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HPE lobs scale-out storage services into GreenLake subscription vehicle

Hardware biz trying to compete with cloud giants, wants to rid customers of data silos, reduce cost and complexity

HPE is adding storage services to its cloud-like GreenLake subscription-based tech platform, powered by a disaggregated hardware architecture that it says is built to scale up to exabyte capacities if required.

The file, block, disaster recovery, and backup and recovery services HPE is making available via GreenLake are intended to help customers expunge data silos, reduce some cost and complexity in their storage infrastructure, and offer better performance, we're told.

HPE - like myriad legacy hardware vendors - is selling its portfolio as-a-service. The intention with Greenlake is to provide a more cloud-like delivery model, even for on-premises infrastructure, and so these new data services were made to run on a disaggregated hardware architecture, HPE Alletra Storage MP, with customers able to scale and add capacity independently via a cloud-based management console.

The Alletra Storage MP Storage hardware architecture comprises compute nodes, JBOF (just a bunch of flash) nodes, and HPE Aruba 8325 switches.

"Imagine this architecture as Lego-like building blocks which connect on a standard 100Gbit TCP-based NVMe fabric," said Omer Asad, HPE's SVP & GM for Cloud Data Services.

"You can give it a file personality or you can give it a block personality, but it's the same controller that can be configured for performance, or it can be configured for capacity. Both personalities of the boxes are controlled by a single cloud platform," he added.

Those "personalities" refer to the services, GreenLake for Block Storage and GreenLake for File Storage, which run atop Alletra Storage MP.

Customers buy a subscription using a rate card, then the boxes are delivered and deployed as empty hardware and the relevant software and configuration is applied from the cloud, Asad told us.

GreenLake for Block Storage, so the vendor claims, offers heavy duty, or mission-critical storage, at a mid-range price. The software is an updated version of the OS from HPE's Alletra 9000 array that blends the data reduction tech previously found in the Nimble Storage platform, HPE said.

GreenLake for File Storage is designed as a scale-out service for data-intensive workloads. HPE reckons it has a throughput of hundreds of gigabytes per second. It is targeting NFS-based workloads for the data lake processing used in a lot of machine learning frameworks, and based on VAST Data's platform, according to Asad.

The cloud-based management console also supports intent based provisioning, Asad said, which is supposedly context-aware when it comes to optimizing for particular workloads.

"So you can just define your workload as a SQL workload or a file workload and context-based provisioning goes ahead and automatically chooses the system based on the power of AIOps, which we inherited from InfoSight. At the backend, it picks the right cluster, picks the right load, and then goes ahead and deploys your workflow," he said.

The Alletra MP nodes come in a 2U chassis with redundant power that can fit up to 20 NVMe SSDs, with HPE supporting 16TB up to 30TB drives, Asad said. For performance optimization, the nodes scale from eight-core CPUs up to 64-core CPUs to give greater throughput on block and file operations, he added.

In addition to those file and block services, the company is also offering HPE Greenlake for Disaster Recovery and HPE Greenlake for Backup and Recovery.

HPE Backup and Recovery was launched last year, but is now being expanded with VMware backup and is heading into the application space by adding SQL backups to the same environment, Asad said.

HPE Greenlake for Disaster Recovery is based on Zerto technology following HPE's buy of the company for $374 million back in 2021.

"You go to the greenlight console, purchase a subscription, then go ahead and configure your VMware environment and disaster recovery applications. You do not need to babysit your infrastructure, it automatically discovers your source and destination and then configures your disaster recovery policies."

Cisco, Dell, Lenovo and others have all devised as-a-service programs in a bid to play catch up with the public cloud giants that are scooping up enterprise computing contracts. Not every customer wants to buy tech as-a-serivce.

HPE's reseller partners have not necessarily flocked to sell GreenLake, with The Register reporting at the end of 2021, for example, that just 900 of the company's 80,000 channel resellers had got involved, representing just over 1 percent of the total.

HPE told us that GreenLake for Block Storage and Greenlake for File Storage are available to order, depending on region. Greenlake for Backup and Recovery is generally available, while Greenlake for Disaster Recovery will be available to order from June. ®

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