Dan's Take

HP Announces a New Hyperconverged Appliance

It claims to be VMware-friendly from the start.

HP just launched the HP ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual (CS 250), a buzzword-compliant name if I ever read one. HP is targeting midsized and enterprise customers seeking a software-defined storage (SDS) solution for their "on-demand infrastructure and virtual desktop" requirements. The company points out that this product is "business continuity enabled from day one."

Familiar Tools
HP hopes to distinguish this appliance from other competitive solutions by making it capable of being "dropped into" an environment based upon VMware's vSphere 5.5 or 6.0. It also works with HP's OneView for VMware vCenter plug-in. HP claims that this allows IT generalists to monitor and manage it using tools they're already accustomed to.

The company has also included three 4TB StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) licenses, supporting "multi-site business continuity" by replicating data to any other HP StoreVirtual-based solution. HP hasn't specified if this replication capability will interoperate with other replication technology that may be in use in an enterprise datacenter.

The 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 4-node appliance -- double that of previous generations of HP's appliances. Four-node configurations will be available Aug. 17, HP says, while three-node versions will be out Sept. 28.

Recreating the Mainframe
One could reasonably see that this move by HP can be analyzed as just another example of the industry trend to recreate the mainframe using virtualized and highly agile components; the concept of hyperconvergence is based upon moving separate components back into a single enclosure, which previously were sold and supported separately as appliance servers.

Customers have complained that managing a veritable herd of appliances is too complex and too costly, so the industry has started to offer a different way of subdividing mainframe functions and placing them back into a smaller number of cabinets, all manageable as if they were a single entity.

Suppliers, such as HP, have begun to offer intelligent computational/storage systems that can be easily added into the enterprise datacenter and managed using the same tools. Unfortunately for the industry, these vendors are so busy trying to outdo one another that buzzword inflation is the order of the day -- suppliers use terms such as "converged," "hyperconverged" and even "ultra hyperconverged" when describing their products.

Dan's Take: Good for HP Customers, But What About Others?
Furthermore, they often offer products that can be easily managed by their tools, but may not be manageable using other vendors' products.

HP's new product certainly looks like it would be of interest to HP's customer base. Because of its reliance on HP's management tools and VMware virtual machine and management software, it may not be of equal interest to customers using other virtualization technology, or customers of Dell or Lenovo, for example.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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