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HPE expands Alletra with lower prices and more options

HPE added the hybrid Alletra 5000 to its block storage portfolio and GreenLake, giving customers more capacity and more consumption options while lowering costs.

HPE has expanded its block storage line, adding a new hybrid array aimed at customers that don't have the highest performance needs and are trying to lower costs.

The new HPE Alletra 5000 array uses both flash and spinning disks for general-purpose and secondary storage workloads or use cases where high-performance isn't a requirement. Customers can purchase the Alletra 5000 as a standalone array in the $25K to $50K range or consumed as-a-service through HPE GreenLake.

The HPE Alletra 5000 builds off 3PAR/Primera and Nimble, according to Dave Raffo, an analyst at Evaluator Group. While those two were all-flash, the hybrid Alletra 5000 expands capacity and lowers costs.

"Nimble storage has been around and was good before HPE acquired them," Raffo said. "Choosing to build this array off of Nimble is choosing to build off a proven technology."

What's under the hood

According to HPE, the Alletra 5000 can house up to 21 HDDs and up to 6 SSDs, for a total capacity of 294 TB. The array supports up to six additional enclosures, bringing total raw, uncompressed capacity up to 1.2 PB, according to Sandeep Singh, vice president of product management for data infrastructure at HPE.

Even though the Alletra 5000 is hybrid, it comes with all the data reduction benefits offered by HPE, including variable block, deduplication and compression, Singh said. As a result, effective capacity can be much higher.

HPE Alletra appliance
The HPE Alletra 5000 is a hybrid model that offers cost-efficient capacity and more STaaS options in GreenLake.

Many organizations go the all-flash route to ensure they have enough performance for their applications, according to Scott Sinclair, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a division of TechTarget. Even with the price of flash declining, however, it may make sense for organizations that don't need flash to consider other options.

"There are still gains to be had within a hybrid [storage] environment," he said. "There is still a demand for hybrid storage."

The 5000 has triple-parity RAID and redundant storage controllers to offer high availability. The new array model is built on Nimble innovations that are still paying dividends, such as a high level of simplicity, Singh said.

As with the rest of the Alletra line, the 5000 brings with it a cloud operational model, he said.

Built for cloud

Users manage the Alletra 5000 through HPE Cloud Console or HPE GreenLake, Singh said. It uses InfoSight for AI-based analytics that can also optimize setup of both hardware and use cases. This level of AIOps provided by InfoSight, managing hardware and predicting and correcting issues, shifts the operations to be app-centric, making the infrastructure invisible.

"InfoSight can look at all HPE systems, all the customer systems in the world, and better form algorithms and come up with better best practices for customers around improving performance or capacity utilization," Raffo said.

Sinclair believes Nimble brought a lot of value to the table in both hardware and software, but InfoSight really made Nimble stand out.

"InfoSight was, in my opinion, one of the true game changers of how they came in and built the environment and in terms of how it helps serve users' environments," he said. "It is great to see HPE continue to support and innovate around InfoSight in the Alletra brand."

This level of technology has gone from higher enterprise use cases to more entry-level in the Alletra 5000 that is now a part of GreenLake, Sinclair said.

Expanding GreenLake

While the Alletra 5000, as an appliance or part of storage-as-a-service, can be another option for customers to lower costs of storage, they may not even know what type of storage is underneath with GreenLake, Raffo said.

Nimble storage has been around and was good before HPE acquired them. Choosing to build [the Alletra 5000] off of Nimble is choosing to build off a proven technology.
Dave RaffoAnalyst, Evaluator Group

"As a part of GreenLake, customers will say they need low- to medium-performing storage with enough capacity, and it could be the new Alletra," he said.

The addition of the Alletra 5000 gives customers a lower-price entry for their block storage-as-a-service while increasing options overall, Singh said. The customers will still see all their SLAs met without worrying about what array they should choose.

The Alletra would compete against any midrange, hybrid storage array, Raffo said. It would stack up against something like Dell's Unity XT. If used in GreenLake, HPE would be pitting its storage-as-a-service against a similar model, such as Dell's Apex Flex on Demand or Pure Storage's Evergreen//Flex.

At the June 2022 HPE Discover, the vendor announced it has achieved its goal of delivering everything-as-a-service, but customers need different consumption methods for their storage, Sinclair said.

"Different organizations can adopt different things at different times," he said. "Not everybody is ready for GreenLake right away. So it is good to have options."

Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.

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