Surprise! HPE says nothing about ProLiant server hardware for SimpliVity OmniCubes

HCIA startup denied the full makeover for now

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Servers, 20th February 2017 12:39 GMT

Analysis HPE has closed its SimpliVity acquisition and publicised software porting and migration plans but hasn't said anything about SimpliVity hardware moving to a ProLiant server base.

The second-largest hyperconverged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) startup was bought for $650m, and so SimpliVity's hardware added to HPE's two-horse hardware product set – the HC 250 and HC 380 – both being ProLiant-based boxes.

The HC 250 is an Apollo 2000-based box with four server sleds, which supports both vSphere and Microsoft's Hyper-V. The HC 380 uses ProLiant DL380 server hardware and only supports vSphere.

SimpliVity has its OmniStack software, which is available for server vendors such as Cisco, Dell, Huawei, and Lenovo servers. OmniStack supports a multitude of hypervisors – vSphere, Hyper-V, Red Hat JVM and Citrix – which is good news for HPE's selling efforts.

It also has its x86-based OmniCube HW, which scales up to a 32-node cluster. This hardware is used by, among many others, the Red Bull F1 Grand Prix team. There are five boxes:

These products use an FPGA for data reduction.

SimpliVity OmniCubes. Surely there will be a bezel change.

A blog post by HPE's Ric Lewis, SVP and GM for its Software-Defined and Cloud Group, says SimpliVity's products are a boon for HPE hyperconverged system customers. They bring:

He says there will be no immediate changes for existing SimpliVity customers. Then, in the near future, "HPE will offer the SimpliVity OmniStack software qualified for ProLiant DL380 servers. Customers may order this new offering today with a targeted delivery date in May."

Also, the SimpliVity product range will get HPE's automation and cloud management software.

OK, that's easy-peasy to do. What else?

Existing SimpliVity customers and partners will have HPE working "with you to migrate to our new offerings at your own pace". For existing HPE customers and partners "we will continue to offer our existing hyperconverged products, the HC 380 and the HC 250, and provide a pathway to the SimpliVity based-offerings".

"A pathway", meaning a migration to SimpliVity hardware, although that is not spelled out. It also implies that the HC 250 and HC 380 are going away, although that's not spelled out either. There's another implication here, that HPE's LeftHand Networks-originated StoreVirtual VSA (virtual SAN software) doesn't have a mainstream role anymore. OmniStack rules, OK!

In the second half of this year, "we plan to bring the best of HPE and SimpliVity together, providing customers game-changing innovations like 'workspace' controls, which provide business leaders and developers with simple self-service portals to compose virtualized and containerized resources and enhanced business insight, including predictive analytics."

OK, that's software. What about the OmniCube hardware? Nothing is said in the blog, so presumably it stays. We would think it's going to get a ProLiant makeover eventually. The HC 250 is a neat four-server box and an OmniCube invocation of that would surely be a good idea.

We would also be certain that more all-flash OmniCubes will be coming, and that the 32-node cluster limit will be increased.

It will be interesting to see what HPE does with the OmniCube data reduction FPGA, with the potential there for a combined 3PAR+OmniCube ASIC. Alternatively HPE could drop the FPGA and have its OmniStack systems dedupe using x86 CPU cycles.

Lewis winds up by saying:

I will continue to share our progress as we finalise details on our combined roadmap, ensuring future changes are clearly communicated and seamlessly managed for HPE and SimpliVity customers. I'm looking forward to this new chapter. Together, HPE and Simplivity have an exciting roadmap and future together with big benefits to our customers and partners.

There's more to come, we're certain of that, but the net effect of this is that HPE is going to go gang-busters with SimpliVity's existing hardware and develop its software. Watch this space for OmniCube hardware developments. ®

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