HP Moves To Refresh Storage Appliance Line

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Following up its acquisition of storage software vendor StorageApps last July, Hewlett-Packard plans to ship a new in-band storage virtualization appliance next month.

The HP StorageApps SV3000 appliance virtualizes HP, Compaq Computer and EMC storage arrays into a heterogeneous storage pool. Virtualization frees customers from worrying about which vendor's array is connected to which system, improving their storage utilization and cutting management costs, said Genevieve Sullivan, storage marketing and operations manager at HP.

The SV3000 is aimed at midsize businesses, especially those running Microsoft Exchange, since these companies typically lack the resources for high-end storage solutions, Sullivan said. The appliance supports Linux and can be upgraded to iSCSI once that standard is finalized, she said. The product offers 14 Fibre Channel ports supporting 2-Gbps throughput, eliminating the need to purchase a Fibre Channel switch.

Other features include improved data replication and mirroring, with peer nodes that allow for quick recovery if a failure occurs during the mirroring process; the ability to pause and resume mirroring operations; mirroring to mul-tiple remote devices; and compact, point-in-time data images.

"[The SV3000 gives solution providers entry into a space they have not had access to before," Sullivan said. "They can now approach users other than HP users and bring virtualization to the [Windows NT marketplace."

Virtualization enables customers to optimize their storage capacity, said Dan Carson, vice president of marketing at Open Systems Solutions, a Yardley, Pa.-based storage solution provider. "Virtualization is needed both for connecting multiple vendors' storage systems and for managing data across those different storage devices," he said.

Virtualization appliances support multiple file systems better than out-of-band solutions, Carson said. However, appliances also could present a single point of failure and be a performance bottleneck, he added.

The SV3000 carries a list price of $125,000, compared with $270,000 for HP's current SANlink appliance. HP sells SANlink direct, but the company plans to sell the SV3000 through partners.

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