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Redefining storage networking with the HPE StoreFabric M-series

Learn how HPE Smart Fabric Orchestrator (SFO) and reduced form-factor M-series switches accelerate next-gen fabric adoption. And see why partners Cohesity, Cloudian, Hedvig, Qumulo, Rubrik and Scality (as well as HPE 3PAR Storage, HPE Nimble Storage and HPE SimpliVity) are using M-series switches to minimize latency and ensure the end-to-end application of unique differentiation.

StoreFabric_M series_blog.jpgIn September of last year, we, together with Mellanox, announced a ground-breaking innovation designed to completely revolutionize the storage network. Existing storage networking solutions had been developed for primary storage only, and while still critical for most existing enterprises, were not developed to take advantage of or enable optimal use of new media or new storage technologies. As a system vendor that provides solutions across primary storage, secondary storage, hyperconverged storage, NAS and object, we have visibility into challenges and solutions that others with a singular focus don't have. We set out to address those with the StoreFabric M-series switch portfolio delivering a reliable, high-performance switching platform for storage connectivity.

NEW: HPE StoreFabric Smart Fabric Orchestrator

I am pleased today to announce the next step in our journey toward next-generation storage delivery, with the introduction of the HPE StoreFabric Smart Fabric Orchestrator (SFO). This builds on our strong commitment to simplify and optimize storage networking while reducing costs for our customers. Network configuration is often tedious and human-error prone with data stored in spreadsheets and managed manually. The addition of orchestration automation to the M-series empowers storage admins to zone and provision storage in a few error-free clicks, while automatically orchestrating fabric services. This reduces the need for both storage and SAN configuration experts while freeing up resources to focus on business outcomes.

NEW: HPE SN2010M StoreFabric M-series Switch

Our customers are always being pressured to do more with less—to support more apps, more users and more locations with higher performance and lower latency while reducing cost, space and power. Announced today and part of the HPE StoreFabric M-Series Ethernet Switch family, the HPE SN2010M gives you exactly what you need: a highly-efficient one-half rack TOR switch with 18 ports of 1/10/25GbE and 4 ports of 40/100GbE in each, enabling full redundancy in 1RU. Breakout cables enable users to expand 1X100GbE port to 4X10GbE or 4X25GbE. The SN2010M shares all of the key attributes of its larger M-series siblings, including;

  • Zero packet loss: Eliminates packet loss at cut-through-line-rate speed using priority flow control and storage optimized dynamic port buffering delivering high reliability and lower latency for storage networks
  • Storage optimized dynamic port buffering: Supports large shared buffer cache to take care of bursty storage traffic, while being very easy for storage admins to configure 
  • Predictable performance: Provides fair bandwidth allocation across ports that evenly divides traffic even in mixed speed environments; for example: storage connectivity at 40GbE or even 100GbE while server connectivity at 10GbE or 25GbE

M-series momentum

Did you know that 80 percent of all data today travels over Ethernet? When you use a traditional Ethernet fabric, you lose the differentiation that these platforms are developed to provide. Storage traffic sent over a traditional fabric is effectively stunted as soon as it hits the network. High performance and the scale it enables is why HPC uses InfiniBand and why most primary storage uses Fibre Channel. It is also why we felt that a new network fabric, one built from the ground up for secondary flash-based storage, was needed. What fibre channel does for primary storage, we're now doing for everything else. We do it a lot faster and cheaper, with three times the performance at a third of the cost.

HPE StoreFabric M-series switches ensure that partners and their customers can maintain affordable, high-performance scalability and reliability by providing consistent and predictable performance, regardless of file size, workload or the ports being accessed, making them the perfect pairing for essential data services. As a result of this development, a true who’s who of leading next-generation storage vendors quickly adopted and have since rapidly expanded the global footprint of the M-series portfolio.

Today, we are pleased to announce some of those partners, and to provide more detail regarding exactly how they are using the M-series to benefit our mutual customers.

This list of partners is strong and growing, and currently includes Cohesity, Cloudian, Hedvig, Qumulo, Rubrik and Scality, in addition to our own HPE 3PAR StoreServ storage, HPE Nimble Storage and HPE SimpliVity products. This traction is driven by the fact that, unlike other solutions, the M-series enables them to retain their differentiation far beyond their own platforms, extending their unique feature sets across the network to the applications and the users that rely on them. This is a true differentiator that gives their customers a fast lane for storage traffic that they never had before.

The Mellanox difference

Our partnership with Mellanox in development of the M-series could not have been more critical, or more beneficial. When it comes to data traffic, it's not about throughput. It's about latency. Mellanox has the best latency-optimizing processors in the market. Their solutions in this space draw from their long history of excellence in InfiniBand, which provides the lowest-latency connectivity available.

Mellanox Ethernet switch technology scales from 10G to 25G and 40G to 50G and 100G to create the ideal Storage Fabric for today’s dynamic, data driven market. Mellanox Ethernet technology powers the HPE M-series family of switches, which provides reliable connections and consistently low latency for any packet size, network speed, and port configuration. The industry leading Spectrum switch silicon makes it simple to create a high-performance Ethernet Storage Fabric (ESF) that supports block, file and object storage, as well as hyperconverged infrastructure. The Spectrum based ESF integrates with HPE software such as Smart Fabric Orchestrator to simplify storage network configuration, monitoring, and management, as well as to enable integration and automation with HPE’s storage partners.

“With the addition of the HPE StoreFabric SN2010M Ethernet Storage Switch and the introduction of Smart Fabric Orchestrator to the M-series portfolio, HPE and Mellanox enhance an already powerful and industry leading product portfolio. “Mellanox is pleased to continue to partner with HPE to bring innovative Ethernet Storage Fabric technologies to market, that solve issues with performance, flexibility and the cost of legacy storage fabrics, and address the ever-changing landscape of new Hyperconverged, NVMe-oF, and All-Flash storage architectures, being adopted by a growing number of customers and software partners.” - Kevin Deierling, VP of Marketing for Mellanox Technologies

How are the various vendors applying this technology to meet their customers’ specific needs, and how do they feel about the opportunity the platform presents? Here are a few examples:

Qumulo: Scale-out distributed file storage

  • Adds capacity and performance linearly
  • Flash-first storage solution for multi-petabyte scale
  • Scales to billions of files, with the highest performance on-premises and in the public cloud
  • Ideal for modern, high-performance workloads including media and entertainment, semiconductor EDA, oil and gas, automotive, aerospace, life sciences, research and medical imaging
  • Real-time visibility, control and management of file data at scale
  • Enterprise features including snapshots, replication, quotas with standard protocol support (NFS, SMB, FTP, REST)

Qumulo can be obtained through the HPE Complete program, which enables the purchase of best-in-class third-party products with the added reliability of HPE’s assurance of a validated solution, all via one HPE purchase order 

StoreFabric M-series delivers high bandwidth and scalable topology to connect large NAS clusters

"Ten years ago storage fabrics meant Infiniband for HPC and Fibre Channel for enterprise. Ethernet was slow and lossy, and just couldn't compete. But of course sooner or later the volume technology (in this case Ethernet) always outstrips the proprietary technologies, whose increasingly marginal advantages no longer justify perpetual, costly R&D cycles and the high price tags they entail. As Ethernet has grown up and outstripped last-generation storage fabrics, next-generation storage vendors have built their products around Ethernet as a fabric, delivering reliability, choice and cost-efficiency to their customers without sacrificing performance.”  - Peter Godman, CEO, Qumulo

Cohesity: Hyperconverged consolidated storage platform for secondary storage

  • Web scale platform – as-you-grow Model
  • Designed for high availability, easy to install, upgrade and manage with single pane of glass
  • Unified file system – NFS, SMB, S3
  • Mixed workload – Workload isolation and QoS
  • TCO reduction – Minimized footprint
  • Lots of east-west traffic for coordination and replication
  • Moving from 10GbE to 25/40/50GbE

StoreFabric M-series offers perfect price, ports, and flexibility to start and grow hyper-converged clusters

"By partnering with HPE, we are able to provide an enterprise-class integrated web-scale data platform and an enterprise-class integrated experience to our joint customers. We are extremely happy with the momentum this partnership has generated and look forward to continuing to build upon it.” - Vivek Agarwal, Head of Corporate and Business Development, Cohesity

Cloudian: Scale-out object storage

  • Simple, modular and cost effective
  • Start small, scale to hundreds of petabytes
  • On-premises, multi-site, Storage MSP, hybrid and multi-cloud
  • Multi-protocol access – S3/SMB/NFS/FTP
  • Multi-tenancy, QoS and integrated billing
  • Policy based replication or migration

StoreFabric M-series affordably connects hundreds of object storage nodes at any speed 

“The HPE M-series is in lock step with Cloudian’s vision for a new era in object storage, as customers increasingly see the benefits of our limitless capacity, bullet-proof reliability and low TCO. Networking technology plays a key role in Cloudian’s flexible storage architecture which offers seamless scalability in both capacity and performance. HPE’s M-series is the perfect networking companion to optimize our customers’ deployments.” - Jon Toor, CMO, Cloudian

Hedvig: Data management platform built on scale-out architecture which provides the flexibility of the pay-as-you-grow model

  • Enables location-agnostic deployments by providing stretched cluster capability across multiple sites and clouds
  • Hedvig's Distributed Storage Platform can be configured to support two types of deployments: hyperscale and hyperconverged
  • Allows consolidation of primary and secondary workloads for on-premises as well as cloud-based applications by natively supporting a wide range of storage protocols
  • DevOps-ready and application-tunable storage

StoreFabric M-series offers perfect price, ports, and flexibility to start and grow hyperconverged and hyperscale clusters

“Hedvig's partnership with HPE allows customers to experience the world's only hybrid and multi cloud data management system coupled with world-class support. The HPE Complete Hedvig solution is an enterprise-class platform that enables customers to modernize and future proof their infrastructure. We are pleased with the impact we have made thus far and with HPE's reach in the enterprise market we are confident in our ability to continue gaining market traction.” - Avinash Lakshman, founder and CEO, Hedvig

Welcome to the modern storage network

Enterprise data centers are under pressure to deliver greater performance, agility and operational efficiency to address data growth and dynamic business demands. Hybrid IT environments require a modern storage network that can keep up with the pace of innovation seen in compute and storage resources. Modernizing the storage network will enable business to increase the productivity, scale and efficiency of their storage investments.

We believe the time is right for a new network. Working closely with Mellanox to design this purpose-built platform for specialized storage traffic, we now have a traditional network that passes traffic for all the file and print. We have a specialized SAN, we have specialized InfiniBand, and now we have a specialized data traffic Ethernet fabric that gives customers the performance of the earlier platforms with the flexibility, scalability and cost benefits of Ethernet. With M-series, next-generation storage vendors and data vendors now truly have a next-generation fabric.

Learn more

Technical white paper: Enabling high-performance Ethernet storage connectivity


More on working with our partners: HPE Complete: Accelerating frictionless deployment of complex joint solutions


 Marty.pngMeet Around the Storage Block blogger Marty Lans, General Manager, Storage Connectivity Engineering & Global Interoperability Business Unit at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.






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