HP updates mid-range StorageNetworks SANs

The company has refreshed and renamed its LeftHand range with a SAN for businesses undertaking server virtualisation
Written by Manek Dubash, Contributor on

HP has launched two additions to its StorageWorks storage area network range: an update to its now-renamed LeftHand line, and a new Modular Smart Array system.

Announced on Tuesday, the StorageWorks P4000 G2 SAN is aimed at enterprises undertaking server virtualisation projects. The second-generation storage array replaces HP's LeftHand P4000 SAN, and rebrands the line HP picked up in its acquisition of LeftHand Networks.

"We added iSCSI for the enterprise, along with application capability, so [the P4000 G2 is] certified for use with applications such as SAP and Oracle," said HP's UK and Ireland StorageWorks manager Richard Masterson.

The system includes a new version of SAN/iQ software, version 8.5, that will offer network Raid in Levels 5 and 6. The previous version offered just Raid Level 1, so the upgrade should produce an increase in capacity of up to 50 percent, according to HP. Network Raid, which can stripe and mirror data across separate storage nodes, allows IT managers to choose how many replicated copies of their data are distributed across the SAN.

The P4000 G2 also includes analysis software that monitors and compares the SAN with what HP described as "lab-tested best practices". The system can then alert IT managers to adjustments that can be made to improve performance.

HP said the system also simplifies data management through automated application snapshotting, remote copying and cloning features, with the aim of improving the reliability of data backup and restore.

Other new features include the ability to scale the system in smaller, 12TB increments, which could help keep the cost of adding capacity down. It also uses 7200 RPM SAS disks, which come at the price of Sata disks and which bring faster disk reads and writes. The introduction of a P4000 NAS Gateway will provide IT managers with access at file level, such as Windows shares, HP said.

The other HP network storage product launch on Tuesday was the StorageWorks P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array (MSA) System, which sits at the top of HP's existing MSA range.

The P2000 G3 is aimed at smaller enterprises. "We see the P2000 as primary storage for the SMB market, but its data-protection features mean it's also suited to departmental use in larger enterprises," said Masterson.

The new MSA provides increased physical capacity compared with its predecessor. It has 96 slots for 3.5-inch drives, a 60 percent rise, or 149 slots for 2.5-inch drives, a 50 percent rise. That provides a maximum storage capacity of 149TB.

The P2000 also has two new controllers. The first controller comes as standard and offers two 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports, up from the previous 4Gbps. The second, optional, device offers a pair of 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and a 1Gbps iSCSI port that provides access to lower-performance applications.

In addition, the P2000 offers replication in software, so data can be replicated to a second P2000 G3 array for disaster-recovery purposes. The existing P2000 replicates only within the same unit. Also new is snapshotting, which automatically captures local copies of stored data. The product includes a licence for up to 64 snapshots, scalable to 512 snapshots for a cost of £2,449.

The P2000 is available now for an entry-level price of £7,817, according to HP. The price has yet to be announced for the optional controller.

The P4000 G2 SAN is also on sale now, costing from £13,125. The accompanying NAS Gateway is scheduled for release in April, with no price yet announced.

SAN/iQ version 8.5 will ship with all P4000 G2 SAN systems, and will be available free to existing P4000 and LeftHand Networks customers for download on 29 March.

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