The price is so low that we question if HPE can make any money on their new arrays

Summary:

Earlier this week HPE introduced a pair of entry level storage arrays, the StoreVirtual 3200 and the MSA 2042, with anticiapted street prices of $6,000 and $10,000, respectively. Chris Evans (@chrismevans) and Marc Farley (@GoFarley) agree that these are both excellent deals considering all the software and support that comes with them.

Transcript:

MF: Hi this is a technology ridecast I’m Marc Farley and our special guest today is Chris Evans. Hey, how’re you doing Chris?

CE: Hey Marc yeah, good to talk to you again.

MF: Back from vacation.

CE: In Canada. It was really good. We did the French side, we did a bit of the English-speaking side too.

MF: That interesting Canadian colloquial French.

CE: It’s really odd, it’s like speaking French with a really rubbish accent.

MF: I hope you don’t have any customers in French Canada.

CE: (laughs) I  certainly don’t have them anymore.

MF: So Chris, HPE came out with a couple of entry-level storage systems. Did you see the announcement?

CE:  Yes I did. The are two products. There’s one based on StoreVirtual, which was the original Left-Hand product, which has been sold very much as a software solution. That was the StoreVirtual 3200. And there was a new MSA, I think the 2042.  The StoreVirtual 3200 was about a six thousand US street price, or so HP were claiming, for a 1.2TB configuration.

MF: What about the MSA?

CE: I think that they’re trying to hit a similar price point.

MF: Yeah that’s what I thought, I thought it was around ten thousand. That’s not a lot, considering everything you get. Certainly a small capacity array, but a wide selection of drives and connectivity and all of the software. I think with the MSA they used to sell the software separately and now it’s all being bundled in?

CE: I have an MSA in my lab which I bought two years ago and I didn’t buy all the software features because I didn’t need things like replication and so on, so I think that’s definitely the case and it looks like they’re just bundling everything now. What else are you going to do when things are becoming really, really competitive. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and wondering are they looking to sell stuff that people might grow into and hope that people will love it and want to move out of that, because they can’t be making any real money off it at that sort of price. The 3200 is based on an ARM processor. They’re obviously thinking the ARM is going to cost them less.

MF: What kind of customers do you think are going to be interested in either of these products?

CE: Those sort of smaller customers who are very cost conscious – and there are a lot of them out there. Imagine you are in a distributed environment where you have lots of branch offices, more like a hospital or something like that and you need hardware in lots of different departments. You might consider using something like this because it will be easy to support,  it will be easy to buy and deploy, at a reasonable price. And your availability may not be as important.  So you know those sort of solutions may be very attractive to those people.

MF: So I want to talk about the StoreVirtual product for a minute. I mean this is technology that HPE has been calling software-defined storage and yet this particular product is packaged in hardware.

CE: It’s very much a packaged solution and, as a result, it’s looks more like an appliance than an SDS solution. And then you know, all you’re buying then is another packaged solution and I guess all you gained out of that is a better price point than you could have got with something else.  There will be lots of people who will be thinking, well, we’ll just build something ourselves, we’ll buy the drives, we’ll put it into a chassis, we’ve got a server we can use.  You have to build those solutions with known products – known products you can source, known products you can test, known products you know the vendor can provide, updates to firmware and drivers for, and potentially one that’s in the mainstream, not one that’s an edge case type product that you just found that you weren’t using. So building it yourself self isn’t necessarily always going to be cheaper and this product, certainly the StoreVirtual product challenges that definitely.

MF: Chris, this was terrific. Thanks so much for coming on and on

CE: Yeah, great to talk to you again Marc.

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