HP reveals green storage technology

Company claims that it can half power and cooling costs in data centres as it announces a raft of products at its Las Vegas conferences

HP has aimed for the high ground, stressing its "green" credentials with a number of product announcements at three Las Vegas conferences this week.

HP says that its new storage array technology will cut power and cooling costs in data centres by 50 percent, but the company offered few details on how this was to be achieved.

Innovations include a new blade for the c-Class chassis that will be the first blade fitted with a tape drive, performance enhancements for the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) family, tape drives based on the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) 4 standard and new DAT 160 tape drives for SMEs.

The company also revealed new security products, as well as updated services, in its drive to promote business-technology optimisation.

The announcements came as part of three conferences: HP Technology Forum, HP StorageWorks and HP Software Universe, which were attended by a total of more than 10,000 people.

Speaking at the joint Technology Forum/StorageWorks conference on Monday, HP's chief executive and chairman, Mark Hurd, said that the announcements were part of a strategy that would show that it was possible to make the company's product line greener and make money at the same time. "Being green is great for the environment. It's also great for IT," he said. "It's great for costs. Part of that came from the ability to virtualise. We are going to virtualise everything, virtualise our storage, virtualise our servers, as we go."

The two strands of the announcements in Las Vegas centred on storage and security. According to analyst firm StorageIO Group, storage accounts for 37-40 percent of overall data-centre power. HP's 6100 and 8100 mid-range disk arrays can improve power efficiency by up to 45 percent, the company claims, while improving performance by 24 percent. It does this by using "dynamic capacity management" (DCM), a technique which allows IT managers to control disk usage so that disks are only allocated with enough storage capacity to meet immediate needs.

HP says the technique is similar to thin provisioning, a technique first announced by Hitachi, a partner of HP, in May. Thin provisioning can cut costs because it means that, instead of around 50 percent of disk capacity running without data and thus using energy, IT managers can allocate around 50 percent less, on current estimates by Hitachi, HP and others.

The HP LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 tape drive for mid-sized and enterprise customers has tape backup that consumes up to 50 percent fewer watts per gigabyte than previous generations, HP claims, along with 256-bit data encryption that helps protect user data in the event of lost tapes.

The Ultrium 448c Tape Blade is a half-height tape storage blade that provides data protection for c-Class servers and storage blades. Useful for customers not connected into a storage area network, the Ultrium 448c provides direct-attached data protection for both half-height and full-height c-Class server blades.