HPE Alletra vs Dell Unity XT Hybrid Flash Arrays

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    Choosing the right data storage system has never been more important. Data volumes are growing fast, driving big data challenges like poor security, efficiency, and accessibility. Without the right storage system, a company will struggle to secure and utilise its data.

    Findings show that global spending on data centre systems is expected to hit $231 billion in 2023, a testament to the immense growth of the data storage industry.1 Though companies have more data storage options than ever before, they may struggle to find a system that is well-suited to the unique needs of their business. 

    HPE vs Dell

    HPE’s Alletra and Dell’s Unity XT Hybrid Flash Arrays (HFAs) are two popular storage choices. Both systems provide excellent efficiency, security, and performance, allowing companies to easily store and manage their big data. In this article, we’ll explore the upsides and downsides of each, so that you can decide which data storage solution might work best for you.

    Suggested reading: Read about the big data challenges that are driving innovative storage solutions.

    Get your instant HPE SAN quote in just under 2 minutes

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    HPE Alletra: Reinventing Storage


    HPE is globally known for its innovative data storage solutions, which are used by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as by global service providers. HPE’s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal devices, imaging, and printing products.

    Like many other data storage companies, HPE is placing increasing focus on its cloud platform solutions. HPE Alletra combines the benefits of two of HPE’s other cloud-native data infrastructures, Nimble and Primera, and is supported by HPE servers like HPE ProLiant.2

    HPE’s newest server series, Alletra 9000, boasts ultra low latency, integrated backup software, 144 maximum drives per enclosure, and a graphic user interface.3 Meanwhile, HPE Alletra 6000 claims three times faster performance than previous HPE Nimble Storage All Flash Arrays.

    Yet, beneath all the impressive statistics, the aims of these arrays are straightforward: allow users to easily mobilise their data, maximise their capital, and have uncompromising access to their data. 


    HPE Alletra is a trustworthy, user-friendly, and cost-effective hybrid storage platform with global recognition. Here, we’ve listed just a few of the benefits it could offer.

    1. Access data quickly

    Storing data in cloud-native infrastructures transforms the way in which we access and use it. Rather than owning vast quantities of important data — and storing it in potentially hazardous environments — companies using HPE Alletra are able to access it as-a-service. As a result, data becomes more mobile, more accessible, and more easily manageable.

    2. Use multiple servers

    HPE Alletra can be used by multiple servers. This means it may be a good choice for medium to large IT departments that handle a large amount of data on a day-to-day basis.

    3. AI-driven infrastructure management

    HPE Alletra utilises AI-driven predictive intelligence to make sure that customer applications are always accessible, where and when they’re needed. Alletra 9000 provides a 100% availability guarantee, while Alletra 6000 is not far behind with a 99.9999% availability guarantee.4 As a result, this product is well-suited to meeting demanding performance service-level agreements.

    4. A unified solution

    Traditional hybrid data storage systems work by siloing data into private and public clouds, often utilising on-prem object storage. Though this siloed approach can work well for some businesses, it may require close management and can make data difficult to access.

    HPE Alletra solves these difficulties by storing data in a cloud-native environment, allowing users to spend less time managing complex storage infrastructure. When manual repairs are required, it’s easy to access, repair, and replace parts.


    HPE Alletra undoubtedly has a number of unique benefits  — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your business. Here are some potential disadvantages that we have identified.

    1. No local apps

    Unlike other cloud storage systems, HPE Alletra does not support VMware ESXi, which prevents users from hosting apps locally and from deploying them onto the array. This could make it harder to organise and access vast quantities of data, or to access a specific piece of information quickly. 

    2. Limited compatibility

    HPE Alletra has limited compatibility with some commonly used storage accessories. Perhaps most significantly, the Storage Class Memory (SCM) can only be used as an extended read cache, and only in some server models.

    Suggested reading: Discover how HPE Alletra compares to Nimble.

    Dell Unity XT Hybrid Flash Arrays: breakthrough storage innovation


    Like HPE, Dell is a well-known and highly reliable technology company, serving a range of small and large businesses with innovative data storage solutions. Dell’s ongoing popularity in the IT field has seen them become one of the US’s leading technology companies, with a market value of $38.1 billion.5

    Dell recognised that many IT operators are facing an increasing number of challenges, including:

    • Growing data volumes
    • Complex storage and backup environments
    • Strict internal and external regulation
    • The need for cost-effective solutions

    The Unity XT HFAs, first released in 2019, aimed to solve these problems6. These arrays are a combination of Solid-State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), providing users with the benefits of both drives. Although Dell’s Unity XT HFAs are hybrid rather than cloud-native, they have a number of similar features and advantages to HPE’s Alletra.


    Unity XT HFAs undoubtedly have practical and cost-saving advantages over other data storage options. Let’s take a deeper look at a few of these upsides.

    1. High efficiency

    Dell’s Unity XT HFAs are built to be efficient, which is evident in their fast processing speeds, high flexibility, and all-inclusive data protection software. Users are able to consolidate mixed workloads into one array and migrate data from previous Dell systems, allowing for unified data storage.

    2. Extensive storage capacity

    The inclusion of HDDs provides Unity XT HFAs with extensive storage capacity — 16 PB raw capacity, or 1500 drives.7 Meanwhile, inline data reduction ensures that any data is stored with maximum efficiency. This high level of storage makes the array a good choice for SMEs who are looking for a long-term scalable data storage solution that retains the cost of initial investment. 

    3. Easy management

    Though the Unity XT HFAs may require more management than their cloud-native counterparts, they are one of the most user-friendly hybrid solutions available. They can be installed quickly, and managed using a web-based (HTML5) support system.

    With inbuilt data protection software, Unity XT HFA users can spend less time establishing disaster recovery solutions and more time focusing on the data at hand.

    4. Extended satisfaction guarantee

    Unlike HPE’s Alletra, Dell’s Unity XT HFAs has an extended satisfaction guarantee, giving users three years to trial their new data storage system.8 This is significantly longer than most other hybrid flash arrays, and allows companies plenty of time to assemble and test the product before committing to it.


    Unity XT HFAs are well-suited to clients with general purpose workloads, extensive specialised knowledge, and medium-large data storage needs. However, they may not suit everyone. Here are some of their downsides.

    1. High complexity 

    Unity XT HFAs are a complex combination of HDD and SSD, and often require a great deal of management to function with optimal efficiency. Staff members may need further training to understand how to maintain the infrastructure, and some IT departments may choose to purchase additional management tools.

    2. Performance mismatch

    The performance of hybrid flash vs flash has been well-documented, but remains an important comparison to consider when purchasing a data storage system. Hybrid flash performance, inevitably, will not be able to match that of an all-flash solution. Customers looking for high speeds and latency might therefore be better suited to cloud-native or flash systems.

    Access solutions that meet your specific needs


    Reliable and efficient data storage is critical to the smooth running of any modern business. However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has specific needs and requirements, and it’s essential that IT operators explore all available options before committing to a long-term storage choice.

    One method for selecting a data storage solution is by employing an outside IT expert. Managed service providers and IT experts such as Nexstor are able to access, implement, monitor and manage data storage systems based on your company’s specific needs. 

    Nexstor provides a range of businesses with invaluable data storage management solutions, offering cost-effective, future-proof systems. Contact us today to learn more about which data storage solutions best suit your needs.

    Get your instant Dell EMC SAN quote in just under 2 minutes

    Use our quote generator today to get the best SAN prices for leading Dell EMC storage solutions that best fit your specific business needs.

    1 Global IT spending to hit $4.4 trillion this year – World Stock Market

    2 Get more from your HPE ProLiant Servers with HPE Alletra dHCI solution brief 

    3 HPE Alletra – Cloud Native Data Infrastructure 

    4 HPE Storage Substantiation

    5 Top Tech Companies in 2022 – Forage 

    6 Software Innovation Powers the Unity XT 5.1 Release | Dell USA 

    7 Dell Unity XT 880 Hybrid Flash Array 

    8 Future-Proof Loyalty Program | Dell UK 

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    Rob Townsend

    Rob is a co-founder at Nexstor and has dedicated his career to helping a range of organisations from SME to Enterprise to get ahead of the game when it comes to their compute, storage and data needs.

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