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HPE's GreenLake for Block Storage goes GA

The third version of HPE block storage on the Alletra MP brings higher capacity and performance as well as an easier way for customers to scale out as needs change.

HPE's new version of its block storage built on HPE Alletra Storage MP is now generally available. The third release allows for more cost-effective scaling and higher performance while continuing to consolidate storage on a common software and hardware stack.

HPE's GreenLake for Block Storage includes multi-node switched appliances to separate compute from storage, which disaggregates scaling up from scaling out. The latest release has twice the performance, 2.5 times more capacity of up to 2.8 PB with all the expansions over version 2. As before, HPE Block storage has 100% availability.

Expanding capacity and performance expands HPE customer pool for its GreenLake base, a cloud-like consumption model that offers managed services and infrastructure as a service, and its Alletra Storage MP, a storage array that supports multiple protocols and was released in April 2023, according to Steve McDowell, founder and analyst at NAND Research.

"[With] 2.8 petabytes, that allows for [HPE] to take care of data lakes and the high end of the enterprise," he said.

HPE GreenLake for Block Storage version 3 competes with other block storage vendors that offer managed services, such as Pure Storage Pure1 or NetApp Keystone.

The benefits are in the GreenLake

HPE's GreenLake for Block Storage version 3 was first introduced in November. This new version offers more than increased capacity, which can scale separately by adding just a bunch of flashes (JBOFs) or together through additional units. It also offers an increase in performance.

The new HPE Alletra Storage MP models come with either 2- or 4-controller nodes with the latter providing twice the performance. The block storage also supports NVMe/TCP network connection, which lowers latency on existing Ethernet connections, according to the vendor. The new release delivers new AIOps capabilities of HPE InfoSight that include performance reporting and troubleshooting. For storage, there are new capacity management reporting to administrators for insights and planning.

Listed benefits aside, the more important thing for customers to consider is how this works with HPE GreenLake, according to Scott Sinclair, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. While disaggregated, scale out storage is more common in unstructured storage, such as network attached storage. But it is more difficult to engineer with block storage. As a managed service, GreenLake does that for customers.

"What HPE is doing is giving you a very flexible, very scalable infrastructure," he said. "As your needs grow, HPE can scale to them easily and cost effectively."

What HPE is doing is giving you a very flexible, very scalable infrastructure. As your needs grow, [HPE] can scale to them easily and cost effectively.
Scott SinclairAnalyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

With legacy storage area network (SAN) devices, when customers need more storage, they could add a JBOF, Sinclair said. When they need more performance, they could add another controller node in a disaggregated setup or rip and replace the existing SAN for a larger one. Now customers can replace one piece at a time, avoiding a generational migration project.

For GreenLake, this is an evolution of HPE's strategy, McDowell said.

"This is bringing a cloud-like storage architecture to GreenLake," he said.

With GreenLake, HPE is less focused on diversified hardware, and more focused on scaling the performance and density of existing hardware to meet customer needs and deliver infrastructure as a dependable service, McDowell said.

Software-defined on a common hardware

HPE GreenLake for Block Storage is built on its Alletra MP, a unified storage array that lets HPE simplify its supply chain and consolidate, Sinclair said. While consolidation in a data center tends to focus on merging workloads onto a single device, HPE is focused on something else.

"Instead, this is consolidation from an inventory and spares standpoint," he said.

Because the Alletra MP supports both block and file formats, HPE can build and deliver a single array that serves multiple purposes. This is a way to deliver infrastructure faster to customers as there are not different arrays requiring different parts having to be made on demand, according to Sinclair.

Block storage and the Alletra MP is sold as an appliance, but all the work on scaling would fall on the customer's IT staff, Sinclair said.

"The demands on storage admins is so great," he said. "The more mundane tasks you can offload to the vendor, the better off you are."

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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