HP adds DAS SAS to BladeSystem

By Kevin Komiega

-- Hewlett-Packard is taking a direct approach toward storage for blade servers. The company introduced a new storage expansion bundle this week that marries 3Gbps SAS with the StorageWorks 2000sa Modular Smart Array (MSA2000sa) to support up to 192TB of external shared storage directly connected to an HP BladeSystem enclosure.

The new direct-connect SAS bundle includes the new StorageWorks 3Gbps BL SAS Switch, new P700m Smart Array Controller, and the MSA2000sa.

The goal, according to Lee Johns, HP's director of marketing for entry storage, is to give server administrators access to a shared storage infrastructure by directly connecting the BladeSystem server enclosure to external SAS storage devices.

"Customers are asking for the resource-sharing capabilities of a SAN with the management, pricing, and connectivity associated with direct-attached storage [DAS]," says Johns.

Users can max out their total capacity to 192TB by adding four MSA2000sa arrays to the BladeSystem. Up to 32 BladeSystem servers in a C7000 or C3000 enclosure can share the storage. Each MSA features a controller and three disk trays with 12 1TB SATA drives.

HP BladeSystem direct-connect SAS storage is available in a variety of configurations. A bundle with redundant 3Gbps SAS BL switches and an MSA2000sa disk array will be available in December at a list price of $9,999.

HP also beefed up its support for virtual servers by enhancing its Virtual Connect 4Gbps Fibre Channel module to allocate storage resources on a per-virtual-machine basis. The upgrade streamlines storage and virtualization deployments for Fibre Channel users by allowing administrators to assign up to 128 separate SAN volumes per server blade.

On the server side, HP unveiled the ProLiant DL385 G5p, a rack-based server optimized for virtualization. The DL385 offers up to 6TB of internal storage, double the memory, and improved energy efficiency over previous generations. The DL385 is based on AMD’s new Opteron 2300 Series Quad-Core processor.

In addition, HP has a new Virtual Connect Flex-10 Ethernet module, an interconnect technology that can allocate the bandwidth of a 10GbE network port across four NIC connections. By distributing the capacity of a 10GbE port, Virtual Connect Flex-10 allows customers to assign different bandwidth requirements to each connection.

The recently announced HP ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade includes built-in Virtual Connect Flex-10 functionality that enables the BL495c to support up to 24 NIC connections. Existing HP ProLiant c-Class blade customers can upgrade to Virtual Connect Flex-10 with the new HP NC532m Flex-10 expansion card.

The Virtual Connect Flex 10 module costs $12,199, the NC532m Flex-10 NIC is priced at $699, the Virtual Connect 4Gbps Fibre Channel module is $9,499, and the ProLiant DL385 G5p starts at $2,259.

Related articles:
HP launches midrange storage virtualization platform
Virtualization: HP bundles EVA, clustering

This article was originally published on November 18, 2008