Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today became the latest entrant in a hyperconverged appliance category that largely exists thanks to the rise of software-defined infrastructure.
Aimed at the midmarket, the Hyper Converged 380 (HC 380) platform combines compute and storage in a single offering that is intended to not only be simpler to manage, but also to increase overall application performance by bring data closer to the system’s core processor.
The HC 380, based on an existing HPE Proliant DL380 server, combines HP investments in compute, storage, and IT management in a single platform that is part of a larger HPE effort to deliver truly “composable” infrastructure, says Paul Miller, the company’s vice president of marketing for converged data center infrastructure.
“The HC 380 is built around a data fabric that we’ve developed,” Miller says. “The data fabric makes use of investments in our server platform, StoreVirtual storage, and HP OneView software.”
Miller says the primary goal is to reduce both IT capital and operational expenses by making it easier to acquire an integrated server that enables virtual machines to be deployed in 15 minutes. After that, he claims, it only takes another five minutes to provision additional capacity whenever needed. In addition, HPE has included analytics tools that help reduce virtual machine sprawl as much as 50 percent, according to Miller.
HPE declined to reveal pricing for the HC 380, a platform that is arguably late to market. The overall hyperconverged appliance category is dominated by Nutanix. While there are multiple classes of servers, Gartner predicts that by 2019 hyperconverged systems will be a $5 billion market, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 68 percent.
Jean Bozman, a principal analyst with the Hurwitz Group, says that, thanks to the rise of advanced analytics applications, much of the interest in hyperconvergence is being driven by the need to bring data closer to the CPU.
“In some way it’s a classic computer science problem,” says Bozman. “Now the data doesn’t have to be a hop away across a network.”
Like Nutanix, HPE has opted to not include a networking component in its hyperconverged appliance, in deference to the fact that some IT organizations will prefer to acquire network infrastructure separately. In contrast, Cisco, which entered this category earlier this month, and Pure Storage, which entered the category yesterday, are including integrated networking components.
Meanwhile, VCE, a unit of EMC, has announced a hyperconverged appliance that plugs into Cisco networking gear, while last week Lenovo announced that the hyperconverged appliances it resells can be plugged into equipment from Juniper Networks.
Colm Keegan, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), says any IT organization’s approach to hyperconvergence will depend heavily on how much of a commitment there is to the network infrastructure investments in place.
“There are two different schools of thought,” says Keegan. “Some will want all the components integrated. Others will want to use any network. But ultimately, it’s all going to be software-defined.”