HPE servers gain SSD performance ‘at 10k HDD price points’

HPE has announced the Very Read-Optimised SSD replacement option for SATA-connected disk drives in Apollo, ProLiant and Synergy servers. The 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch VRO SSDs are plug-in replacements for the drives and deliver better TCO than 10,000rpm HDDs, the company claims.

“When solid-state drive (SSD) performance meets 10K hard-disk drive (HDD) price points, you get the best of both worlds,” HPE said in a Community Experts blog post this week.

“And for years, that’s exactly what HPE has been working toward: Enabling you to experience the breakthrough performance, reliability, and energy efficiency of SSDs on HPW ProLiant, Apollo and Synergy platforms – at the closest possible price to the HDDs. Now available to replace HDDs in popular workloads, that’s exactly what we’re excited to deliver.”


VRO SSDs are optimised for a typical mix of >80 per cent random reads and <20 per cent sequential writes (large block size). Example storage workloads include vSAN capacity tiers, NoSQL databases, business intelligence, Hadoop, analytics, object stores, content delivery, and AI and machine learning data lakes.

The VRO drives have a 6GBit/s SATA interface, and are available in 1.92TB, 3.84TB, and 7.68TB capacities in the 2.5in form factor and 3.84TB and 7.68TB versions in the 3.5-inch form factor. An HPE QuickSpecs data sheet also lists a 960GB 2.5-inch drive.

The drives come with a three-year warranty and a lifetime of 700 drive writes (which is represented by HPE as 0.2 drive writes per day). The random read IOPS performance is 51,000, with a peak maximum of 63,000, and random write IOPS are 12,600, peaking at 13,000.

The drives use 96-layer QLC flash and prices start at $739.99. For comparison, on Amazon a 2TB Barracuda Pro 7,200rpm disk drives costs $55.49 while a 1.2TB 10,000rpm Seagate Enterprise Performance disk drive retails at $190. The VRO SSDS have quite the price difference.


The VRO SSDs deliver 7x faster object reads and 6x faster object writes at a lower TCO, according to a joint HPE Micron product brief. The claims are based on testing three Apollo 4200 Gen 10 servers, each fitted with either eight x 8TB HPE 7,200rpm 3.5-inch SATA disk drives or eight x 7.68TB VRO SSDs. The test environment was Ceph with object reads and writes tested.

The disk drive based Apollo system cost $152,760 while the VRO equivalents cost $234,384 – 53.4 per cent more.

The disk-drive Apollos delivered 3.0GB/sec read and 1.5GB/sec write bandwidth. The VRO SSD Apollos went much faster, hitting 23.1GB/sec read and 9.0GB/sec write bandwidth.

Divide the system cost by the read GB/sec number and this works out at $50,920 per GB/sec for the disk drive Apollos and $10,146.5 per GB/sec for the VRO version. This is the justification for HPE’s claim that VRO SSD Apollos delivered 5x lower cost per read GB/s at lower TCO.