HPE Puts Heat On Unix Workstations, Four Socket Servers With New Superdome Flex In Memory Database Platform


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Hewlett Packard Enterprise Monday unveiled a new Superdome Flex product that is aimed squarely at displacing both Unix workstations and four socket servers running memory intensive database applications.

The Intel Skylake Xeon based product brings the price point of high performance compute in memory database technology in the Unix workstation market down by a whopping 50- 75 percent, said HPE Vice President and General Manager Synergy and Mission Critical Servers Randy Meyer. That is going to take a bite out of workstation based systems that were running Oracle Solaris or even HP's  own HP-UX Unix offering, he said.

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"This is taking costs down in that Unix environment by orders of magnitude," said Meyer.  "You can be very aggressive in a Unix environment with that kind of pricing. You are seeing massive amounts of costs being taken out because you are moving to standard operating systems and software with Intel Xeon versus custom silicon RISC chips. This is a chance for us to go really full on in the midmarket."

Meyer did not have specific pricing on the new systems but he conceded that it would be possible for complex database applications that would have previously cost $1 million to come in as low as $250,000.

That new price point puts both Unix workstations that were running compute intensive database applications and even four socket servers into the Superdome Flex line of fire.

The price performance breakthrough for the first time puts Superdome Flex into the heart of the midmarket where customers previously would not have even considered an in memory SAP HANA, Oracle Database or even a Microsoft SQL server system because of the once high price tag associated with such technology. "Solution providers can now deliver a high end mission critical availability experience to customers running these database applications at an Intel price point," Meyer said.

The biggest game changer is in the four socket server market where customers running HANA, Oracle or SQL server can now get mission critical availability starting with a two or four terabyte data set, said Meyer. "This opens up a tremendous amount of midsized customers to this technology and if they double that data set in a year they don't have to change their architecture," he said.
The price performance breakthrough that HPE is bringing to market puts the Superdome Flex into an in memory battle against the likes of Intel based four socket offerings from the likes of Dell EMC and Lenovo.

"We are landing  right on top of those four socket systems with the same Intel CPU and memory, but you get all the resilence and scale of Superdome," said Meyer. "If you buy a standard four socket that is as big as you are going to get. If you want to do anything more you have to cluster them. With Superdome you get the Intel price performance curve with a data center resilence environment."

The Superdome Flex move into the heart of the four socket server market increases the total addressable market (TAM)  for the Superdome  by a mind boggling 10 to 20 times, said Meyer. "This database server market overall is about $6 to $8 billion," he said. "Easily half of that is addressable with this product. There is a huge opportunity. It's a multi-billion dollar TAM."

HPE has already been working with Microsoft to target smaller mission critical SQL Server databases, said Meyer. "That is going to be a real growth area for us," said Meyer.
The Superdome Flex product marks the the first time that HPE has combined the robust SGI high performance modular compute NUMAlink technology that is got when it acquired SGI one year ago for $275 million with the breakthrough price performance of the x86 Intel Xeon platform. Before now, the NUMAlink technology was available only in a high performance niche with custom code and analytics.

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