Flash Wars: Size Matters For HP

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I bet my all-flash storage array is smaller than yours, says HP in storage size contest

Like a band of chest-thumping gorillas in the jungle, today’s all-flash vendors are fighting for a place at the top of the troop. HP is one of these top family members, vying to keep its place in the upper echelons of the flash storage hierarchy.

But the young’uns are coming, with the likes of VC-funded all-flash starters such as Pure Storage and Violin Memory snapping at the heels of the older silverbacks.

So, like all orderly social structures, HP is turning to how well endowed it is in the size department to measure its success and prove it’s bigger than the rest, by being smaller.

Size really DOES matter

HP wheeled out (in slideshow format) its 4TB configured 3PAR all-flash array, and erected it next to all-flash competitors units from Pure Storage and EMC.

“Here’s a visual of a Pure Storage all-flash implementation and an ExtremIO implementation from EMC, and look how the physical footprint looks in comparison,” drummed Chris Johnson, EMEA VP for HP Storage. “Very, very significant data centre space savings. Think about the power and cooling, and that’s flash versus flash. We are way ahead and we’re going to stay way ahead. We have a significant opportunity here to drive the all-flash data centre concept.”

HP
HP shows the physical size comparisons between its 3PAR and rivals

“What HP is doing with the 3PAR architecture is driving down the cost and making flash accessible to everyone. What we have with the 4TB drive and the 8TB drive is a very affordable HP storage environment,” said Johnson.

He likened HP’s 3PAR products to the virtualisation coup VMware brought about last decade, calling HP’s flash advancements a ‘VMware moment’.

“The same thing is happening here, and we are way ahead of our competition in delivering the scale and cost performance of our competitors. The business case is quite phenomenal.”

Indeed, as city centres in places such as London run out of data centre space and energy costs soar, shrinking down storage infrastructure has to be a top priority for vendors and customers alike. So what compromises has HP had to make to whittle down its package to a more humble size? Well unfortunately, Johnson’s answer for TechWeekEurope was a rather confusing spiel of configuration statistics which just seemed to mean that HP’s slideshow was comparing a smaller configuration of its 3PAR unit to larger configurations of its rivals.

But the physical size aspect does raise an interesting selling point. Forget the performance or memory size aspect of all-flash or even hybrid flash, the world is an increasingly busier place and with data centres stacked to capacity in the western world, saving room to be greener and drive down TCO could be just as important to a customer as the speed and functionality of the units.

Take our cloud computing quiz here or leave a comment below telling us what YOU will look for in an all-flash array.


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