What is our primary use case?
I used it purely from an OEM perspective. I used it as a solutions architect working on behalf of our customers. They've got several different versions of Primera. Specifically, it was a Primera 650. They've also got Nimble Storage, GreenLake.
The use case was basically application data that was made available for OLTP online transactions. It was designed to have quick access to typical legacy data for online systems and to have high availability.
How has it helped my organization?
They standardized on the HPE Primera so that they weren't running multiple different storage vendors' products. Because of the higher availability, they could set up the environment so that it could work with pretty much whatever data they had. HPE offers pay-as-you-go pricing that allowed them to put a sizable footprint in.
What is most valuable?
The high availability was most valuable because they come with what's called 100% data availability. With special terms, they license and guarantee 100% data availability. That was probably one of the key features or components that HPE was offering with that model.
What needs improvement?
Like most storage, we want to see flash become more and more stable. Like any flash that uses MLC or TLC techniques, over time, the more writes you have, the less usable the storage becomes. They try to plan for this and have a lot of extra space in the arrays, but over time, their performance does degrade. This is true for any flash storage.
It probably would be advantageous to make the storage solutions from HPE more inclusive with the add-on software. A lot of people say, "Well, we don't really need that extra software to do this or that." In most of the cases, if it's done right and they use it right, there is a value-add in these additional software tools that are optional.
Their support should be improved. Currently, it depends on who you get on the phone.
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For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for about a year and a half. I last used it about six months ago in my previous company.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It is very stable and rock solid. It has got the clause for 100% availability in it.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Its scalability is outstanding. You can add more chassis with more drives pretty easily. It scales out pretty large. I don't remember exactly how much it scales out to, but it's quite large.
With the online transaction system, they potentially had more than 1,000 users using the system. So, there were a lot of transactions. They've purchased it based on their project and sized it for three years. At the end of those three years, based upon the functionality, how well it is, and the technology, they might just simply purchase more storage for it to increase its size. Depending upon the dated growth of those applications, they might turn around and double its size in three years.
How are customer service and support?
It is hit or miss. It depends on who you get on the phone. One day they're great on the phone, and the next day, you get somebody who is just not capable. I don't want to be too rough on them, but I'd give them a six out of 10.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
They were using Dell, and they were just tired of the cost and the maintenance cost as well. The initial cost was good from Dell, but to re-up on maintenance after three years was not worth it. It was cheaper to buy new storage, and that was the main reason why they replaced it with HPE.
How was the initial setup?
It was very simple and straightforward. It was very easy. We could configure it in an hour.
The implementation strategy was really about having a landing zone for new data. So, we just set it up and configured it for the appropriate block type data, and then they just started writing new data to it. It was pretty easy.
What about the implementation team?
We sold it to them and then installed it for them as a service. It was basically a project that the customer was working on, and we basically won their favor as a value-added reseller (VAR), and then we basically deployed it for them.
The staff required for maintenance purposes was minimal. They were able to use their existing team to manage it.
What was our ROI?
Based upon what they were doing, a return on investment is hard to calculate when you're basing it on an OpEx model because it's an operating expense. It's a cost center. Because of the way it's being used, you're not making money with it. To get into true return on investment, you'd have to understand what exactly the data is providing, what the value is of that data, and how does it compare to what you were doing before? You would need more of a data scientist to do the analysis and understand what the return on investment really is.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Because it has high availability, the cost is above average. The cost depends upon the sizing, and every customer has a different size.
It is slightly above average in terms of cost compared to its competitors, but the value add was that they could know what their maintenance cost was going to be going forward. They knew what their renewal or expansion costs would be.
There are no additional costs for this model. There are additional software components that provide additional analytics that HPE offers. It really comes down to whether or not the customer decides to purchase those or not. You can use it out of the box with the base pricing, but if you want advanced analytics and insights, you'll need to purchase additional software.
What other advice do I have?
It's an excellent solution. HPE definitely stands behind it. I would put it up against most of the storage arrays that are out there because it is enterprise-class.
I'd give it high marks. I would rate it an eight out of 10. I don't give anybody a perfect score. Eight is very good in my opinion. My rating is because of the high availability of the storage and the fact that it's based on very solid technology. It has been around for a long time, and it's backed by an excellent company. In other words, they're not going anywhere.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.