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HPE Offers Mid-Market New Hyper Converged 380, Hands On

By - Source: HPE
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HPE announced its new Hyper Converged 380 for small-to-mid size enterprises. The new systems are available in a two-node base configuration, which enables a low-cost entry point, but the system scales-out to 16 nodes. HPE claimed that its new products feature a lower price structure than competing Nutanix models, but the company will not reveal pricing specifics until the launch date. The Hyper Converged (HC) 380 employs the HPE ProLiant DL380, which the company touted as the world's most deployed server, as its foundation. HPE designed the HC 380 to satisfy the requirements of small-to-mid size Hybrid IT and VDI implementations, and also medium-to-enterprise class ROBO and LOB applications. 

The system leverages VMware vSphere and HPE's own HPE StoreVirtual VSA and UX (User Experience) software to simplify management tasks. HPE's primary goal is to offer users with little IT background an easy-to-use and simple platform, but also provide them with more advanced features if they are required. HPE provided us with a live demo of the product and allowed us to log into a demo system and work with the user interface.

The ease-of-use aspect begins with the UX interface, which abstracts away the complexity of VSAN and simplifies the deployment and management process. HPE indicated that a user can set up the hardware themselves, which eliminates costly on-site setup services. The entire setup process consists of eight simple questions after the hardware deployment, after which the user can immediately begin provisioning and managing VMs.

The system we accessed was pre-configured, so we did not test deployment simplicity. However, we did create, configure, manage and decommission several VMs. The VM creation process is simple and intuitive; we were able to spin up VMs with as few as five clicks.

HPE also demonstrated a non-disruptive update, which was another simple affair that required only three clicks. The system automatically conducts the typically complex process in the background with absolutely no downtime.

The unified management and alert screens are simple and to the point, but users can delve into much more complex management tasks if desired. The system features an underlying RAID implementation that protects data and has the ability to replicate to any StoreVirtual-based platform. The HPE StoreVirtual VSA enables cross-site data mobility and provides users with 99.999 percent availability.

My experience with the system left me with surprisingly little to say. It is really simple and straightforward. However, a simple demo environment is by no means a substitute for a full product evaluation, as managing a complex production environment might be a bit more challenging. We also did not measure any system performance metrics. However, the system obviously has a strong functionality base that is abstracted away from the users' view to ease management tasks.

HPE provides 24/7 support for the entire platform, which includes the hardware, software, private cloud and VMware environment. The HC 380 also offers HPE's Cloud Optimizer, which is an analytics tool designed to reduce VM sprawl and VM overprovisioning by 90 percent.

The HC 380 will be available on March 31, 2016, and HPE will release pricing specifics at that time.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's IT Pro, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.