Storage Highlights From HP Tech Forum

Storage Highlights From HP Tech Forum

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is expected to make a variety of announcements across the IT spectrum at its HP Tech Forum conference in Las Vegas this week, but from a storage perspective the major announcements will be the StorageWorks P4800 BladeSystem SAN, EVA Cluster, and new internally-developed data deduplication software.

All of the announcements fall under the HP Converged Infrastructure umbrella.

The StorageWorks P4800 is HP’s first bladed SAN implementation, and is designed specifically for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments, according to Lee Johns, director of marketing, unified storage, in HP’s StorageWorks division. Based on LeftHand technology, the P4800 is integrated into HP BladeSystem enclosures to create the P4800 BladeSystem SAN.

Compared to a non-integrated approach to virtual desktops, the P4800 can support 1,600 users at 50% less cost and 60% less space, while eliminating the need for external switches and cabling, according to Johns. The P4800 can be configured with four storage blades connected to 140 disk drives for a capacity of up to 63TB. The drives are 6Gbps SAS drives with a 3Gbps SAS backend connection, and the internal network is 10Gbps iSCSI with external 10GbE network interfaces.

Two reference architectures are available, supporting VMware View or Microsoft Hyper-V with Citrix XenDesktop.

“One of the key barriers to end-user adoption of VDI has been the high cost of storage, and the P4800 is priced at about $750 per client,” says Johns, referring to one of the reference architectures.

Pricing for the HP StorageWorks P4800 BladeSystem SAN starts at $270,000.

EVA Cluster

HP is also expected to announce the StorageWorks EVA Cluster tomorrow, which allows end users to create a cluster of two to six EVA disk arrays. Alternatively, the cluster could include up to four disk arrays from other vendors via HP’s SAN Virtualization Services Platform.

Johns claims that an EVA Cluster provides up to a 300% improvement in utilization vs. non-clustered arrays. Users can create a virtual pool of storage with up to 2PB on 2,000 drives. Other features include automatic failover and thin provisioning.

An entry-level two-node configuration, each with a data path module (DPM) and Virtualization Services Manager (VSM), is priced starting at $63,600. The DPM and VSM are the base components needed to virtualize data on the nodes in a cluster.

Data Deduplication

Also tomorrow, HP is expected to announce data deduplication software that the company is positioning against EMC’s Data Domain platforms. HP StoreOnce deduplication software, which was developed by HP Labs, will initially ship with all of the company’s D2D backup platforms, ranging from the low-end D2D2500 up to the recently announced D2D4312, which scales up to 48TB.

“In the future we’ll deliver StoreOnce as a virtual appliance, with our tape backup software, and in more D2D backup appliances so you’ll be able to move data around without re-hydrating it,” says Johns. He positions StoreOnce as second generation deduplication technology.

“With first generation deduplication there are many different ways to do dedupe at many different locations in the infrastructure, and you need to re-hydrate data as it moves around. That’s inefficient,” says Johns. “StoreOnce can be deployed at multiple places in the infrastructure.”

StoreOnce on HP’s D2D platforms will compete directly with EMC’s Data Domain deduplication platforms.

Ron Cekala, director of IT systems administration at ARAMARK, uses both EMC Data Domain and HP D2D backup systems with StoreOnce deduplication software, although he says it’s too early to compare the Data Domain systems with the latest version of StoreOnce.

ARAMARK has been using previous versions of StoreOnce for about 10 months on four HP D2D2502i (iSCSI) appliances and a D2D4004fc (Fibre Channel) backup system in a file-based replication environment, but only recently began using the latest version of StoreOnce on HP’s new D2D4312 backup systems in an Oracle-based data center environment.

In the file-based replication scenario, Cekala says his company is achieving data deduplication ratios in the 25:1 range, and in the early implementation of StoreOnce in the Oracle environment he’s getting 10:1 deduplication ratios, which he expects will increase into the 15:1 range.

InfoStor will cover third-party product announcements from HP Tech Forum throughout the week.