HP announces 'extreme NAS'

Posted on June 01, 2008

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By Kevin Komiega

Hewlett-Packard plans to deliver in the fourth quarter the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System (ExDS9100), a high-performance, high-capacity NAS system specifically built to house and serve file-level data for businesses with multi-petabyte storage requirements, such as Web 2.0, digital media and other large enterprises.

The ExDS9100 consists of three primary components for performance, capacity, and management: an HP BladeSystem chassis, StorageWorks hardware that is sold in “blocks,” and file clustering software acquired from HP’s purchase of PolyServe.

A base configuration of the ExDS9100 starts with four server blades–each of which can deliver up to 200MBps of throughput–246TB of capacity, and the file clustering software. The system can scale to a maximum configuration of 16 blades with up to 12.8 cores per unit, for 3.2GBps of throughput and support for up to 10 storage blocks and a total of 820TB of capacity.

Users will be able to scale performance and capacity independently to meet workload requirements and eliminate the need for system downtime during upgrades.

Ian Duncan, director of SAN marketing for HP’s StorageWorks division, says two trends in the industry are driving the need for high-performance, high-capacity file storage systems: the explosion of file-based content in the Web 2.0 world, and traditional enterprises looking to monetize digital assets by delivering content over the Web.

Duncan says keeping prices down was a top concern for HP. Pricing for the ExDS9100 will vary by overall configuration, but should settle at somewhere less than two dollars per gigabyte, or $500,000 for an entry system, according to Duncan.

Analysts agree that file-level data will consume the majority of storage system capacities in the near future. Brad Nisbet, program manager, storage systems, at IDC, estimates that in 2008 just over half of disk storage systems petabytes shipped will be destined for deployment in support of some type of file-related data. By 2012, file data will account for more than 80%.

Nisbet says HP has tuned into customer needs by finally developing a more “packaged” system for its PolyServe technology. “Customers expect turnkey solutions as file-level requirements continue to grow,” he says.

However, HP is not necessarily breaking ground with the ExDS9100. “The file system and scalable technology HP acquired from PolyServe is indicative of what other vendors are offering,” says Nisbet. As examples, Nisbet cites vendors such as Isilon, BlueArc, Panasas, Exanet, and Ibrix, each of which is addressing similar opportunities, albeit in different ways.

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