HP set to launch storage blades in Australia

Sales to double within 12 months

Hewlett-Packard is launching its first dedicated storage blade for its BladeSystem c-Class enclosure product line in Australia next week.

Australian product manager Deke Rayner-Harvey said it will give users access to up to 876GB of storage, and will be available locally at the end of November.

With this release, Rayner-Harvey said HP's blade systems sales will double within 12 months.

"In Australia and New Zealand, the largest area for the growth of blades is finance. telecommunications and government," he said.

" We have seen strong sales growth driven by our customer's desire to find a simple and cost effective IT infrastructure. Adoption of HP blade servers here has been consistent with strong growth trends around the world."

HP is also beefing up the capacity of its virtual tape library and enhancing a starter kit so users can set up a SAN in 20 minutes.

Rayner-Harvey said the HP StorageWorks SB40C storage blade, intended for file and print applications, mail and messaging, video streaming and small databases, is a direct-attached storage (DAS) blade that provides more storage than HP's existing server blades.

The BladeSystem c-Class enclosure, announced in June, holds up to 16 blades, either server or storage, he said. Each storage blade can support up to six 2.5-in serial-attached SCSI drives of up to 146GB, meaning that each storage blade can support up to 876GB, he said.

Users install a storage blade by plugging it into an enclosure that already has a server blade in it, and the server blade automatically sees the additional drives and starts an array configuration application that lets the user set up the array, including defining support for RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 6, Rayner-Harvey said.

Illuminata analyst John Webster said the storage blade gives organizations that are using HP servers with DAS a way to upgrade and consolidate their servers without having to migrate to network-attached storage (NAS) as well.

"Users don't always want to migrate to NAS because just replacing servers with blades is a big enough step," he said.

However, Joseph Martins, an analyst for Data Mobility Group, said he was hoping that major storage vendors such as HP would start providing information management functionality rather than just the storage capacity itself, such as providing an information management library, performing versioning and letting users check files in and out.

Martins said he would like features to be available in content management systems, such as EMC's Documentum, to trickle down to storage systems.

HP is also announcing the StorageWorks Virtual Library System 300 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway, which provides a more capacity than the company's existing 1000i VLS and 6000 VLS, said Kyle Fitze, director of SAN marketing for HP's StorageWorks division. Users combine the gateway product with EVA storage arrays to create a virtual tape library, Fitze said.

Virtual tape libraries reduce backup windows by performing disk-to-disk backups before offloading data to tape media, which is considerably slower. They also improve restore speeds because copies of the data can be kept on the backup disk for a specified period of time.

The VLS 300 supports up to six EVA storage arrays for a total of 500TB of disk capacity, said Fitze. By comparison, the existing VLS 6000 product, which will continue to be sold, scales to 70TB, he said. This storage capacity can appear to servers to be up to 128 tape libraries and up to 1,024 tape drives, he said. Fitz said there can be up to eight gateway nodes, he said.


The major advantage of HP's VLS enhancements is that, because the VLS 300 EVA Gateway is compatible with HP's existing 1000i and 6000 VLS systems, users get access to the increased capacity and performance levels without having to make major changes in their other processes and procedures.

HP is also enhancing its HP StorageWorks EVA4000 SAN Starter Kit, Fitze said. Previous versions of the kits had users choose a switch and host bus adapter (HBA), while this kit bundles everything, he said. HP is partnering with Emulex Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. to provide the 4GB/sec Light Pulse E 1150 HBA and the switch, respectively, he said.

In addition, in the previous version, the HBA, switch and storage array components each had their own management software. The enhanced kit adds a single software product, EZPilot, for configuration and startup, McIntyre said. EZPilot was developed by Emulex and Brocade.

The EZPilot software makes it easier for users to set up a SAN in comparison with the existing version of the HP StorageWorks EVA4000 SAN Starter Kit, Fitze said. The EZPilot software discovers the HBA and the switch, helps the user configure each, and then helps the user do a base configuration of the EVA array itself, he said.

With the new EZPilot software, users can now set up a SAN in 20 minutes, McIntyre said. HP is also selling the HP StorageWorks EVA4000 SAN Starter Kits to channel partners who can add value, such as by factory-configuring the hardware in a rack, Fitze said.

- with Sharon Fisher

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