HP Makes Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance More Configurable
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (L) speaks with Meg Whitman, CEO and president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, during a keynote address at the 2013 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

HP Makes Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance More Configurable

Latest ConvergedSystem offers more options for CPU core count and storage capacity

With more IT organizations starting to embrace hyper-converged infrastructure, where compute, storage, and sometimes also networking come as a pre-integrated package, the competition between major server vendors is starting to get fierce. Upping the ante in this category HP today unveiled the ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual (CS 250), an aggressively priced configurable hyper-converged appliance.

High degree of configurability is a big change here. Previously, HP offered hyper-converged appliances that came in configurations that were limited in the number of nodes and storage devices that customers could opt to deploy.

“Before we assumed the customers would want hyper-converged appliances to [come in] pre-defined chunks,” said Rob Strechay, director of product marketing and management for software-defined storage at HP. “Instead, we’ve discovered they want to be able to configure them for themselves.”

The new CS 250 can be configured with up to 96 processing cores, a mix of SSD and SAS disk drives, and up to 2TB of memory per four-node appliance, which is double the density of previous generations of HP’s hyper-converged appliances.

In terms of pricing, HP claims that a three-node configuration of the CS 250 is up to 49 percent more cost effective than comparable configurations from Nutanix, one of the more well-known hyper-converged infrastructure vendors, and other competitors. A three-node CS 250 with Foundation Carepack and VMware vSphere Enterprise starts at a list price of $121,483.

To help drive further adoption, HP is also providing three 4TB StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance licenses that IT organizations can use to replicate data to any other StoreVirtual-based solution at no additional cost, in effect essentially providing free backup for the appliances.

The CS 250 also comes pre-configured for vSphere 5.5 or 6.0 and HP OneView InstantOn to enable customers to be production-ready with only 5 minutes of keyboard time and a total of 15 minutes deployment time, claims HP.

The company is also introducing Software-Defined Storage Design and Integration services to help customers deploy highly scalable, elastic cloud storage services. The integration service provides customers with detailed configuration and implementation guidance tailored to their specific environments.

While not every data center environment is going to embrace hyper-converged appliances that combine servers and storage in one unified platform, Strechay said interest in this approach to IT infrastructure is rising rapidly because it allows IT organizations to reduce their dependency on specialists to manage specific types of IT infrastructure. In their place, IT organizations rely more on IT generalists to manage the infrastructure at higher levels of abstraction using software-defined tools.

The tradeoff is that traditional rack systems enable IT organizations to scale compute and storage independently from one another, which, depending on the nature of application workloads, may prove to be more technically desirable in environments where workloads don’t scale linearly in terms of the compute and storage resources they require.

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