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HPE launches flash, SMB storage updates

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) rolled out a new 3PAR flash pricing initiative and StoreEasy file storage enhancements as part of a late-year rush of storage product releases.

HPE last week disclosed that its $779 million in storage revenue was down 5% on a year-over-year basis for the fiscal fourth quarter, ending on Oct. 31. That was HPE’s fourth fiscal quarter. For the full fiscal 2016, HPE storage revenue of $3.065 billion decreased 4% over last year’s $3.18 billion.

This week, HPE unveiled a 3PAR Flash Now initiative that it claims will allow customers to buy on-premises all-flash 3PAR StorServe at 3 cents per usable GB per month after data reduction. Program incentives include deferred payments until a customer’s all-flash array is up and running and automated data migration tools at no cost.

HPE also updated its StoreFabric Fibre Channel (FC) networking portfolio to the latest 32-Gigabit per second technology. The new 32-Gbps FC director and fixed-port switches and extension blades are based on technology from Brocade. HPE Smart SAN technology enables automated orchestration from 3PAR StoreServ flash storage arrays and can significantly reduce provisioning time, according to HPE.

HPE storage updates for SMBs
In December, HPE will make available upgraded StoreEasy network-attached file storage products for SMBs. New configurations of HPE StoreEasy support Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2016 Standard Edition, the latest Intel Xeon E5 v4 processors and higher speed DDR-2400 memory.

“Our focus is to make on-premise and hybrid cloud file storage even easier for small and mid-sized businesses, and with more cost predictability than public cloud solutions,” said Stephen Bacon, director of product management for HPE network-attached and software-defined storage.

Bacon said the jump from Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 to Windows Storage Server 2016 brings enhancements such as finer-grained deduplication and compression for larger files and file systems, hardened security against man-in-the-middle attacks, and improved performance for data-in-flight encryption.

StoreEasy customers have the option to use Microsoft Azure as an off-site backup target thanks to native Microsoft integration. Microsoft Data Protection Manager customers can also use StoreEasy as an on-premises backup target for Microsoft applications, virtual machines and client PCs, according to HPE.

The 2U StoreEasy NAS appliance will give customers the option of using new 10 TB hard disk drive (HDD) bundles to boost density by 25%. The HPE StoreEasy 1650 Expanded model will be able to scale to 280 TB raw capacity compared to the previous limit of 224 TB with 8 TB drives. Customers also will retain previously available drive options, including small-form-factor enterprise SAS drives, large-form-factor near-line drives and solid-state drives (SSDs).

Two key HPE storage management tools for the StoreEasy line are also getting updates. Bacon said HPE dramatically simplified its StoreEasy Pool Manager provisioning tool to enable customers with limited IT expertise to maximize capacity or performance, or strike a balance between the two, based on updated best practices.

“The person who’s provisioning it doesn’t need to know about RAID levels and different drive types and so on. For them, the experience is: Do they want to optimize their storage layout for capacity, for performance, or a balance of both?” Bacon said.

HPE is also updating its StoreEasy Dashboard monitoring tool to trigger low-capacity notifications for both customers and partners. Bacon said the partners receive information on the recommended drive bundle based on the customer’s configuration.

“With this [StoreEasy] makeover, we really thought through the capacity lifecycle for a system and, at each point, have made enhancements to make life easier for our customers and for our partners who are assisting those customers,” Bacon said.

HPE promotes its entry StoreEasy NAS at under $15,000, and Bacon said pricing has not materially changed with the update. Existing HPE StoreEasy customers running Windows Storage Server 2012 or 2012 R2 can purchase an upgrade kit for $700.