HP Extends Storage Virtualization With New EVA Arrays

The storage vendor also introduced a new version of its SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) appliance, which virtualizes HP and non-HP storage into a single managed pool, as well as enhancements to its Data Protector software.

The moves come as customers accelerate the consolidation and virtualization of their data infrastructures, said Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for storage platforms in HP's StorageWorks group.

"According to our research, customers are trending toward consolidation and virtualization," Fitze said. "And this trend is accelerating. About 56 percent of companies plan to consolidate and virtualize their data centers this year, while over 40 percent are continuing with existing virtualization plans."

To help with that virtualization, HP this week unveiled two new EVA arrays. The EVA6400, which is scheduled to replace the EVA6100, comes with an 8-GB cache memory and can be configured with up to 216 hard drives. The EVA8400, which is slated to replace the EVA8100, comes with either a 14-GB or 22-GB cache memory and can be configured with up to 324 hard drives.

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Both now include RAID 6 capability, which stripes the data across all the hard drives in the array in order to maximize the drives' performance, unlock stranded capacity caused by carving storage into multiple pools and eliminate the time required to manage multiple storage pools, Fitze said.

The new arrays also now support 72-GB solid state drives in order to improve the performance of certain applications, he said.

While Dhruv Gulati, executive vice president of Lilien Systems, a Larkspur, Calif.-based solution provider, has not had a chance to work with the new EVAs, he said the boost in performance promised by HP makes them very interesting to prospective customers.

However, Gulati said, he has not yet seen the kind of demand for SSDs that will make the technology more than a novelty for most customers in the foreseeable future.

"People like to learn about SSDs, and the drives will become widely adopted," he said. "But when HP came out with SSDs on its flagship XP arrays, the uptake was slow. But maybe with the lower price of the EVA, it may be better. It will be interesting to see if customers adopt SSDs."

The EVA is still a good, solid platform for customers, and compares well with competing products from companies such as EMC and Hitachi Data Systems, Gulati said.

The new EVAs are currently available.

An EVA6400 with 15 TB of 15,000-rpm drives, a Fibre Channel drive enclosure, a 42U rack and Command View software, has a list price of less than $189,000, Fitze said. A similarly configured EVA8400 with 27 TB of storage and a 14-GB cache lists for less than $340,000, he said.

HP's SVSP is an appliance that virtualizes multiple HP and non-HP arrays and allows customers to add such services as storage pooling, local and remote replication, and thin provisioning.

Version 2.1 of the SVSP has increased scalability by supporting up to four data paths, Fitze said. HP also has increased the SVSP's support for third-party servers and storage, and added a new management console that to the users acts and feels like the EVA's CommandView application, he said.

The increased scalability and support help customers work in expanded virtualized data center environments, Fitze said. "When moving to a virtual environment, the scalability and complexity often are not worth the trouble," he said. "The SVSP triples the capacity that an administrator can manage, and cuts the time to back up such environments by up to 80 percent."

HP partners with storage vendor LSI in building the SVSP, he said.

List price for the SVSP starts at $37,180.

HP also unveiled a new version of its HP Data Protector software.

New to this version is increased support for virtual environments, including the ability to protect the data of both virtual and physical servers with a single management console, said Jennifer Tisevich, worldwide product marketing manager of information management solutions at HP.

The new version also automates the backup, recovery and replication of virtual servers to HP's EVA arrays, Tisevich said.

Also new is data-reduction technology that cuts the space required for backing up data by up to 95 percent, she said.

HP also centralized the management of encryption keys used for encrypting data with Data Protector, she said.