Storage That’s Always the Right Fit: Testing Block Storage for SMBs

HPE Storage

I recently spoke with a client about adding more storage to their data center. But rather than describe the options, I pulled out my smartphone and accessed my storage environment, showing him how fast and easy it could be. Five years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible, but technology has quickly moved beyond technical requirements and is addressing the complete user experience.

Pleiades Tecnología is a consulting company that helps customers and resellers understand and take advantage of the latest technologies. The founders named the company after The Pleiades, a constellation that has guided navigators for millennia. Our mission is to similarly guide our customers, showing them real-life demonstrations at our Madrid demo center.

The focus should be on technology that helps customers build, deploy, and manage solutions faster—without having to focus on infrastructure management.

I came to the company more than 18 years ago, and for a long time, our priority was to obtain the best hardware and components to achieve our clients’ goals. Over time, our concerns have broadened to digital transformation and helping customers become more agile. Most SMBs don’t need massive amounts of servers and storage, and they often don’t use their existing components to their full advantage. Their focus should be on technology that enables them to build, deploy, and manage solutions faster—without having to focus on infrastructure management.

Conversations used to start with tech requirements, but we now hear new pain points, such as, “I have a lot of different things to handle,” or “New solutions require a lot of time to learn, and it takes years for the business to see the benefits.” As consultants, my team and I ask: How can we make things easier and faster? And how can clients achieve that without a huge investment? For years, we’ve been doing that with HPE.

Testing New-to-Market Solutions

Most of what we do in our data center involves creating labs, demos, and PoCs to demonstrate new technologies to our customers and resellers. Our client projects vary greatly. Most clients want us to focus on a specific component within their infrastructure, so these projects tend to demonstrate how a solution would fit into the customer’s tech stack. Our reseller customers, on the other hand, want to keep up with the latest developments. For them, we demonstrate the various ways the technology could help a range of customers.

All these tests, labs, and demos mean Pleiades uses a lot of devices, each with its own naming conventions, maintenance schedules, and management consoles. In fall 2022, we adopted Data Services Cloud Console (DSCC), HPE GreenLake for Backup and Recovery and HPE GreenLake for Compute Ops Management, which allow us to  intuitively manage all our storage devices and HPE ProLiant servers from a centralized location. The management console helped us simplify and improve the visibility of our environment, making management much easier.

We always want to understand the best ways to make technology work for our customers and resellers, including new services and subscriptions. So when HPE asked us whether we would like to try HPE GreenLake for Block Storage built on HPE Alletra Storage MP, we quickly said yes. 

The Benefits of Block Storage for SMBs

We are still trialing HPE GreenLake for Block Storage built on HPE Alletra Storage MP in our data center and have yet to roll it out to customers, but we already see several benefits to end users.

  • Run any app without compromise

First among these benefits is HPE’s 100% data availability guarantee for mission-critical environments. Today, customers need to be live all the time. A 99.99% guarantee sounds good, but when an incident happens, customers quickly realize that not even 99.9999% availability is good enough for some workloads. HPE GreenLake for Block Storage built on HPE Alletra Storage MP offers a 100% data availability guarantee, which will dramatically reduce the customer’s risk profile, especially when coupled with data protection services with the HPE GreenLake platform.

When an incident happens, customers quickly realize not even 99.9999% availability is good enough for some workloads.

We test technology like this across many variables, including size, connectivity channels, apps, and workloads. Across our tests, HPE GreenLake for Block Storage enables everything to run with greater capacity. The solution is built on HPE Alletra Storage MP, and the data efficiency matches what we have come to expect from previous HPE storage arrays, such as HPE Nimble Storage and HPE Primera. We are very happy with the performance.

The apps and workloads we run on this solution are mostly virtual machines running on VMware and desktops testing a VDI platform—frequent use cases that involve a lot of access and data movement. During our customer demonstrations, we provide the customer with lab access 24/7, so they can see the performance across different settings, configurations, and workloads.

 Worrying over critical systems can cause late-night panic for system admins. That’s why availability and performance are so important to us: We want to give our customers the peace of mind that someone doesn’t have to monitor these systems constantly.

  • Simplified management with a cloud experience on prem

One of the most challenging aspects of managing storage has always been the fine-tuning required to run different workloads, create new storage devices, and add new apps. HPE GreenLake for Block Storage has solved this issue with their AI-driven Data Services Cloud Console (DSCC). DSCC’s automated, intuitive system creates a cloud experience on prem, meaning users no longer must worry about bits and bytes. Instead, users tell the system what they want—the kind of storage, the specific workload, and the necessary capacity—and DSCC will then recommend the optimal way to deliver that.


Migrating our VMs onto this new platform was fast and easy. It took about a day and didn’t require any additional training. Adding a new app takes seconds, and that speed is critical when working toward our goal of making customers more agile.

An integrated platform not only makes work easier and faster, it eliminates multiple learning curves and the need for niche skill sets.

Managing everything from a single console means I can review my entire environment in minutes. The benefits multiply when I consider the needs of our customers. Most SMBs don’t want to think too much about their technology—that’s why they hire Pleiades. An integrated platform makes work easier and faster, and it eliminates the learning curve for multiple technologies. A company no longer must hire for niche skill sets as they once did. The DSCC allows users to manage more without needing to know as much.

  • Flexible, scale-out storage

Creating new storage isn’t just easy—with HPE GreenLake for Block Storage, I don’t even need to be sitting in my data center. I began this story with the example of scaling our storage capacity from my smartphone. Multiply that by the number of customers we have, and it’s easy to understand how the flexibility of being able to work across various devices and locations will allow users to cover more ground.

On-demand capabilities also reduce the time admins will spend provisioning their infrastructure since they don’t have to worry about running over capacity. DSCC automatically deploys the most efficient, secure configuration for any additional workload. 

Storage for Now, Storage for Tomorrow

Customers don’t necessarily know where they will be in five years—or the infrastructure they will need to support them when they get there. A flexible solution like HPE GreenLake for Block Storage lets these businesses focus on what they need right now, knowing they can scale for what they will need in the future.

A flexible solution lets SMBs focus on what they need right now, knowing they can scale for what they will need in the future.

Maybe the most significant benefit of HPE GreenLake for Block Storage is confidence. There’s confidence in having a high-end, high-performing solution at a cost that’s affordable for most SMBs. Confidence builds with greater agility, reduced anxiety around availability and infrastructure management, and the freedom to do what’s best for the business without worrying about whether the existing infrastructure can support it. However they grow, they will have the right storage to handle it.