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Hewlett-Packard on Monday unveiled several new significant additions to its storage portfolio including the ability to connect its 3PAR arrays directly to its blade servers without an SAN, a move directly targeting arch-rival Cisco's UCS technology.
HP, Palo Alto, Calif., introduced its new storage technology at the HP Discover conference, held this week in Las Vegas.
The new storage additions revolve around data center converged infrastructure, and they compete directly with such offerings as rival VCE's Vblocks, said Craig Nunes, vice president of marketing for HP storage.
Converged infrastructure refers to tying server, storage and IP networking into an integrated solution in order to give customers a single vendor source for building data centers and moving towards cloud computing.
HP was a pioneer in converged infrastructure technology with its Matrix offering. However, it has required a Fibre Channel network, which adds significantly to the cost.
No longer, Nunes said. With the new HP Virtual Connect Direct-Attach Fibre Channel for 3PAR Storage solution, HP's 3PAR plugs directly into the HP BladeSystem chassis via HP's Virtual Connect technology, eliminating the need for a Fibre Channel SAN.
"This is the industry's first 'flat SAN,'" Nunes said. "We're eliminating all the Fibre Channel hubs, the talking to other SAN equipment, and creating a direct connect to up to 768 server blades."
As a result, HP 3PAR storage, which until now required a Fibre Channel SAN, can now be implemented with HP's blade servers to form a converged infrastructure offering at 50 to 60 percent below the cost of a comparable Vblock, Nunes said. It also features about 2.5-times faster provisioning compared to Vblocks, he said.
"Now 3PAR connects directly to up to 768 blades," he said. "Just imagine how many virtual machines that supports. Thousands. It's pretty cool."
VCE Vblocks feature component from two HP arch rivals, including storage arrays from Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC, San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco networking gear, and Cisco UCS servers, which are integrated and shipped as a complete solution to customers.