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HPE expands Alletra with focused storage servers
HPE released new storage servers for container and software-defined storage with the Alletra 4000. The new servers bring high compute with new Intel CPUs in a denser package.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has expanded its Alletra portfolio to now include data storage servers in an effort to help customers process and analyze data faster.
The HPE Alletra 4000 series uses 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, bringing more compute and storage closer to workloads for greater efficiency in moving data between processing and storage environments. The new 4000 series introduces the first storage server to HPE's Alletra line of storage products. Along with the new CPUs, the servers come in a 1U form factor all-flash model or a 2U hybrid storage model, with PCIe 5.0 support.
The servers can be accessed through HPE GreenLake, an edge-to-cloud platform that's managed as a service. The Alletra 4000 can also be managed with HPE GreenLake for Compute Ops Management, a console for server management, and gives users a cloudlike UI experience and a family of REST APIs for operations management.
The Alletra 4000's target market is containerized workloads, according to Steve McDowell, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. Workloads like these benefit from high-performance storage and close-by compute, he said.
Steve McDowellSenior analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy
"The [HPE Alletra 4000] is the marriage of relatively performant compute with onboard storage," he said.
Customers using containers and microservices are looking for such a marriage, McDowell said.
Specific focus on storage
General-purpose storage didn't process data fast for use cases such as real-time data processing, video surveillance, medical imaging and data lakes, and the company decided to fill what it saw as a gap with the Alletra 4000 series, said Stephen Bacon, senior director of the big data category at HPE.
The decision to focus on data storage servers might be useful for HPE, according to McDowell. Compared with storage arrays, the storage server market is small -- particularly for on-premises options, where there is demand, he said. Right now, many IT shops build their own storage servers, adding software packages to all-NVMe servers, for instance.
HPE has been in the storage server market for years with its Apollo 4000 servers. Now, the Alletra 4000 series will be its new storage server offering going forward, McDowell said.
Apollo begets Alletra
With the Alletra 4000, HPE is shifting one data storage server product line into another, according to Dave Raffo, an analyst at Evaluator Group.
"This is a rebranding of the HPE Apollo 4000 [server platform]," Raffo said. The Apollo 4000 server series launched in 2015, adding high-density storage servers for the high-performance computing and big data analytics customers that benefited from storage and compute residing on the same hardware.
Alletra, too, emerged from older HPE storage offerings -- Primera and Nimble, Raffo said. Bringing support for the new Intel Xeon Scalable processors and moving Apollo 4000 under the Alletra umbrella shows that HPE is continuing to expand the Alletra storage portfolio.
McDowell said there are a few key differences between the Alletra 4000 series and the Apollo line aside from the new CPUs. HPE is taking previous storage technology and combining it with Ezmeral, its integrated Kubernetes platform.
"Adopting all-NVMe and the new Xeon processors is a huge performance bump all by itself," he said.
HPE has increased the performance in a 1U form factor by using Enterprise and Data Center Standard Form Factor (EDSFF) SSDs, McDowell said. This brings all-NVMe and PCIe 5.0 for faster speeds, but the newer form factors do this in less space.
Security and economics
The Alletra 4000 appliances come with updated security, including new HPE Integrated Lights Out remote management software and hardware root of trust that protects firmware. The servers have physical bezel locks, logical configuration locks, a secure boot and erase feature, and Federal Information Processing Standards 140-2 encryption for U.S. government work and self-encrypting drives, according to HPE.
Both new server models come with the option of PCIe 5.0 SSDs in either 2.5-inch form factor or EDSFF. And both come with a maximum DDR5 memory configuration of 6 TB.
Customers can purchase the HPE Alletra 4000 through GreenLake, where prices vary depending on the customer contract, or as standalone servers, where prices range from $15,000 to $30,000, according to the vendor.
"Where [the HPE Alletra 4000 storage server] will really shine is in GreenLake as a service," McDowell said.
Users care more about meeting service-level agreements than about specific hardware, and the Alletra 4000 series expands GreenLake options to fit customer needs, he said.
Offering the Alletra 4000 appliances through GreenLake enables customers to have their primary storage on a different, more economical storage product than purchasing an appliance outright for a specific use case, Raffo said.
"[The Alletra 4000] wouldn't be your only storage unless you're a shop that only does application development," he said.
The way HPE positions the Alletra 4000 puts it in competition with other server vendors with similar offerings such as Dell PowerEdge or Cisco UCS, Raffo said.
Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.