HPE to Offer Flash Storage ‘as-a-Service’ to Compete with the Cloud

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In a kickoff announcement just prior to its annual Discover conference in London, HPE told attendees it has begun offering its 3PAR StoreServ flash-based on-premise storage platform on an “as-a-Service” basis, at prices starting at 3 cents per “usable gigabyte” per month.

There are telltale asterisks accompanying that announcement, suggesting that customers may be subject to qualification terms.  We’re waiting to hear more from HPE as to whether setup fees or minimum purchase requirements may apply.

The company says it intends to be competitive against public cloud-based storage options.  The phrase, “less than half the cost of public cloud” appears in today’s announcement, and it will be interesting to see HPE’s formula that yields these results.  As of December 1, Amazon Web Services’ price for standard S3 storage will start at 3¢ per GB per month, and progress downward to 2.75¢/GB/month in quantities over 5 PB.

HPE’s rack-mounted 3PAR StoreServ 8000 array maxes out at 3 PB of raw capacity for its model 8440, consuming 2U of space with two nodes side-by-side.  Its complete rack form-factor 20000 series maxes out at 9.6 PB of raw capacity.  For HPE’s claim of less-than-half public cloud cost to be accurate, the company should be willing to charge enterprises less than $42,750 monthly for a fully formatted 8440 array, and less than $132,000 per month for a fully formatted 20000 series rack.

The new service, which HPE will market under the brand 3PAR Flash Now, is available now, according to the company.  A similar service offering tape-based backup on HPE’s StoreEver platform, with a base price of 1¢/GB/month, also launches today.

The move this week by HPE is far from the premier entry for flash storage being offered as-a-service.  This time two years ago, Nimble Storage began offering what it called its “Adaptive Flash Platform,” blending solid-state and magnetic storage under what it described as a “pay-as-you-grow” model.  Competitor Tegile Storage also began offering a similar service at that time.