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The Hewlett Packard Enterprise ConvergedSystem product category consists of five flavors that encompass hyper-converged, mixed workload, cloud, client virtualization and big data systems. HPE hyper-converged appliances work for SMBs looking to establish a hyper-converged infrastructure, and for large enterprises seeking to introduce hyper-convergence in new deployments.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) makes its own hardware for all its system offerings, including the various elements of the ConvergedSystem families.
HPE offers ConvergedSystem in a variety of sizes and configurations, from simple, snap-together appliances for SMBs and branch offices to complex virtual infrastructures at a global level. The company aims its hyper-converged appliances at IT generalists charged with providing low-to-medium scale virtualization for servers and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with the necessary storage and networking support. HPE's appliances work with both VMware and Hyper-V, and HPE's sales and support teams will help customers choose and configure systems with as few as two nodes (the minimum basic setup), which can be delivered with preintegrated software like VMware vSphere or Microsoft Cloud Platform Center and HPE OneView for either platform.
Simplicity and complexity
There are a number of hyper-converged appliances from HPE, some of which have different versions that support different environments. Within those versions, there are many different configurations based on a customer's storage and memory needs. With hundreds of options to choose from within five different product flavors under the ConvergedSystem product category, customers need to understand their proposed workloads and usage scenarios.
The HPE ConvergedSystem 700 is HPE's mixed workload hyper-converged appliance. The mixed workload option enhances a company's virtualization, cloud and VDI performance.
HPE ConvergedSystem for Cloud lets customers access secure cloud services through a fully integrated private cloud. Through this option, the aforementioned hyper-converged appliances (HPE 700, 380 and 250), along with a Microsoft Azure stack appliance, are cloud-enabled.
For businesses looking to mobilize their workforce and increase efficiency, HPE offers the HPE ConvergedSystem for virtualization. This branch of product touts three hyper-converged appliances: HPE Moonshot for hosted desktops, HPE Client Virtualization for Citrix XenDesktop for enterprises in that particular environment and HPE ProLiant WS400c Graphics Server Blades for enterprises that require higher graphical performance.
ConvergedSystem for Big Data is aimed at businesses with big data assets. It provides many configurations for SAP HANA and a ConvergedSystem 300 hyper-converged appliance for the Microsoft Analytics platform.
Potential customers can work with HPE sales professionals or channel partners to choose the product family that best fits their needs.
Although the overall HPE ConvergedSystem product category is indeed complex, understanding it is not an insurmountable obstacle. The company does a good job of providing information and examples to help prospective customers understand the offerings.
For each product family, HPE offers building blocks that range from individual hyper-converged appliances to entire racks of gear. Choosing elements for specific business scenarios involves selecting specific processor configurations, adding RAM and selecting from among a variety of solid-state and conventional storage offerings. HPE's flexibility permits customers to obtain compute, storage and networking capability in whatever amounts or proportions may be needed.
Hyper Converged 250 comes in two versions. A VMware-focused hyper-converged appliance is a two- or four-node system with up to 512 GB of memory and a maximum of 7.2 TB of capacity storage per node. The Microsoft Cloud Platform version is a three- or four-node system with the same amount of memory as its VMware counterpart and up to 10.8 TB of storage.
Hyper Converged 380 is a two-node starter kit with up to 1,536 GB of memory. Storage options run from 3.5 TB to 40.2 TB.
Hyper Converged 700 single-rack and multi-rack options have two different versions, one for Citrix XenDesktop environments and one for VMware Horizon environments, and have three different networking options (segregated, converged and Cisco).
As seen with Hyper Converged 250, HPE's tight relationships with Microsoft and VMware have enabled it to field joint engineering efforts to build kernel mode drivers for hypervisors from both vendors, and to take full advantage of Windows OSes across the board.
Pricing and licensing
HPE does not discuss pricing except with customers deciding on specific configurations to meet current and planned hyper-converged workloads. Contact an HPE sales representative for more information.
HPE fields a world-class global support organization available with four support service portfolios for varying budgets and support models. Of the four options, HPE Foundation Care is the most relevant for server, storage and networking support.
HPE Foundation Care has five levels of service. The Call to Repair Service offers 24/7 service (even on holidays) with a six-hour call to repair time; hardware is operational within six hours of the call and software is operational within two hours.
The Foundation Care 24x7 Service offers four-hour response times for hardware and two-hour for software.
The Next Business Day Service provides customers with on-site response on the next business day between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday.
There are two exchange support services for networking products. The HPE Foundation Care 4-Hour Exchange Service is available 24/7 and provides a networking component exchange within four hours of the case being opened. The Next Business Day Exchange Service provides an exchange of the networking component the next business day after the call is opened. Both services offer networking software support.
On top of supporting its own servers, storage and networking products, HPE provides support for third-party software for leading x86 operating systems, including major hypervisors and server OSes.
Special features and capabilities
Amidst its five product families, those that go beyond the basic appliances in the ConvergedSystem family include special offerings for workload-optimized systems for mixed workloads, entire cloud systems for private or public clouds and special purpose systems for VDI designed to scale up to hundreds of thousands of users. Their big data system offerings include a variety of packages for SAP HANA, Microsoft Analytics, plus a variety of big data reference architectures for Apache Hadoop.
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