HPE announced that they’re acquiring SimpliVity, the MA-based hyperconverged infrastructure company for $650M. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approval.
HPE currently markets the HC 250 and HC 280 hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. These products are built on the StoreVirtual software-defined storage platform that provides the foundation for the StoreVirtual 4000 mid-range SAN offering and is also sold as a software-only, scale-out storage solution. The HC 250 and HC 380 will continue to be sold and supported.
SimpliVity has established a significant position in the HCI market, behind industry leader Nutanix. The company’s flagship OmniCube HCI appliance has a number of unique characteristics, including a PCIe card that performs data reduction at ingest, offloading much of the data handling tasks from the CPU, improving performance and resource efficiency. The Data Virtualization Platform integrates with this PCIe card to provide the storage abstraction layer for the nodes in the cluster.
As the HCI market has turned towards OEMs, SimpliVity has focused on their OmniStack software, which is currently sold through Cisco, Dell, Lenovo and most recently, Huawei. Within 60 days, HPE will have OmniStack available for the ProLiant DL380 server platform as well.
This merger gives HPE a stronger position in the $2.4B HCI market, currently projected to reach $6B by 2020. Dell EMC’s VxRail is gaining on Nutanix (see Evaluator Group HCI in the Enterprise study for more background) and with the switch to Dell hardware has provided some built in supplier advantages.
Obviously, HPE can counter those with hardware of its own, but now has a technology upgrade as well. OmniStack offers a number of features that the StoreVirtual platform lacks and compares well to vSAN which is the foundation of VxRail. These features include deduplication, compression and built-in backup that leverages snapshots and replication.
The immediate result of this acquisition is the availability of SimpliVity’s technology on HPE servers. The first step will be to release OmniStack on the DL380. HPE promised that in the second half of 2017 they would release “a range” hyperconverged solutions based on ProLiant servers. This would indicate that the existing SimpliVity OmniCube model line up will be reworked, replacing the current Dell hardware with DL380. This makes sense, as Dell EMC just recently renewed their models as well, after the acquisition was finalized in September 2016. VxRail was originally sold on Supermicro servers.
This move combines some of the technology innovation of a startup with the resources and market presence of an enterprise IT supplier. But long term we would like to see how HPE will integrate the SimpliVity technology into other products and how the Data Virtualization Platform fits in HPE’s overall Hybrid IT strategy.