HPE intros SSD replacements for 10K RPM HDD server drives

For older HPE Apollo, ProLiant and Synergy servers still using SATA-connected disk drives, a speedy SSD replacement option is now available.

Data center corridor of servers with abstract overlay of digital connections.
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There was once a time when hard drives that spun at 10,000 and 15,000 RPMs were considered fast storage. Then came the SSD and blew that all away. But there are some old servers out there still using them, and they could use a more modern approach.

HPE has announced an SSD replacement option for SATA-connected disk drives in its Apollo, ProLiant and Synergy servers called Very Read-Optimized (VRO). These 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SSDs use SATA interfaces and are plug-in replacements for the drives in the servers.

HPE claimed in a Community Experts blog post this week that the drives will deliver better TCO than 10,000 RPM HDDs, although really, that's not a hard claim to make. Based on HPE's own testing, you can get 70,000 read IOPS on an HPE SATA VRO SSD compared to 400 IOPS on the fastest HPE 10K HDD. It's not even close. HPE argues that the upgrade pays for itself. It says the SSDs are up to three times more energy efficient than the 10K drives.

"And for years, that's exactly what HPE has been working toward: Enabling you to experience the breakthrough performance, reliability, and energy efficiency of SSDs on HPW ProLiant, Apollo and Synergy platforms – at the closest possible price to the HDDs. Now available to replace HDDs in popular workloads, that's exactly what we're excited to deliver," the company said in its blog post.

VRO SSDs are optimized for mostly read use. They're designed around a greater than 80% random read use and less than 20% sequential writes (large block size). Such storage workloads include vSAN capacity tiers, NoSQL databases, business intelligence, Hadoop, analytics, object stores, content delivery, and AI and machine-learning data lakes.

The VRO drives are being positioned as replacements for 1-8TB HDDs. They have a 6GBit/sec SATA interface, which is slower than the PCI Express interface but still orders of magnitude faster than a mechanical hard drive. They're available in 1.92TB, 3.84TB, and 7.68TB capacities in the 2.5-inch form factor and 3.84TB and 7.68TB versions in the 3.5-inch form factor.

The company also makes similar points for target use cases:

  • SQL databases: 10x faster SQL analytics at lower TCO
  • NoSQL databases: 7x faster NoSQL on HPE ProLiant DL380 at lower TCO
  • Hadoop and Big Data: 2 hours faster sorts on HPE Apollo 4200 at lower TCO
  • Object stores: 6x faster object stores at lower TCO
  • Content delivery network (CDN): serve 200x more CDN users at lower TCO
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): 25% faster AI/ML training at lower TCO

One thing missing: the price. HPE hasn't responded to a request for a price, but I suspect it's higher than the $229 for a 2TB Samsung SSD you can get on Newegg.com. Which is the same price as a 1.2TB 10K RPM Seagate Enterprise Performance disk drive.

HPE is simply factoring in lower power draw, less time to read data, and a longer lifespan than the 10K drives, which have a higher failure rate than 7200 RPM drives.

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