HP launches virtualization platform

By Kevin Komiega

This month, Hewlett-Packard began shipping the HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP), a network-based storage virtualization system that can migrate and manage data between midrange arrays in heterogeneous SAN environments

The SVSP pools capacity across heterogeneous storage hardware from HP and other vendors. It provides users with storage services, such as online data migration, thin provisioning, and replication—including clones, snapshots, synchronous local mirroring, and asynchronous remote mirroring for disaster recovery.

Thomas Rallens, HP’s research and development manager for the SVSP product, says the platform uses a split-path architecture to move and manipulate data without bogging down network traffic and performance by separating data flow from management processes.

Hewlett-Packard’s SVSP pools heterogeneous disk arrays and provides services such as volume management, data migration, snapshots, clones, local synchronous mirroring, remote asynchronous mirroring, and thin provisioning.

The SVSP separates data movement and management from the data path, meaning users can scale the processing power needed to handle data path workloads independently from the resources used for management.

“This is a storage virtualization platform for customers experiencing a proliferation of midrange storage arrays,” Rallens says. “Users need to find ways to reduce overall costs, whether it’s through migrating from old arrays to new technologies or consolidating to reduce footprint, administration costs, and power and cooling requirements.”

The virtualization technology is based on a partnership with LSI; however, Rallens says the SVSP is uniquely HP in terms of the look and feel of its user interface.

LSI’s virtualization platform is the StoreAge SVM (Storage Virtualization Manager), which provides virtual volume management in heterogeneous environments.

The SVSP currently works with HP’s StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) and the Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) systems, as well as third-party arrays to centralize the management of a virtualized SAN environment. Third-party arrays currently sup- ported include IBM’s DS 4000 and FAStT systems, EMC’s Clariion CX arrays, Sun’s StorageTek 6000 family, and a range of SGI’s TP arrays. Support for more systems is expected in the near future.

The SVSP is only sold and supported in high-availability configurations that require a minimum of two data movers in a dual fabric SAN. The platform is priced from $43,900 for a 4TB software license and is sold through a tiered pricing structure based on total capacity under management.

According to IDC’s vice president of storage systems research, Rick Villars, the market for midrange storage virtualization products is strong. IDC’s latest forecast for network-based, block-level storage virtualization revealed that companies around the world will spend $880 million on these types of products in 2008—a 55.7% increase over 2007.

This article was originally published on December 01, 2008