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HPE StoreVirtual entry-level arrays get makeover, price cut

HPE StoreVirtual and MSA entry-level storage have new flash and hybrid models with lower prices as the vendor tries to expand its footprint outside of its enterprise 3PAR storage.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is refreshing its two entry-level storage systems, lowering the price while adding availability and software features.

HPE today launched the StoreVirtual 3200 and MSA 2042, both available with hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs) or with a mixture in hybrid configurations. Starting prices for the all-HDD versions are $6,055 for the HPE StoreVirtual 3200 and $9,877 for the MSA 2042.

The HPE StoreVirtual 3200 is the latest iteration of the platform developed with technology Hewlett Packard acquired from LeftHand Storage in 2008.

The HPE StoreVirtual 3200 is a dual-controller system that supports up to six HDDs or SSDs. The 3200 is the first dual-controller StoreVirtual system and the starting price is about half of that of its predecessor, the single-controller StoreVirtual 4000.

The starting price includes no flash, but customers can upgrade a system by adding up to three flash or HDD enclosures. StoreVirtual Migration Manager allows StoreVirtual 4000 customers to move workloads non-disruptively to 3200 systems.

The 3200 is based on 64-bit ARM processor technology and has a new user interface. The system's software handles snapshots, thin provisioning and replication.

The time is ripe to make traction in entry-level storage. The space is changing with hyper-converged, the cloud and virtual SANs. We're managing every use case now.
Vish Mulchandsenior director of product management and marketing, HPE Storage

HPE StoreVirtual is also available as a software-only virtual array that runs inside of VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. It can also be used with HPE ProLiant servers inside HPE Hyper Converged 380 appliances.

The StoreVirtual 3200 is outfitted for scale-up architecture that expands capacity by adding enclosures. Evaluator Group Inc. analyst Russ Fellows said the next step for StoreVirtual will be for HPE to include scale-out architecture now that it uses two controllers. That would allow customers to cluster resources when they add systems. But Fellows said many SMBs that adopt HPE StoreVirtual arrays probably will not demand scale-out yet.

"Right now it's not scale out, but that's probably not an issue for true SMBs," he said. "Not many SMBs want to buy two, three or four systems and pool them for shared workloads. They probably have highly segmented workloads."

The MSA platform is developed by Seagate's Dot Hill storage division and sold by HPE through an OEM deal. The 2042 can include one or two 400GB SSDs to use as a read cache or performance tier for read and write acceleration. The MSA 2042's software handles flash acceleration, automated tiering and data protection. It supports 512 array snapshots and remote replication between other MSA arrays. With the 2042, HPE is bundling the MSA software at no extra cost for the first time.

Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management and marketing at HPE Storage, said the MSA is designed for larger and more demanding workloads than StoreVirtual. The MSA is mostly used for transactional databases while StoreVirtual's target workloads are email, Microsoft applications, small databases, and file and print servers. MSA and StoreVirtual support Fibre Channel and iSCSI, although StoreVirtual started as iSCSI-only and most of its customers still use that protocol.

The new HPE systems compete with entry-level storage such as Dell PowerVault MD, Dell EqualLogic PS, EMC VNXe and Unity, IBM Storwize v5010, NetApp FAS2500 and Nimble Storage CS300.

Mulchand claims entry-level storage is gaining in importance. He said customers are looking to take advantage of new technologies that are finding their way downstream.

"The time is ripe to make traction in entry-level storage," Mulchand said. "The space is changing with hyper-converged, the cloud and virtual SANs. We're managing every use case now."

Some of those new technologies may replace entry-level storage, though. For example, the StoreVirtual and MSA systems can also overlap with hyper-converged appliances, including HPE's Hyper Converged 380.

Mulchand said hyper-converged systems are usually adopted by virtual administrators while StoreVirtual and MSA systems are used by traditional storage admins.

Fellows said a recent Evaluator Group study on hyper-converged adoption found a lot of interest in it, but buyers are still "dipping their toes in the water. Hyper-convergence makes sense for a remote office or SMB that runs virtual workloads and wants one simple user interface. But it makes less sense for other market segments. You pay a premium for hyper-converged. Another problem is that amortization schedules are different. Storage with flash can last five years while server technology improves a lot after three years. If you want to go to new servers, you can't get rid of the storage in there when it's all bundled together."

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