HP's 3Par 7200 All-Flash Array Starter Kit
HP's 3Par 7200 All-Flash Array Starter Kit

LONDON – For enterprises considering a move away from legacy on-premises storage solutions to cloud storage, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) says it has a new offering that can offer the best of both worlds.

A new HPE 3PAR Flash Now initiative¬†is offering pricing on HP’s all-flash storage platform starting at $0.03 per usable gigabyte (GB) per month. That’s “a fraction of the cost of public cloud solutions,” HPE says in a press release issued Monday. It goes on to pitch the on-premises infrastructure as “less than half the cost of public cloud” and providing “the best of on-premises performance, application availability, and control with the convenience and agility of public cloud consumption models.”

HPE 3PAR flash-array
HPE 3PAR All-Flash Array.

Storage has been one of the lower hanging clouds to jump onto for firms still hesitant to move from on-premises models, because the lower pricing and scalable flexibility provided by the services has been hard to beat. Typically, hosting similar scales of storage in an owned data centre would require a high upfront cost, and that stiff capital investment is exactly what IT departments want to avoid. With HPE’s Flash Now, firms can have the on-premises storage and pay for it from the operational budget, amortizing the costs of installation.

Already making use of 3PAR All-Flash storage arrays, senior director of IT for SOCAN Trevor Jackson says the Flash Now model is interesting and he’d look into it as an option to stack on new storage as he needs it.

“Eight months from now we might need to double our capacity,” he says. “What I like about 3PAR is that it can scale.”

SOCAN became an All-Flash array user more than two years ago. Responsible for tracking the broadcast of copyrighted music works across Canada, Jackson’s department has been receiving reports from a growing number of digital services over the past six years, including Spotify, Youtube, Google Play, etc.

“Because the peformance of the All-Flash array is so great, as we add more services to what we do on a daily basis, it’s able to keep up with that demand,” Jackson says. “You can imagine, some of the top Youtube artists get millions of plays for just one video. When you add multiple artists to that, you’re talking about billions of plays. Sifting through all that data is the challenge.”

While the overriding narrative in the IT industry for the last two years has been about designing a hybrid approach that inevitably makes use of the public cloud for some services, HPE may have given its customers another option, says Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Price competitiveness has been the main drive to public cloud,” he says. “If HP matches public cloud pricing and provides financing as stated, they have a way for customers to have another option in their overall IT strategy.”

At a few pennies per GB, HPE is at the same rate as storage on public cloud options, Wang says, but will offer lower long-term costs as a result of the extra inbound and outbound fees that public cloud services incur.

A comparison of Amazon S3 Standard, Microsoft Azure Blob ZRS, and Google Cloud Storage by Cloudberry Lab - April 2016.
A comparison of Amazon S3 Standard, Microsoft Azure Blob ZRS, and Google Cloud Storage by Cloudberry Lab – April 2016.

Beyond costs, HPE will be able to target companies with high compliance requirements to keep data stored within their own confines. In many cases, businesses are avoiding cloud storage that will see data go outside of their national jurisdictions voluntarily.

“It comes as no surprise HP is announcing this in Europe, where data privacy and residency concerns are most pronounced,” says Holger Mueller, analyst with Constellation Research. “So for a number of next-gen apps that can stay on-premises, this will be attractive.”

HPE 3PAR Flash Now comes with some other frills beyond an Op-Ex pricing model, in the form of HPE Flexible Capacity and Pre-Provisioning. To help customers support the Flash arrays with appropriate networking infrastructure, HPE has updated its StoreFabric 32GB Fibre Channel portfolio to include a Smart SAN technology to automate orchestration from the 3PAR StorServ arrays.

Jackson says he’d recommend 3PAR’s All-Flash arrays that are struggling with storage as a bottleneck.

“If you’re in an environment with a lot of transactions or data processing, let’s face it, disc has been the bottle neck in the compute chain,” the IT director says. “Then it makes sense to move to Flash.”

HPE says its Flash Now service is available worldwide as of today.



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