Like it tried at EMC World in May, it looks like HP is looking to do another preemptive strike at this week’s VMworld 2014. The world’s largest IT vendor has decided to push the software-defined data center agenda of storage arch-rival EMC’s virtualization sidekick, as well as OpenStack cloud integration, and an entry-level all-flash array. The intent is to help relieve the pressure IT departments and service providers are under to deliver rapid business value with fewer resources, which it said is fueling the growth of cloud computing and a move to the SDDC.
“Software defined data center needs new ways to handle data protection,” Craig Nunes, VP of Marketing, HP Storage, told IT Trends & Analysis. “We believe we’ve got some very unique offers for our customers.”
HP’s announcements included: StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) as a fully integrated storage option for HP Helion OpenStack and HP Helion OpenStack Community Edition; enhancements to StoreVirtual Storage hypervisor integration; new StoreOnce VSA license that cuts backup costs by 86% for small and remote sites; the 3PAR StoreServ 7200 All-Flash Starter Kit; and, HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage continues to collaborate with VMware on their planned Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture.
Despite the explosive ongoing growth in the amount of data to be stored, it’s been a tough period for the storage industry, with external disk storage systems factory revenues down 5.2% year over year to US$5.6 billion during the first quarter of 2014, and total (internal plus external) revenue ($7.3 billion) decreasing 6.9% YoY and 17% sequentially. In the total worldwide disk storage systems market, EMC finished in the top position (22.4%), followed by HP (15.1).
“The poor results of the first quarter were driven by several factors, the most important of which was a -25% decline in high-end storage spending,” said Eric Sheppard, Research Director, IDC Storage. “Other important contributors to the market decline include the mainstream adoption of storage optimization technologies, a general trend towards keeping systems longer, economic uncertainty, and the ability of customers to address capacity needs on a micro and short-term basis through public cloud offerings.”
EMC held on to its leadership position, but saw its external disk storage revenue dip slightly YoY from 30.2% to 29.1%. HP, IBM, and Hitachi finished in a statistical tie for the third position with shares of 8.8%, 8.8% and 8.7% respectively, behind second-place NetApp (15.1%).
The storage picture was a lot murkier for HP following last week’s Q3 earnings data. “Storage revenue declined 4% year-over-year,” said President and CEO Meg Whitman during the analysts’ call. “However, converged storage was up 9% while traditional storage declined 14%. 3PAR returned to double digit growth, and we continue to gain share in the mid-range. As the market shift increasingly from high end to mid-range, it is pressuring overall market growth but I believe this plays into a sweet spot for HP, which bodes well for us in the long term.”
In June HP enhanced its all-flash 3PAR StoreServ 7450 Storage array ($14,315 per drive), adding: hardware-accelerated, inline primary deduplication; thin cloning software; Express Indexing; and new 1.92TB commercial multi-level cell (cMLC) solid state drives (SSDs). It also introduced the Get 6-Nines Guarantee, which commits to 99.9999% storage uptime, as well as a five-year warranty on HP 3PAR StoreServ SSDs.
Analyst George Crump, Storage Switzerland, called the 7450’s $2 per GB (usable) “an impressive price point considering this product is from a name brand, tier-1 storage vendor. Combine that price point with 3PAR’s rich history of data services and you have a compelling all-flash array.”
Starting at $35,000, the entry-level 3PAR StoreServ 7200 All-Flash Starter Kit will provide SDDC customers with the benefit from all-flash performance at half the cost of competing entry-level all-flash arrays. HP also announced that StoreServ continues to collaborate with VMware on their planned Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture.
Getting the flash cost down to $2/Gb is a significant achievement that should help drive this market, said Nunes. If the costs of flash are the same as spinning disk, who would not go flash, he asked. “We’re talking about mainstream replacing high speed disk… with flash…”
Flash is growing exponentially in the data center, making it very attractive in a storage market experiencing flat or declining revenue growth. “Flash is the new normal,” said Howard Marks, founder and chief scientist at DeepStorage, a storage consulting firm. He said 80% of storage systems being shipped by major vendors such as EMC, IBM, HP or Dell contain some flash technology along with traditional hard disk drive (HDD) storage.
“Flash is moving from tactical to strategic. If it’s going to be strategic, it’s got to be big enough that I can put the majority of my applications on it.”
According to IDC, the all-flash storage array market will be worth $1.2 billion by 2015, while Gartner expects it to be worth $4 billion by 2015. While there has been impressive growth in this segment – the all-flash array segment is growing ten times faster (close to 60% CAGR) than the overall enterprise storage market – it’s still only a fraction of the computer storage market worth $65 billion.
HP has been at this long enough and has a more complete software defined storage portfolio than anybody else, said Nunes. We’ve been out there longer, with more deployments in more markets, small, medium and large businesses and service providers, he added.
“We’re more about the answers for our customers than raising the number one flag. At the end of the day this stuff can solve really troubling problems…”
The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)
The HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) is a fully integrated storage option for HP Helion OpenStack and HP Helion OpenStack Community Edition. It now supports Linux Kernel–based Virtual Machine (KVM) as well as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. To automate cloud services management, HP StoreVirtual Storage—including both VSA and physical appliances—features an updated Cinder interface to support OpenStack orchestration, plus a full set of RESTful APIs.
StoreVirtual customers (both VSA and physical appliances) can get immediate, granular visibility into performance, capacity, and system health with the StoreFront Analytics Pack for VMware vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS). It is available now for $200 per HP StoreVirtual cluster.
To be available at the end of September, the 3PAR StoreServ 7200 All-Flash Starter Kit, starting price of $35,000, complements the $2 per usable gigabyte price of the larger HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 All-Flash Array. It scales from 7 TB to 690 TB of usable flash capacity via hardware-assisted 3PAR Thin Deduplication and Thin Clones software.
HP StoreFront Manager for Microsoft plug-in will be available in a future release.
4TB HP StoreOnce VSA is available today for $1,400 US list price.