HP formalizes virtualization strategy

By Heidi Biggar

Just six months after acquiring StorageApps, a provider of storage virtualization software, for $350 million, Hewlett-Packard earlier this month formally announced its virtualization strategy and a new midrange virtualization appliance: the StorageApps sv3000.

Hewlett-Packard officials say the news is proof of its commitment to virtualization and its year-old Federated Storage Area Management (FSAM) strategy.

HP claims that FSAM can lead to a tenfold increase in network/storage administration efficiency with the same people print. It does so by pooling disparate storage systems under a consolidated management console. Virtualization is a key component/enabler of the architecture.

HP defines federated storage as "physically separate domain(s), types, and vendors of networked storage devices that operate as one logical resource." Gartner Inc. defines storage area management as "the centralized management of resources and data across a storage domain(s), providing shared services to a group of servers and their applications."

"[With the StorageApps acquisition,] we put the 'F' in FSAM," says Nicos Vekiarides, acting general manager of HP's Storage Virtualization Solutions group. "It's the piece that manages, and ties together, heterogeneous storage." Loosely translated, federated storage is storage virtualization.

Virtualization simplifies management by providing users with a logical view of physical resources, which facilitates management and data sharing, and makes it easier to scale storage networks. It is also a stepping-stone to a wide variety of applications such as data replication and snapshot.

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According to HP officials, the key benefits of virtualization appliances are:

  • Simplified management—consolidated view of a single, virtual storage pool;
  • Lower overhead—fewer people needed to manage resources;
  • Increased uptime—capacity can be added or re-assigned on-the-fly; and
  • Cost-effective local mirroring of heterogeneous systems.

In December, HP announced SureStore SANlink, a network appliance that sits in the data path (i.e., in-band) and provides connectivity to heterogeneous storage (Dell, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, and LSI Logic) and servers (HP-UX, Solaris, and Windows NT/2000).

With the announcement of the StorageApps sv3000 this month, HP adds support for Linux, EMC Symmetrix, and Compaq StorageWorks. The company also improved on SANlink's data-protection capabilities with new replication and redundancy features and improved data utilization with compacted point-in-time copy.

Standard features include heterogeneous host support, local Fibre Channel mirroring, LUN access control, and support for up to 14 2Gbps Fibre Channel ports. Point-in-time image, remote IP replication, and support for heterogeneous storage are optional.

Pricing for StorageApps sv3000 starts at $110,000, with general availability slated for next month.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2002