"You''re suggesting other products are toys or inadequate in some way based on rumour, lack of research and out of date information."
They are inadequate, for the target market I described. HP's 3Par arrays, with all the knobs turned to 11, butcher anything that Synology, Qnap or anyone else could field. But doing so moves the cost of the device right out into a completely different category. You aren't comparing like for like at that point.
You are quite quick to be dismissive of the Synology units from a performance perspective (and to lay into me) but you haven't done much of any research here. You're just latching onto anything that will make that the brand you've taken to heart look good. I have no such attachments. To Synology or anyone else. (Except Ninite.)
Let's look at those Synology boxes, shall we? So in order to achieve "stupid IOPS" Synology is using a system filled up with Intel 520 Series 240GB 2.5" SSDs. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a bucket of old, outdated, slow and dirt cheap SSDs. Ones I am sure were really super-duper-cool when the original test was run, but now don't even come close to what you can get, even out of consumer gear. So what do we get with this box 'o rocks?
Sequential Read: 622,000 IOPS.
Sequential Write: 330,000 IOPS.
Random Read: 333,000 IOPS.
Random Write: 163,000 IOPS.
Now, I know from experience that Samsung's 480 Pro consumer SATA SSD will crush the Intel 520 240GB SSDs like a bug, write performance wise. Even newer consumer SSDs don't get much better read speed, but they do get far better write speed. Based on a little maths I expect that if you reran the test on that hardware with modern consumer SSDs your sums would look a heck of a lot more like the following:
Sequential Read: 600,000 IOPS.
Sequential Write: 500,000 IOPS.
4K Random Read: 500,000 IOPS.
4K Random Write: 300,000 IOPS.
80/20 Read Write: 550,000 IOPS.
Now, I haven't done the test yet on this myself, but this is based on some educated guessing and a lot of experience. I am currently trying to scrape together enough equipment to prove the numbers above, but I've very confident that they're roughly accurate for modern consumer SSDs.
Your SSDs matter. You won't get that kind of random (or sequential) write from, say, the Micron 960GB units. The controller is a bucket of wet sick for write speeds and does this bizarre thing where it spikes high then runs for a while at half speed. Using a Samsung 480EVO 1TB, however, you'll get a consistently high write speed. It won't be near as high as the read speeds, naturally, but way better than the Intel 240!
An HP unit filled with enterprise-class SSDs would probably be able to take the Synology system. It would cost half a continent's worth of virgins - whilst delivering bupkis in terms of capacity - but it might just get there.
Speed for the price, however? fugeddaboutit. Capacity for the price? Double fuggedabout it. The Synology (and competitor) units are a way cheaper path to falling-all-over-yourself-stupid IOPS and great capacity. Using off-the-shelf consumer drives that you can buy anywhere. It's a hell of a lot more flexible and a hell of a lot cheaper to achieve just about any goal you want...below a certain threshold.
There's a point where HP will absolutely wreck Synology. For that matter, I'd argue HP could probably wreck Dell, give NetApp some bad dreams and has EMC checking over their shoulder on a regular basis. That's way out there, big time in the far off la-la land of "more than the total gross turnover of the company spent of IT infrastructure."
As for Lefthand...I honestly and truly believe it's been surpassed by it's competition. I'd put Maxta up against it any day, to say nothing of Nutanix or SimpliVity. Not that I personally consider the latter two to be "SME"-compatible in any way, but they'll get you where you need to go cheaply and quickly if you're talking about a small CSP.
Look: I like HP. I even - despite what you may think - like Lefthand. I have a soft spot for the thing that I really shouldn't have, since it was so much better than VMware's VSA for so long and a reasonable bit cheaper. As a sysadmin, I love HP's servers and storage because the design of HPs gear is just so much better than anyone else.
HP servers an honest-to-$deity pleasure to work with. Cables are routed nicely, the tools you need are magnetically attached to the back...every detail on an HP server has been thought through for ultimate serviceability. I wish every server could be an HP server.
Synology units, by contrast, are nasty things with sharp edges and densely packed insides that were never designed to be serviced. If I were buying second hand, out-of-warantee stuff for my lab then I would never buy Synology, Qnap or any of these guys. I'd buy HP.
But let's face facts, here, shall we? HP can't match the capacity or performance per dollar of these up-and-coming companies. Synology, Qnap, etc are getting better and better all the time and they are eating the low end.
At the higher end you have this rapidly evolving storage field where there are literally dozens of companies form Maxta and Atlantis to Proximal and Pernix to Nutanix and SimpliVity all working their asses off to commoditise "proper" enterprise storage. They are dragging margins down and offering...(drum roll)...better capacity per dollar and/or better performance per dollar. All without compromising reliability.
HP isn't adapting fast enough. For that matter, neither are most of the big storage heavies. That's normal. It's also normal for those who work for Cisco (or owe their livelihoods to it) to get really angry when someone points out that Arista is kicking ass. Same thing applies here.
I've done my homework. I continue to do my homework every day. Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I've missed the existence of a company or product. Sometimes I'm even right.
Here, now, Lefthand isn't priced well enough to match Synology on capacity. Depending on how you build the things it might match on performance, maybe, assuming that Lefthand has improved enough in the last update set to match Maxta for most things.
In which case I'd just buy Maxta for my own servers because it's cheaper. That's assuming I even want converged infrastructure. I might just want a great big ball of CIFS, in which case any converged infrastructure play on the market today is bad value for money compared to Synology, Qnap, etc.
3Par can't go up against Synology on speed for dollar, to the point where matching the Synology would be prohibitively expensive. 3Par is better designed for serviceability. Which you can't have done unless you pay HP's ransom. 3Par is more feature rich.
None of this - none of it - addresses the issue that was actually discussed in the article itself: that of MSPs choosing up-and-coming storage vendors because those vendors A) provide margin support and B) allow the MSP to control the customer relationship.
It's about money. All of it. Price per capacity, price per IOPS, margin available to the MSP, servicing margin available to the MSP...it's all about the money. HP isn't prepared for this new, commoditised world. They aren't ready for the brave new universe where storage margins look like x86 server margins.
Soon, IBM will sell of their storage division. Probably to Lenovo. HP will be sitting there - again - with an offering way above the new rates the market has settled upon. HP needs to shit or get off the pot. Decide if it is going to be the "Apple of enterprise tech", charging $virgins and delivering quality, or if they are going to play in the muck with the mass-market people.
So far, I see no evidence of the latter, and I see a whole bunch of companies trying out the former. HP has a lot of competition if it wants to be "the Apple of enterprise tech". And the "mass-market muck" are getting more than "good enough" while being cheap enough to entice.
I'm not saying HP is crap. I'm saying HP hasn't committed to the evolving SME space and it shows. They are still in the process of deciding who they want to be. Meanwhile, the vultures are circling.
Storage just ain't the easy money it used to be.