Supportageddon and other things you didn’t know about HPE Microsoft Solutions

HPE Storage does more than SQL server

When I first took this role as Product Manager for the Microsoft Storage solutions at HPE, it really seemed that all we did was store MS SQL Server data on HPE Nimble and HPE 3PAR storage.  It turned out that HPE has a whole line of Microsoft Storage Solutions delivered to customers across many of our Storage products — Nimble, 3PAR StorServ, MSA, Apollo, and related networking and services.

In fact, our biggest solution area so far this year is Microsoft Exchange on Apollo. Traditionally we’ve served many very large organizations with this solution, and we expect that to continue with the upgrade to Exchange 2019.  To note – this solution typically uses the Apollo platform, which you may be more familiar with in relation to Big Data analytics.

But the HPE Apollo 4200 Gen10  is an ideal platform for Exchange – esp. when you match it up vs. the new Exchange Server 2019 Preferred Architecture (PA): 2U, x86 server, dual socket, up to 48 total physical processor cores.  Up to 512GB of memory – exceeding the 256GB in the PA. We accommodate up to 54 hot-pluggable drives within the server chassis, way beyond the 12 needed in the PA. Apollo meets the requirement to mix HDD and solid-state storage SAS or SATA SSD within the same chassis – and we added a rear drive cage for NVMe options as future-proofing.  The 4200 also comes with a 96W battery-backed Smart Array write cache controller.

Supportageddon

Supportageddon is coming

So what exactly do I mean by ‘Supportageddon’ and does this have something to do with a big snow storm?  Many of you depend on Microsoft apps for business-critical systems, and many of these popular apps are going EOS as soon as this April!  By EOS I really mean “End of Extended Support”.  This impacts a number of areas very important to enterprise IT:

  • Security: There will be no access to critical security updates, opening the potential for business interruptions
  • Compliance: As support ends, your organization may fail to meet to meet compliance standards and industry regulations
  • Maintenance: Maintaining legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, etc. gets expensive quickly

Specific versions going EOS that we see especially critical to our customer base are Windows Server 2008 (and R2), SQL Server 2008, and Exchange Server 2010.  In the case of Exchange for instance, which goes EOS Jan 2020, though the software will continue to run, Microsoft is telling customers to migrate as soon as possible. There will be no support extensions.

Don’t think “Cloud First” – think “Hybrid Cloud First”

Hang on, “Cloud First” was the New way to think about IT, right?  Well, actually if by new you mean 2010, then sure. That was when US federal government agencies received the mandate to start using cloud computing in their IT operations.  Since then, there has been a lot of design and engineering going into IT products, which have been evolving from being completely on-prem equipment, to cloud-compatible, to cloud-ready, and many nowadays being ‘built for cloud’ and even multi-cloud use.

Having said that, there are still a large number of companies who will happily choose a refresh of what they already have in place. A great example is Burkhalter group who did a considerable study of how best to meet the needs of their growing business – cloud vs. on-premises – and decided to keep Exchange on-prem, and upgraded to an HPE 3PAR Storage and Synergy composable compute infrastructure.  They reduced admin costs 20% with the cloud-like scale and automation they got with the HPE solution in their own datacenter.

With the products available today, smart customers are thinking “Hybrid Cloud first” and are looking for infrastructure and app solutions that bridge the on-prem/cloud divide for them.  For instance, back to Exchange, the latest version can natively support both on-prem and Office365-based users together in the same instance.  Similarly, there is data storage infrastructure available with service extensions like HPE Cloud Volumes and HPE Cloud Bank Storage so that at the infrastructure level, data volumes can reside on-prem, or in the cloud, and retain mobility to move back or across cloud providers. For production data, secondary data, or back-up/DR.

Hardware still makes a difference

Who’d have thought this can be, today in the age of all things “Software defined” and “Cloud”.  But actually the hardware you chose makes a big difference – more applications are requiring specific hardware features and capabilities, such as embedded AI intelligence.

Here’s a recent blog specifically about how “How HPE hardware brings out the best in Microsoft Exchange Server 2019”.  Enjoy.

Track the latest news and happenings with HPE Microsoft Storage solutions on twitter at @mhardi01.

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