HP Bundles StoreVirtual VSA With ProLiant Gen8 Servers For Free In SMB Play

HP ProLiant DL380 Gen. 8 server

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday said it is bundling for free a version of its HP StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) with its HP ProLiant Gen8 as a way to introduce SMB customers to the benefits of software-defined storage.

The HP StoreVirtual VSA license bundled with new HP ProLiant Gen8 (generation 8) servers lets customers install a virtual storage appliance with up to 1 TB of capacity on the servers for no charge, said Dave Scott, senior vice president and general manager for HP storage.

The license also allows up to three ProLiant Gen8 servers to be clustered together for a resilient software-defined storage platform with up to 3 TB of capacity, Scott said.

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"We expect over 1 million ProLiant Gen8 servers to be sold over the next year, resulting in customers adding about 1 exabyte of software-defined storage capacity," Scott said.

The free license will give SMBs the opportunity to both leverage the virtualization capabilities of the HP ProLiant Gen8 servers and to test the concept of software-defined storage, which Scott said turns industry-standard servers from any vendor into a shared storage solution just by installing software.

The bundle seems like a pretty smart move, said Rich Baldwin, CIO and chief strategy officer at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and longtime HP partner.

"Everybody is hearing about software-defined storage, but HP can deliver it right now," Baldwin said.

Once SMB customers try the HP StoreVirtual VSA, the vendor probably expects a lot of them to purchase licenses for larger implementations, Baldwin said.

"This is a great way to get started," he said. "When customers see how well it works, they will buy more. For the SMB market, it's a great strategy."

Nth Generation currently sells both the HP StoreVirtual VSA and the P4000 physical appliance based on that software, and Baldwin said bundling the free version of the software is good news.

"The smaller customers we work with have 20, 30 or 40 terabytes of capacity," he said. "The 1 terabyte of capacity included with the bundle gives them a taste only of what they can do. So I see more opportunities to boost sales at the entry level."

NEXT: 1 TB StoreVirtual VSA Now, Room To Grow In The Future

For SMBs, the new bundle is a low-cost way to build resilient storage infrastructures, Scott said.

"Server virtualization has a lot of value, but it means customers are putting more eggs in one basket," he said. "So they need a resilient infrastructure to prevent problems. For the enterprise, they can do it with a resilient storage system like 3PAR. But it's a challenge for SMBs. SMBs often can't afford it, and they often don't have all the necessary IT skills."

The ProLiant Gen8 server and HP StoreVirtual VSA bundle provides room for customers and their solution providers to grow, Scott said.

It works with both VMware and Microsoft virtualization technology, with support for KVM and other hypervisors slated for the near future, he said. Furthermore, the virtual storage appliances run in a virtual machine alongside other virtual machines running a variety of other applications, he said.

Customers also can purchase licenses for larger implementations of the HP StoreVirtual VSA and get a seamless upgrade without the need to migrate data, he said.

When asked about HP's predictions about how many HP ProLiant Gen8 customers will adopt the company's software-defined storage technology and purchase larger licenses for the software, Dale Degen, category manager for HP's software-defined storage programs, said prediction is a difficult thing to do.

"We tend to stay away from predictions," Degen said. "But the StoreVirtual VSA is attractive. It's a low-cost way to try it out, and extremely inexpensive to scale. So we expect a significant expansion of licensing of the technology."

Scott said HP is now the only vendor to deliver software-defined storage as a free component of a server purchase. VMware is talking about bringing in its VSA software-defined storage later this year," he said. "We've been out with StoreVirtual for five years, and have delivered 175,000 licenses so far. It's well-proven in the field."

Customers looking to upgrade their HP StoreVirtual VSA have several options starting with a license bundle that includes three 4-TB licenses for $3,000, including three years of support, Scott said.