HP updates storage for standardised datacentres

The XP Disk Arrays range has been re-designed into the P9500 disk array for large, homogenous, standardised datacentre environments alongside modular options, such as containers
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

HP updated its StorageWorks XP Disk Arrays product line on Monday with the release of the P9500 StorageWorks Disk Array hardware, along with software and licensing options.

The P9500 takes the hardware of the HP StorageWorks XP Disk Arrays range, adds more storage and uses smaller cabinets aimed at a modern, homogenised datacentre environment. With shipping expected for November, the P9500 is part of HP's converged infrastructure product portfolio for the datacentre.

"What has changed is we have lowered the barriers to entry somewhat — people can start with a much smaller environment and seamlessly grow it out, and we've also lowered the impact on the datacentres," Catherine Campbell, chief strategist for HP's storage division, told ZDNet UK.

Campbell explained that one of the major shifts has been the re-designing of the system for a 19-inch rack form factor, "which sounds trivial, but is something that has caused huge headaches to operations guys [in customer datacentres] because these arrays had come in supersized racks that meant they needed huge space allocated to them and special cooling", she said.

HP is aiming the product at applications in manufacture and distribution, logistics, communications, media and hosting. she said. The company is also for customers that "are looking to run subsidiary country operations using the containerised datacentre. It's very much easier for them to do that with products that fit into the standard rack".

The P9500 can be scaled from one to six cabinets, with a maximum raw capacity of 1.2 petabytes, split across up to 2,048 2.5-inch small form factor (SFF) drives. The array supports the Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, VMware, Microsoft Windows, Linux and HP OSes HP-UX, HP Tru64 UNIX, HP OpenVMS and HP NonStop operating systems.

The P9500 has been designed to complement HP's P9000 StorageWorks Software portfolio, which includes 10 different software packages, three of which are brand new and three of which have undergone major changes. The first new software package, Array Manager, provides web-based management capabilities of the P9500.

The second, Smart Tiers, allows data in Thin Provisioning virtualised pools to be migrated to different tiers of storage automatically or manually, based on user-set policies. The third, the Application Performance Extender (Apex), allows administrators to set bandwidth or response time targets to ensure they meet their service level agreements. Apex will be available for both the P9500 and the previous products in the range, the XP24000 and the XP20000.

The three software packages that have undergone major updates are: Performance Advisor, which allows monitoring of performance across the P9500 and XP range of storage products; Thin Provisioning, which allows the creation of virtualised storage pools; and Command View Advanced Edition, which allows for a range of management capabilities. 

Because of the range of HP software that the P9500 has been designed around, HP has introduced a new type of software licensing. Likening it to a "pre-pay phone contract", Campbell explained that HP has introduced "meter-based licensing" for the P9500.

"If you have software titles you use intermittently or want to move between machines, you can buy pre-paid software licences for them on a per-terabyte, per-day basis, and use them on an as-needed basis," Campbell said. Further information on how the licensing would work was not available at the time of writing.

A typical one cabinet entry system with 10 terabytes of high speed disk drives and software to manage the system, installation and a support package will be around $250,000 (£158,000), HP told ZDNet UK.

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