HP Intros New StoreVirtual-Based Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday expanded its hyper-converged infrastructure lineup with the addition of a new model based on the company's StoreVirtual software-defined storage technology to target enterprise deployments and provide a connection to the cloud.

The new HP ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual combines HP's latest Gen9 ProLiant server hardware with its long- established StoreVirtual technology to provide cloud connectivity and disaster recovery solutions its hyper-converged infrastructure competitors cannot match, said Rob Strechay, HP's director of product marketing and management for software-defined storage and hyper-converged infrastructure.

The introduction of the HP ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual, also known as the CS 250, comes just weeks after HP stopped offering another hyper-converged appliance, the HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC EVO:RAIL, based on the EVO:RAIL software stack from partner VMware.

[Related: HP's Dual Hyper-Converged Strategy: StoreVirtual VSA, VMware EVO: RAIL]

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Strechay confirmed reports that HP had discontinued the EVO:RAIL version of the appliance, but declined to state whether HP had actually sold any or why the line was discontinued.

However, he told CRN, HP has had success with previous models featuring the StoreVirtual software. The ConvergedSystem line competes with hyper-converged infrastructure appliances from such vendors as San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix and Westborough, Mass.-based SimpliVity.

The new CS 250 is based on the new ProLiant Apollo 2000 server line, which was released in June, featuring the Intel Haswell processor, Strechay said. It is available in a three-node or four-node version, and includes three 4-TB StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance licenses.

Including StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance licenses with the hardware appliance is a key differentiator, Strechay said.

"The VSAs can work an any VMware-based cluster in the world for replication for disaster-recovery purposes," he said. "The competition typically needs an extra hardware appliance for replication. We allow software-only replication. This is great for VARs who have experience with multiple sites and disaster recovery."

Strechay also said other differentiators include the ability to scale storage capacity independent of compute for increased customer flexibility, and the inclusion of VSA licenses for the HP Helion OpenStack-based cloud.

The CS 250 is preconfigured for use with VMware vSphere 5.5 or vSphere 6.0 and the HP OneView InstantOn software. Strechay said this lets the solution be production-ready within 15 minutes and allows management from VMware vCenter via HP OneView.

While the CS 250 is currently sold for use in VMware environments, StoreVirtual runs in VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM environments, Strechay said. "So you can extrapolate that, in the future, there will be other flavors," he said.

The CS 250 shows that HP is maturing as a hyper-converged infrastructure developer, said Dan Molina, chief technology officer of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"I've been waiting for the CS 250," Molina told CRN. "The previous CS 242 had really decent performance, and supported a good number of applications. But I wasn't pleased that it wasn't based on the new Gen9 server platform. Now it is. The Gen9 ProLiants offer much better performance and more connectivity."

Another key difference between the CS 250 and earlier models is the fact that the CS 250 will be available in a three-node version, whereas the earlier models were available only in four-node configurations, Molina said.

"For customers who like hyper-converged infrastructure but have limited budgets, they will consider the three-node configuration to get started," he said. "This makes their projects more affordable from the start. Also, as a solution provider, I need to provide customers with choice."

The investment protection offered by the CS 250 is also important, Molina said. The CS 250 can be plugged into clusters featuring the previous CS 240 and CS 242 solutions. "Customers can add the new model to their clusters without a forklift upgrade," he said.

The 4-node CS 250-HC StoreVirtual is available on August 17th while 3-node configurations are available on September 28th. A sample solution price inclusive of the 4-node CS 250 with Foundation Carepack and VMware vSphere Enterprise starts at a list price of $156,457. A sample solution price inclusive of the 3-node CS250 with Foundation Carepack and VMware vSphere Enterprise starts at a list price of $121,483

The HP ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual will be available via the Nitro program, under which HP and distribution partner Arrow Electronics are partnering to provide HP's StoreVirtual technology to both HP and non-HP solution providers.