HP targets efficiency with virtual storage

With new hardware and software, the company aims to get more efficiency out of resources
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

HP on Tuesday announced new storage virtualisation products designed to reduce the need for customers to upgrade their existing storage.

The StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) 6400 and 8400, together with updated SAN Virtualization Services Platform 2.1 software, should enable customers to reallocate storage resources and simplify storage management across virtual and physical environments, HP said. A virtual array of drives encompasses a number of physical drives with virtual drives stored on them.

HP said the EVA6400 and 8400 balance transfer performance against capacity — the smaller a virtual drive is, the faster a transfer can happen. The size of the virtual drive will grow or shrink as applications demand, and they will do that automatically as the storage requirements change.

The two new drives are replacing the EVA6100 and EVA8100. They can accommodate more virtual storage capacity, holding up to 324 drives compared with up to 240. They also have larger caches, going as high as 22GB, as opposed to up to 8GB.

According to Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for HP's storage, another option is to install solid-state drives (SSDs) in the 6400 and 8400 arrays for fast access to information stores. Customers will be able to integrate multiple SSDs as large as 72GB, Fitze said.

Other options introduced on Tuesday include V-Raid 6, a virtual implementation of Raid 6 data storage.

On the software side, the SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) allows enterprises to virtualise storage across multiple arrays, including those supplied by other vendors, HP said. These will include storage arrays from IBM, EMC, Sun and NetApp.

Neal Clapper, vice president of StorageWorks for Europe, said the aim was to offer a flexible storage environment and the upgraded EVA was an important part of that.

"EVA is for customers who have made the investment in direct storage and Fibre Channel," Clapper told ZDNet UK. "Added to that, for customers who have this messy heterogeneous platform, we have the SAN virtualisation services platform."

"The payback time period is clearly measured," Clapper said. "The difference is that they will get paybacks in six months or four months instead of much longer, and now we have LeftHand Networks, which is a great natural transition for customers with virtual environments who want to consolidate their storage into a shared storage environment."

The HP EVA6400 is $24,240 (£17,600) and the EVA 6800 is $41,456. The SAN Virtualisation Service Platform is $37,180.

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