HP launches midrange storage virtualization platform

By Kevin Komiega

-- Hewlett-Packard is getting into the network-based storage virtualization game with the news that it is set to ship the HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP), a new system that can migrate and manage data between midrange arrays in heterogeneous SAN environments

The SVSP is a network-based platform that 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.

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), a SAN product that provides virtual volume management in heterogeneous environments.

At launch, the SVSP works with HP's StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays (MSAs) and the Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVAs) as well as third-party arrays to centralize the management of a virtualized SAN environment.

The current support matrix includes 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, with support for more systems 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. The SVSP is sold through a tiered pricing structure based on total capacity under management.

The SVSP is expected to ship in December.

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 spent $880 million on these types of products in 2008, a 55.7% increase over 2007.

Related articles:
Virtualization: HP bundles EVA, clustering
HP acquires LeftHand
LSI StoreAge SVM - Simplifying Heterogeneous Storage Virtualization

This article was originally published on November 06, 2008