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HPE Updates Storage Systems as Primera Storage Gets AI Self-Healing

Meanwhile, HPE’s Nimble storage gains Storage Class Memory for faster response times.

Todd R. Weiss

June 11, 2020

5 Min Read
HPE Primera Storage
HPE

Improved data performance and artificial intelligence-based self-healing features are among the updates in the latest HPE storage systems.

The updates arrive in Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Primera and Nimble storage product lines, giving partners and their customers new capabilities. Primera gets AI-driven, self-healing and self-optimization features that deliver real-time autonomous operations. Nimble storage systems get storage-class memory with response times up to twice as fast as existing units.

Both Primera and Nimble storage get new three-site replication capabilities for disaster recovery, up from the previous two-site replication services. In addition, new all-NVMe support for HPE Primera improves performance density for customers, the company said.

COVID-19 Implications

The new automation capabilities in Primera are particularly important for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So says David Wang, director of product marketing for HPE storage.

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HPE’s David Wang

“Businesses need to be more agile as organizations,” Wang told Channel Futures. “They have less time to manage and need more time to respond to changing conditions. They need to be able to help their customers in their recoveries, but also be able to help with what’s next for them and their digital transformations.”

The new enhancements in HPE’s storage products reflect those needs, he said.

“This pandemic caused what was already in motion – companies moving to IT agility and from capex to opex models – and kickstarted it farther and faster,” he added.

The Primera AI features build on 10 years of cloud-based machine learning, giving users more storage insights, he said.

“The systems have the ability to autonomously make changes without IT [getting] involved,” said Wang. “These are closed-loop, real-time changes where the systems can self-optimize.”

Like self-driving car technologies that are evolving, HPE is enabling storage to take actions for its users, he said. For instance, for Nimble storage customers, including storage-class memory improves performance for customers on a budget.

“Storage-class memory drives very fast data response times for read-intensive workloads like Oracle databases,” said Wang. “They can get it without breaking the bank.”

For channel partners, the HPE storage system updates give them opportunities to help their customers with post-COVID-19 recoveries, said Wang. That includes financial incentives to help customers get the technologies they need.

Partners Embrace the Changes

Steve Lankard, VP and principal for infrastructure solutions at channel partner CBTS, said HPE’s autonomous features show it’s listening.

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CBTS’ Steve Lankford

“Businesses want to focus their scarce human capital on work that is strategic,” said Lankard. “IT shops are looking to leverage automation and intelligence in the solutions they deploy. HPE is taking automation and intelligence to new levels.”

To do that, HPE is developing AI-driven storage that anticipates and fixes potential problems before they occur, he said.

Keep up with the latest developments in how the channel is supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“HPE listened and delivered storage platforms that provide cost savings and a compelling reason to modernize aging infrastructure,” said Lankard.

Also important in the updated HPE storage systems are their true pay-for-use on-premises consumption models.

“We are empowered to have a comprehensive business conversation with our customers about solutions that will effectively impact their operations, balance sheet, income statement and financial ratios in a time where this matters the most,” said Lankard.

Another partner, Patrick O’Dell with reseller CPP Associates, said the new near-instant …

… data recovery capabilities are important for users.

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CPP Associates’ Patrick O’Dell

“This is a requirement for a lot of tier 1 customers,” he said. “There is a need not only for multiple recovery sites but also a bunker site. This will allow for gap protection from human-caused events like ransomware and viruses.”

The performance boosts in the storage lines are also welcome, he said.

“As standards are maturing, NVMe will start becoming the de facto standard. HPE is bringing this feature to market at just the right time,” said O’Dell. “This leverages it properly along with the entire technology stack to optimize the most critical and demanding workloads.”

Analyst: The Updates Define the Products

Steve McDowell, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said the updates show that Primera is HPE’s high-end storage product.

“It’s sitting right where 3PAR used to also play. While 3PAR products are still there for customers who want them, the message for the channel is Primera at the high end, with Nimble filling out the midrange. It makes for an easy story for the channel to tell their customers,” said McDowell.

The Nimble updates come just in time, as the line has gotten a little stale, said McDowell.

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Moor Insights & Strategy’s Steve McDowell

“The update will be very welcome to channel partners,” he added. “HPE is closing competitive gaps that bring it to parity with most of today’s midrange block storage solutions.”

In addition, the new storage class memory in Nimble delivers a solid performance increase without major platform changes, he said. HPE offers it as an option on new arrays and as an upgrade kit for existing arrays. So this is great news for channel partners that are selling HPE storage systems, said McDowell.

“The kits allow channel partners to go in and double the performance of a Nimble array with a straight-forward upgrade,” he said. “That’s a very attractive option for a lot of customers who are already facing a year of economic uncertainty.”

For Primera users, there is another new important capability — leveraging InfoSight predictive analytics to maximize operational benefits. HPE now uses InfoSight data to generate trained-AI models that customers can deploy directly to a Primera array. Then, one can use that data to predict issues and tune the storage array.

“If they’ve done it well, this could be a game changer,” said McDowell. “Using InfoSight to generate AI models that execute on a storage array is a brilliant use of that technology. We need to watch this one play out to understand if it ultimately delivers on the promise. For now, it’s a heck of a promise, and is a great story for channel sellers to tell their customers.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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