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HP adds StoreVirtual, EVO: RAIL hyper-converged appliances

HP rolled out three hyper-converged appliances aimed at the SMB market, including a box that conforms to VMware EVO: RAIL specs.

HP is the latest major storage vendor to dive into the hyper-convergence appliance market. HP this week disclosed plans to launch two hyper-converged systems based on its StoreVirtual software and another that uses VMware's EVO: RAIL.

HP ConvergedSystem (CS) 200-HC platform combines compute, storage and management tools with integrated support for VMware vSphere 5. The CS 240-HC and CS 242-HC StoreVirtual appliances use all HP technology, and the CS 200-HC EVO: RAIL combines a VMware software stack with HP hardware. The StoreVirtual HC systems are expected to ship in December, with the VMware-based CS 200 set for release in early 2015.

The CS 240-HC and 242-HC StoreVirtual appliances consist of HP ProLiant SL2500 servers with four nodes configured in a 2U chassis, HP StoreVirtual VSA software and the HP OneView InstantOn utility. OneView InstantOn lets customers deploy and manage virtual machines directly within the vSphere hypervisor.

The CS 200-HC EVO: RAIL also uses ProLiant servers, but the software is VMware's vSphere, Virtual SAN (VSAN), vCenter Realize Log Insight and the EVO: RAIL engine.

ConvergedSystem models target capacity, performance

HP positions the CS StoreVirtual series as a building block for midsize organizations looking to optimize scale-out storage for virtualized workloads. The systems scale to a maximum of 32 nodes with associated storage and compute power. The EVO: RAIL engine starts with one four-node appliance and can grow to four appliances of 16 nodes.

The entry-level CS 240-HC StoreVirtual is a capacity model that contains slots for 24 1.2 TB SAS drives. It can support 64 CPU cores and 512 GB of RAM. The CS 242-HC can hold 16 SAS drives and eight solid-state drives, 80 CPU cores and 1 TB of RAM. The 242-HC is geared toward organizations that need high-performance hybrid storage.

Node connectivity is provided through Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and 10 GbE network ports for both the 240 and 242 models.

"We've been hearing from customers that they want more choice and flexibility. They are looking for a hyper-converged storage box that an IT generalist or cloud administrator can set up in a matter of minutes," said Rob Strechay, an HP director of marketing for software-defined storage products.

Strechay added that HP's new platform offers advanced data services, including the ability to replicate data between different hyper-converged systems for disaster recovery and failover.

Strechay said the StoreVirtual platform will be hypervisor-agnostic, with support planned for HC StoreVirtual systems running Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM hypervisors.

VMware EVO: RAIL enables hardware vendors to design hyper-converged appliances that run its VSAN software-defined storage. HP was originally uncertain about the idea of VSAN-powered hyper-converged systems but has joined the crowd.

"We're one of VMware's largest OEM partners so it made sense to go with EVO: RAIL. We know some customers want a VMware-only stack and our goal is to be there for them," said Jeff Carlat, director of product management for HP's converged system group.

Big vendors jump in hyper-convergence market

HP continues a trend of legacy hardware vendors rolling out hyper-convergence products, either directly or through reseller agreements. In recent months, Dell struck a deal with Nutanix to sell hyper-converged storage on its PowerEdge servers, and it will ship two versions of EVO: RAIL systems -- a Virtual Infrastructure Edition and a VMware Horizon View Edition.

At VMworld in Barcelona this week, Hitachi Data Systems said it would add EVO: RAIL to its United Compute Platform. EMC has also signed on as a VMware OEM partner for EVO: RAIL.

Cisco Systems and SimpliVity Inc. have unveiled reference architectures for bundling SimpliVity storage on Cisco Unified Computing System 240 servers.

As a supplier of storage, servers, software and services, HP is in a strong position to capitalize on the push toward hyper-convergence, said Arun Taneja, a consulting analyst at The Taneja Group Inc.

"It's no surprise that HP is doing a StoreVirtual VSA hyper-converged appliance. What we didn't know was whether it was going to do a VMware version of the platform, but even that isn't much of a surprise. HP reps now can offer customers two options: one based on its StoreVirtual VSA storage engine, the other based on VSAN. HP wins regardless," Taneja said.

Next Steps

EVO: RAIL gets attention at VMworld 2014

VMware's EVO: RAIL compared to other hyper-converged products

Dig Deeper on Hyper-Converged Vendors and Products

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