How HPE is Giving Legacy Servers New Lease on Life

NEW PRODUCT ANALYSIS: Composable fabric, new cloud storage options and services open doors for updating legacy data center equipment.


If IT companies didn’t “enhance,” “extend” or “expand” their software offerings at least once or twice a year, they wouldn’t be software companies. They’d be out of business.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has followed convention by adding to its core hybrid cloud portfolio with what it calls “improved automation, workload-optimized solutions, and a consistent user-control experience across clouds.” These updates include extending intelligence-driven operations and composability across its portfolio, adding new workload-optimized infrastructure and expanding choice of clouds through partnerships with Google Cloud and Equinix.

The announcements were made last week at the company’s Discover conference in Las Vegas, where its customers gathered to compare experiences, use cases, IT tips and corporate discounts. They probably also hit the shows and casinos.

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Composability is an IT system’s ability to find data resources, the correct networking configuration and compute nodes all in a “just in time” fashion in order to process and complete a workload—usually one with big datasets. HPE developed this as Synergy fabric—a business with a $1 billion upside—and has been offering it as an option for about three years.

“We’re now enabling people to compose their workloads across the board, from any location, and thanks to (expanded deals with) Google Cloud and Equinix, users can move their data across clouds without egress fees,” Paul Miller, Vice-President of Global Marketing for HPE’s Software-Defined and Cloud Group, told eWEEK.

Forget the Data Egress Fees

Ask any storage administrator or CFO about egress fees. They’re not cheap, and they're certainly not popular.

Of course, this is all about the data center foundation, HPE’s ProLiant servers—the horses that power all this data center magic. Without these specific servers, none of this works, even though users can make choices as to what clouds to use (such as Google Cloud Platform, Equinix or another) and what physical storage to deploy (HPE brands or VMware).

What’s good news for longtime HPE customers is that they ostensibly can revitalize older ProLiants and make them perform faster using this new composable software fabric. CFOs will smile at not having to buy new servers for an upgrade.

“What we’re doing is ‘modularizing’ the composable solution package,” HPE Director of Software-Defined and Cloud Group Marketing Lauren Whitehouse told eWEEK. “We can actually help our customers turn their existing ProLiant servers into composable infrastructure. With our rack-scale ProLiants, we can add on the composable fabric using Plexxi technology that enables software-defined networking, together with the automation and auto-discovery that goes with it, to help with the fabric.

“Our OneView enabler for composable environments is included, and the storage layer includes VMware vSAN and HPE Simplivity. HPE Nimble and 3PAR can also be used.”

Broadening HPE’s Composable Portfolio

HPE introduced composable infrastructure three years ago and claims substantial growth with its flagship HPE Synergy offering—78% year-over-year revenue improvement and more than 3,000 customers. HPE says its composable infrastructure provides a consistent operating model for virtualized, containerized and bare-metal applications, enabling users to compose fluid pools of compute, storage and networking with their choice of software stacks.

HPE has augmented its composable offering to enable enterprises to transform existing HPE ProLiant DL 380/360/560 Gen10 rack-based servers into composable infrastructure to deliver automated deployment, scale and management for any type of workload. It’s all about the software fabric, a layer that speeds up everything.

In addition to providing users the ability to deploy their choice of HPE physical storage or VMware vSAN software-defined storage, HPE’s composable offering now supports HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Using SimpliVity, customers can deploy a pool of HCI nodes alone or alongside other storage, benefiting from always-on deduplication and compression inside the platform.

Expanding HCI

HPE also said it is integrating its InfoSight AI operations into SimpliVity to simplify virtual machine management. Together, HPE said, SimpliVity and InfoSight offer global visibility into detailed system, performance and capacity utilization—enabling predictive data analytics and recommendations for system and performance optimization.

The announcement included several enhancements for edge and remote office use cases in HPE SimpliVity servers, including:

  • the new SimpliVity 325, designed for remote offices or space-constrained locations and providing a highly dense, scalable 1U enclosure with an AMD EPYC single CPU processor and all-flash storage;
  • the new SimpliVity 380 storage-optimized node, that provides long-term storage with a large-capacity system to centrally aggregate copies from multi-site SimpliVity implementations; and
  • automated configuration of Aruba switches during deployment of new SimpliVity HCI nodes.

For enterprises with more demanding applications, such as database and data warehouse applications, HPE introduced Nimble Storage dHCI, a disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure (dHCI) platform that brings hyperconverged performance into the flexibility of a converged system. The new package integrates hyperconverged control with the self-management ability of Nimble Storage and ProLiant.

Choice of Hybrid Clouds

HPE and Google Cloud have expanded their strategic partnership to offer the first true hybrid cloud for containers, the company said. Enterprises running containers on premises on ProLiant and Nimble storage can use HPE Cloud Volumes with Google Cloud’s Anthos to support key use cases, such as hybrid CI/CD and hybrid disaster recovery.

Anthos is Google’s new (introduced in April) platform for managing applications in multi-cloud environments.

HPE said it alone offers differentiated advisory and implementation services for Anthos. With HPE GreenLake, a group of services outlining best practices in consumption models, users can take advantage of consulting services for help in defining container-based architectures and accelerating time-to-value, as well as a pay-per-use option for consuming IT.

As part of an ongoing collaboration between HPE and Equinix, users deploying Equinix colocation facilities and seeking cloud-based test and development, backup and recovery or disaster-recovery capabilities, will be able to transact in the Equinix Marketplace to get Data as a Service based on HPE Cloud Volumes. HPE Cloud Volumes will be available over high-speed connectivity to compute in Equinix colocation centers, the company said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...