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HP Claims 99.999 Percent Uptime For New Storage Arrays

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday unveiled a new midrange EVA family of storage arrays with 25 percent higher performance and for the first time claimed 99.999 percent uptime.

At its annual Americas StorageWorks conference in Las Vegas, HP unveiled the EVA models 4100, 6100, and 8100, which feature performance boosting processors and a new cross-through internal switch that allows point-to-point connection between the controllers and the hard drives, giving the EVAs five nines (99.999 percent) up-time, said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HP StorageWorks.

"This is the first time we've talked about five nines," Eitenbichler said. "We've shipped close to 35,000 EVAs to customer sites. They have phone-home capability so we can see the up-time. In the last 12 months, it's been over five nines. And when an EVA is not up, it's typically because of issues with configuration change or other change management issues."

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based HP solution provider, said that the five nines claim is a huge benefit of the new EVAs.

"HP has the historical data to claim five nines," Baldwin said. "A lot of vendors claim five nines, but they don't have the numbers to back it up. If HP says five nines, they'll do it."

The new EVAs, which are architecturally the same as its previous 4000, 6000, and 8000 models, also now come with dynamic capacity management which, similar to thin provisioning in other arrays, allows storage volumes to automatically increase in capacity as applications need the space, Eitenbichler said.

However, unlike traditional thin provisioning, dynamic capacity management also allows volumes to automatically shrink as capacity is not needed, releasing that capacity so that it is available for other applications, Eitenbichler said.

Dynamic capacity management takes advantage of the virtual disk service volume shrink feature in Windows Server 2008 to dynamically adjust volume size, with versions of the feature expected to be available for other operating systems in the near future, Eitenbichler said. "The vast majority of EVAs are shipped to Windows environments," he said.

Also new is virtual snapshots. Like traditional data snapshots, a copy of the specified data can be made for use in archiving and testing. However, Eitenbichler said, the capacity of such a snapshot equals that of the original volume. A snapshot taken with the EVAs' virtual snapshot feature, on the other hand, only includes the actual data, and not the entire fixed volume, cutting the capacity required by half or more in many instances. The virtual snapshot can be mounted and used as if it were a full snapshot, he said.

The new EVAs also now offer tiered architecture within the arrays with a mix of high-performance Fibre Channel and lower-cost FATA (Fibre Channel-enhanced ATA hard drives), Eitenbichler said.

Because dynamic capacity management and virtual snapshots cut the amount of physical disk space required to store data, and because the lower-cost FATA drives use less power than Fibre Channel hard drives, the new EVAs use up to 45 percent less power than their predecessors, resulting in reduced power and cooling costs in the typical data center, Eitenbichler said.

The company is also helping cut power requirements with the new Ultrium 448 Tape Blade, a half-height tape storage that fits inside its BladeSystem c-Class enclosures, Eitenbichler said. It has a power saving mode that can achieve up to a 22 percent reduction in power use, he said.

Mark Gonzalez, vice president of Americas enterprise storage and server sales at HP, said it only makes sense for HP to make a tape blade. "Everything's going to blades," Gonzalez said. "HP has a 42-percent market share in blades, going to 50 percent. We had storage blades, not we'll have tape blades."

The blade is based on the LTO-4 tape drive, which HP is now offering as an option in some of its tape automation products, including the HP StorageWorks MSL, EML, and ESL E-series tape libraries, Eitenbichler said.

On the security side, the LTO-4 tape drives also include native AES 256-bit encryption to protect data from unauthorized access should a tape be stolen or lost.

Also new from HP is the HP Secure Advantage portfolio, which offers an identity-driven audit trail for policy monitoring and enforcement, HP executives said.

HP Secure Advantage is a collection of products and services to protect data in motion and data at rest for use in compliance and security audits, HP said. It encompasses enterprise key management for tape encryption, along with two-factor authentication and identity management, he said.

Also new is the HP Anti-phishing toolbar to help users manage passwords and usernames in order to thwart phishing attempts, HP said.

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