HPE adds new orchestration software, smaller model to Ethernet M-Series storage switches

The HPE Smart Fabric Orchestrator provides the same capabilities for Ethernet that HP’s Smart SAN does for Fibre Channel, while the new M-Series SN2010M is a smaller switch for the secondary storage market.

The HPE SN2010M StorFabric M-Series switch

Last fall, Hewlett Packard Enterprise unveiled a new fruit from their partnership with Mellanox, the HPE StoreFabric M-Series switches. These switches leverage the Mellanox Ethernet Storage Fabric to provide 25, 50, and 100 Gb/s Ethernet connectivity in storage environments. Today, they are making two major announcements that extend the M-Series. First, they are announcing a software component, the HPE Smart Fabric Orchestrator. Secondly, they are announcing a smaller and more energy-efficient version of the switch designed as an optimally-priced solution for the strong demand in secondary storage environments.

“Last September, when we released the base product line of the M-Series from Mellanox, that was the hardware side of it,” said Marty Lans, General Manager, Storage Connectivity Engineering & Global Interoperability Business Unit at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The Smart Fabric Orchestrator is the software side of it.”

The Smart Fabric Orchestrator adds orchestration automation capabilities to the M-Switch line. It lets storage admins zone and provision storage in a few clicks without the risk of error, while also automatically orchestrating fabric services. It will let both partners and customers orchestrate and monitor multi-protocol fabrics end-to-end to increase fabric uptime, resiliency and predictability.

“It automates and orchestrates all the storage capabilities that are required in the fabric,” Lans said. “Self-healing and predictive diagnostics are also fully automated in the software.”

The Smart Fabric Orchestrator provides the same capabilities for Ethernet switches that HPE Smart SAN does for Fibre Channel.

“We saw a big opportunity in automating for Ethernet like we had already done for Fibre Channel,” Lans indicated. “A big chunk of our customers want this.”

The original M-Series Switches have been widely used in HPE’s 3PAR, Nimble and SimpliVity offerings, as well as in HPE Complete solutions from Cohesity, Cloudian, Hedvig, Qumulo, Rubrik and Scality.

“Originally, we envisioned the M-Series switches as being predominantly for primary storage, particularly 3PAR and Nimble,” Lans said. “However, since we introduced them, we have found that 80 per cent of the action is in secondary storage – all these appliance architectures. Customers are making big investments in those portfolios.”

The HPE SN2010M StorFabric M-Series switch is specifically optimized for those environments. It is a ½ rack TOR switch with 18 ports of 1/10/25GbE and 4 ports of 40/100GbE in each, enabling full redundancy in 1RU. Breakout cables enable users to expand 1X100GbE port to 4X10GbE or 4X25GbE.

“It is a very cost-effective channel-friendly box, which is very inexpensive and high-powered,” Lans said. “The line starts at a list price under $10,000.

“The low cost of the 2010 allows for a dedicated Ethernet fabric for the secondary storage market,” Lans added. “We envision this as the cost-effective solution for that.”

The sub $10k model, he HPE SN2010M, is a 25GbE 18SFP+ 4QSFP28 Half-Width Switch with a $USD 9985 list. It is also the only member of the family that is not shipping today, and is scheduled for launch in August. The other eight models, which run from $11,595 to $23,995, are all shipping now.