it a refreshed management look and feel, so it is similar to other parts of HPE portfolio,” Parks said. This includes a new remote, cloud-based analytics capability featuring a built-in best practices engine and capacity planning tools.

“We’ve seen in the mid-range a great desire to tap into phone-home information about systems,” he added. “We have a tool here that lets partners and customers tap in and get a dashboard view with health information, patching information, what tickets are open, and when the system will run out of capacity. The last one is especially interesting for partners. It lets their customers get ahead of planning capacity, and gives the partner a way to engage with the account.”

MSA2042 SFF array_ side view

The HPE MSA 2042

The HPE MSA 2042 is a hybrid flash version of HPE’s flagship MSA 2400 entry array, which adds 800 GB of SSD capacity. It features flash acceleration, automated tiering and data protection as standard features.

“I love marketing the MSA because it is the number one entry SAN platform in the world,” Parks said. “It is proven technology that fits a very defined need with a lot of bang for not a lot of buck. What we are doing here is doubling down on this – building on that base as the leading entry level platform in the industry. We are now including 800 GB of flash and all the software to take advantage of it, to provide snapshotting, replication, and sub-LUN tiering.”

Parks said that the MSA platform has supported flash before – but not at the same prices as the MSA 2042.

“MSA has supported it before, but when the SSDs and software were added in, the cost was well over $10k. Now we have brought this to a much lower price point.” Pricing for the MSA 2042 starts at $USD 9,877.

HPE is citing the MSA 2042 as delivering up to 60 per cent increase in database transactions per second and 80 per cent faster application response times, at a 54 percent cost savings, compared to the MSA 2040.

“The management is also the same as the 2040, where the design criteria has always been to make it very, very simple,” Parks said. “The engine that does the auto-tiering is ‘set it and forget it.’ The engine does everything around analyzing which volumes are hit, and makes all the right decisions about which to apply flash to. It requires no administrator management to do this.”

Parks said HPE has done a lot of work in the last couple months with distributors and solution provider partners to get ready for this launch.

“Loads of training and content are already available,” he said. “We are working with many of them on demo units, and partners should follow up with their HPE rep or distributor for these demo units to take advantage of this transition to flash down in the entry space.”

HPE StoreVirtual 3200 storage systems are available now, with street pricing starting at $USD 6,055.

HPE MSA 2042 storage systems are available now, with street pricing starting at $USD 9,877.