HP's New Storage System Is 8-Gbit FC-Ready

The new EVA4400 will also be one of the first arrays on the market to be available with the new 8-Gbits per second Fibre Channel interface, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor said.

The EVA4400 features a redesigned 4-Gbps Fibre Channel controller which can be upgraded to 8-Gbps performance when needed, said Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for HP's StorageWorks SAN division.

Sometime in the next couple of months, HP plans to offer an 8-Gbps Fibre Channel switch that can be integrated into the EVA4400, Fitze said.

The EVA4400 also includes HP's SmartStart technology, which allows the quick installation and configuration of the array, cutting the set-up time to about one hour compared to four hours in the past, he said.

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The EVA4400 is priced starting at about $15,000 with two controllers and management software. That is about 20 percent less than the company's EVA4100, which will be replaced by the EVA4400 over time, Fitze said. It is also close to the price of the company's MAS line of arrays. "It closes the price/functionality gap between the MAS and the EVA lines," he said.

The EVA4400 will help bring high performance and high scalability to the small and midrange storage customers, said Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based HP solution provider.

In addition to the high performance, the EVA4400 also takes the new 1-Tbyte SATA hard drives, making it useful for archiving and for second-tier storage purposes, Baldwin said.

"HP has taken the same software and added a lot of functionality," he said. This will extend the reach of HP storage."

Stephen Lynch, solutions architect at LeTigre Solutions, a Houston-based solution provider, said in an e-mailed response that when comparing the EVA4400 against past EVAs, HP is now handling the pre-configuration at the factory before customers even get their hands on it. They no longer need to perform the complicated initialization steps when they receive the EVA4400, Lynch said.

"Out of the box they can just plug it in and use HP's SmartStart for EVA to easily configure their Disk Groups, their LUNs and present the new storage to their servers," Lynch said. "Just about everything is easier compared with the past EVAs. Small to midsize customers, who may not have the technical expertise to manage a SAN, can still assign the management of the storage to an existing system administrator with very little training and knowledge transfer. For those customers who need it, HP and LeTigre can help simplify installation and migration."

The EVA4400's 8-Gbit Fibre Channel interface is also an important feature, Lynch said.

"With the additional throughput of the EVA4400, more servers can be connected to the SAN and with greater throughput and IOPS," he said. "Nobody's really adopted 8-Gbit Fibre Channel yet, but the fact that the EVA4400 has already incorporated 8-Gbit fiber is important."

The EVA family has had a strong run for several years, with over 40,000 units sold to date, Fitze said. In the company's first quarter earnings call last week, HP reported that EVA sales grew 14 percent year-over-year, the 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, he said.

He also said that the EVA has historically shown five-nines (99.999 percent) of availability.