HP To Upgrade Arrays, Roll Out Grid-Enabling Products

The company will continue to refresh those arrays' technology even as it rolls out products aimed at helping customers adopt a grid architecture for storage, company officials said.

By moving to a grid architecture, storage devices will no longer be stand-alone products, instead becoming intelligent nodes that can be quickly plugged into a grid for instant scalability and easy management, said Hal Woods, CTO for storage area networks for HP's StorageWorks unit.

The goal is enable customers to share storage devices as well as use them in new storage services that -- via a single, integrated architecture -- make the devices easier to install, reposition and manage, said Woods.

On the entry-level side, HP is finally implementing active-active controller support for its MSA1500 array, said Kyle Fitze, director of SAN marketing for HP's StorageWorks division. Expected by yearend, the move will allow the MSA1500 to work under the HP-UX operating system and support PV Links, which is HP's failover technology. "It has been a barrier to our HP-UX attach rate," he said.

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One solution provider said the channel has been waiting for active-active support on the MSA for some time, as that capability will increase performance and better enable load-balancing with the array. He added, however, that HP is at least a year behind in implementing active-active controller support.

The MSA1500 will also come with native iSCSI support in the next couple months, said Fitze.

For the midrange, HP plans to modify its XP12000 enterprise-class array by September so that the company's EVA3000 and EVA5000 midrange arrays can be attached behind it as part of a virtual storage pool, said Don Langeberg, director of marketing for HP's storage management software.

Similar modifications to HP's newest XP10000 array are also planned, said Langeberg. The XPs should also be able to attach HP's newer EVA4000, EVA6000 and EVA8000 arrays into the virtual pools by early next year, an HP spokesperson said.

The XP-series arrays, which HP OEMs from Hitachi Data Systems, allow arrays from multiple vendors to be attached behind its controllers to form a virtual storage pool. They currently support arrays from HDS, EMC and IBM.

The first half of next year will also see HP adding native iSCSI capabilities to its EVA arrays, said Fitze. "That makes them more suitable for midsize businesses," he said.