HPE unveils high-density SimpliVity HCI solution for space-constrained environments

The HPE SimplVity 2600, which is the first SimpliVity that is entirely software-optimized, is being pitched at the VDI market to start, but the company thinks its flexibility will eventually take it beyond that.

HPE has complemented its SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] portfolio with the addition of the HPE SimpliVity 2600. It differs from the existing HPE SimpliVity 380 in both its intended use case and its design. The SimpliVity 2600 is intended to be used in environments where space is at a premium or expensive, like smaller retail shops, or colocation sites. The design is also different, as the SimpliVity 2600, unlike the 380, is entirely software-optimized, because this helps save space.

“With the HPE SimpliVity 2600, we are expanding our underlying hardware platform to add a new version of SimpliVity that is optimized for space-constrained environments,” said Thomas Goepel, Director of Product Management for Hyperconverged Systems and Solutions at HPE. The SimpliVity 2600 is based on our high-density Apollo 2000, and has a 2U enclosure with up to four compute modules. These are desirable in edge environments like the oil and gas industry, where the product has to fit on a platform, or smaller retail establishments or state, local or education environments which typically have a closet for any physical IT rather than a data centre. They are also ideal in data centre environments where you pay for data centre space by rack unit, like in a colo or hosted situation.”

Goepel said that the customers told them that the SimpliVity 380 just wasn’t a good fit in these environments.

“Customers said that they loved it, but that it was a big 2U, and they asked us for something that would fit in a smaller space. We didn’t have a solution for that, and this fills that the gap.”

Unlike the SimpliVity 380, the 2600 is also fully software-optimized.

“This is our first version that’s 100 per cent software-optimized, so that it offers the same dedupe and compression capabilities through software,” Goepel said. “We used the software here, because the dense form factor doesn’t allow us to put in a physical hardware acceleration card.” Going forward, he indicated that as the portfolio expands, both hardware and software-optimized platforms would be offered, with the determining factor being the use case of the device and whether the platform is very dense or very small.  He indicated that while software gives more flexibility, HPE doesn’t make the software the default standard because the hardware is slightly superior in some respects.

“The hardware acceleration cards give excellent performance and efficiency, although we have gotten very close to the hardware results with this software platform,” Goepel noted.

HPE is positioning the SimpliVity 2600 out of the gate as a VDI offering. To that end, the SimpliVity 2600 has been validated by Login VSI, which tests and benchmarks major hardware and software vendors in the VDI space, joining the SimpliVity 380 as a validated solution. Longer-term, HPE plans to move the SimpliVity portfolio beyond that

“This is a really good VDI solution for space-constrained environments, but we won’t want to restrict it to that forever.” Goepel said. “We will do other things as we move forward.”

SimpliVity was primarily SMB-focused when HPE acquired it in 2017, and its core positioning is still in the SMB and mid-market.

“The SMB and midmarket is where it brings a lot of strength, and we continue to drive a lot of attention and success there, but we also have moved increasingly into the enterprise, at the departmental level,” Goepel stated.

The HPE SimpliVity 2600 will be available this month.