HP launches first storage blade

With the on-time launch of a promised storage blade and a virtual storage array, HP hopes it is turning up the heat on IBM
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

HP has begun delivering on its promise to fill out its c-Class range of blade servers with the launch of its first storage blade for the 10U system, the StorageWorks SB40c blade, on Wednesday.

At the same time, HP launched a 500TB-plus enterprise virtual array gateway for blades, and a virtual array aimed at SMEs.

When it launched the c-Class blade system in June, HP said it would add to the range over time as part of its plan to challenge IBM and become "number one on the data centre".  Each HP StorageWorks SB40c storage blade has 876GB capacity per server using six 146GB drives.

The blades use PCI Express connectivity for linking blades together, HP's own Smart Array with 256MB backed-write cache, and six hot-plug SAS (3GB/s) or SATA (1.5GB) drives.

The US list price for the blade is $1,599 (£837). A fully stocked single blade cabinet with six 146GB drives costs $4,233.

"In June, Anne Livermore [head of the technology solutions group at HP] said that HP would 'blade everything' and we are following through on that promise by delivering our first dedicated storage blade," HP said in a statement.

Along with the storage blade, HP announced the StorageWorks Virtual Library System (VLS) 300 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway. This is designed to integrate into existing back-up applications and can emulate up to 1,024 tape drives and 128 libraries, the company said, and it can reduce back-up time by emulating multiple tape drives simultaneously.

The system is scalable up to 500TB and, HP claims, can provide a throughput of up to 8TB per hour.

The VLS 300 EVA Gateway costs around $57,750 (as with the blade server, no UK pricing is yet available) for a base unit which includes two nodes, along with switches with 25 base licences and 50GB per node. An expansion kit is available for $27,500. HP also pitched the StorageWorks EVA4000 SAN starter kit aimed at providing SMBs with a way to start a SAN.

"This is as straightforward as starting a SAN can be," said Pete Murray, HP's UK director of enterprise storage and servers. "It links in really way with Microsoft and products like their Simple SAN Programme."

The VLS 300 has a capacity of up to 56TB and, according to the company, is a complete out-of-the-box solution. Pricing was not available at the time of writing.

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