HPE redefines its mission-critical storage with new high -end Primera with InfoSight

HPE Primera becomes the company's new high end storage product, but the company says that their other higher-end products will continue to be produced.

HPE Primera

LAS VEGAS – Today at HPE Discover, HPE is announcing a new platform that they say redefines their mission-critical storage. HPE Primera leverages AI from HPE InfoSight to provide a product that the company will lead with in Tier 0 opportunities. At the same time, the company says that it’s existing higher end products, 3 PAR and even Storageworks XP, continue to have value, and will remain in the portfolio.

“This is a very historic day.” said Milan Shetti, SVP and General Manager, HPE Storage. “It is grounded by a simple philosophy –  that intelligence changes everything. Learning from your surroundings lets you deliver better experiences. We want to organize the complex and unpredictable workloads of the world using intelligence. That is what we are looking to do. That is what we stand for in HPE storage.”

HPE InfoSight is not the only part of the story here, but it is a key point. HPE acquired this AI and machine learning platform with Nimble Storage, and has been extending it to their other storage platforms. The InfoSight technology has analyzed application patterns across 1,250 trillion data points over the last decade

“The global Intelligence powered by HPE Infosight is our differentiation,” Shetti said. “We can figure out what has happened to the workload, where it should be, in the right place at the right time. That is all powered by HPE InfoSight.”

“Infosight has saved us as least six times from what would have been a pretty large outage for a company our size,” said Stefan Floyhar, Director IT infrastructure at the Ferrara Candy company.

Sandeep Singh, VP Storage Marketing at HPE, provided additional detail on the Primera platform.

“What if you could get both agility and resilience with a storage system that could manage itself – combining the intelligence of Insight with the heritage of mission-critical storage from 3PAR,” he asked rhetorically. “HPE Primera is the world’s most intelligent storage for mission-critical applications.  It ends this compromise between resilience and agility.”

SIngh also emphasised that Primera will deliver a much simpler user experience.

“It’s a consumer grade experience with up to 93 per cent time savngs,” he said. That includes being able to install it in less than 20 minutes, to provision it in seconds and to upgrade it non-disruptively in five minutes.

“Data services can be deployed and restarted independently, so customers can self-upgrade within 5 minutes,” Singh indicated.

The solution has four distinct core areas.

“The global intelligence is the backbone of the intelligent data platform,” Singh said. “Here, Primera leverages that and for the first time takes models trained in the cloud and embeds them in the storage system. That provides real-time analytics that allows monitoring of workloads in real time.

The second component is the all-active architecture.

“This architecture is both massively multi-node and massively parallel,” Singh indicated. This will significantly accelerate applications, including what HPE says is 122 per cent faster Oracle performance.

The third element is the services-centric OS.

“It allows data services can be deployed and restarted independently, and is what allows customers to self upgrade within five minutes,” Singh said.

The fourth component is what HPE calls Timeless Storage, which provides for a non-disruptive controller refresh, all-inclusive software, and storage guarantees for data reduction and availability.

“Timeless Storage transforms the ownership experience with no forklift upgrades,” Singh noted.

HPE is also emphasizing that while the InfoSight Technology is key, the 3PAR technology HPE acquired earlier also plays a key role in driving Primera innovation.

“A lot of the mission-critical technology, like the multi-node architecture and the all-active capacity and the cornerstone of the 100 per cent guarantee come from 3PAR,” said Omer Asad, VP and GM of HPE Nimble and 3PAR. In addition, InfoSight itself is near-real time, but we want to react in real time, and embedding it in the Primera OS allows us to do that.”

HPE also says that its existing storage brands will continue despite Primera’s entry into the market.

“This doesn’t mean the end of life for 3PAR,” Asad said “Primera redefines the mission-critical experience, but 3PAR has loads of customers, and we will continue to build and sell it for years to come. In Tier 0 opportunities though, we will lead with Primera.”

“Primera complements our existing portfolio,” said Phil Davis, President of Hybrid IT and Chief Sales Officer at HPE. “There will be some overlap in the portfolio. The way we think about it, Nimble is an outstanding general purpose array for midmarket storage. HP Cloud Volumes lets you run workloads live in the public cloud. 3PAR will continue to be the midrange enterprise class workhorse. The way to think about Primera in the early going is mission-critical – the area above 3PAR where we guarantee 100% uptime.”

Davis said that 3PAR still retains value for the service it provides at a specific price point.

“3PAR won’t become obsolete because there’s a difference price point,” he said. “3PAR is 6 9s uptime, which is pretty good but it’s not 100 per cent. It also takes several hours to set up, not 20 minutes, like Primera.

HPE has also been selling HP Storageworks XP, which OEMs the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform in the high end, and apparently that relationship will continue as well.

“There are a set of partners who just love it,” Singh said. “At the same time, demands for mission critical applications are changing and that’s where Primera becomes the platform of choice going forward.”

“Primera is a nice high-end storage platform,” said Steve McDowell, Moor Insights & Strategy’s senior analyst covering storage technologies. “There’s no doubt that it will help HPE better compete against Dell’s PowerMax and Pure’s FlashArray.  Primera doesn’t redefine high-end storage, but it does give HPE some advantages.

“Primera is, at its heart, an extension of 3PAR,” McDowell stated. “Its software stack is derived from 3PAR. Its ASIC is derived from 3PAR’s ASIC.  At the same time, HPE has changed the software in substantial ways. They’re using containers to partition data services, for example.  Primera also has increased support for multi-tenancy.

“Deviating from 3PAR branding gives HPE permission to take the technology into legacy-breaking dimensions. I expect the split in functionality between Primera and 3PAR will only grow over time. They’re just getting started with the new platform, which may well lead them to new high-end storage models.

“3PAR will exist for as long as there’s a substantial legacy base, and HPE won’t slow down investment there anytime soon,” McDowell concluded. “At the same time, HPE’s sales motions will rightly focus on the new platform.”

HPE Primera will be available to be ordered in August 2019.