HP Folds 3PAR Into StorageWorks, Cloud Infrastructure

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday said it has integrated its recently-acquired 3PAR Utility storage technology into its HP Converged Infrastructure offerings, making 3PAR its go-to technology for cloud storage.

HP also introduced a new IBRIX NAS gateway that interfaces with 3PAR storage to turn it into a unified storage offering, as well as new dedupe, LeftHand virtualization, and Microsoft Exchange technologies.

The new storage technologies confirm channel speculation that HP is focusing its storage efforts going forward on technology it received from three major acquisitions, as well as its self-developed dedupe product line.

HP in September acquired 3PAR, a developer of enterprise-class storage arrays featuring such services as clustering, tiered storage, and thin provisioning, which allows applications to be configured with more storage capacity than is physically available.

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The company in 2009 acquired IBRIX, a developer of file-serving software that provides data protection, management and availability to scale-out and cloud computing environments.

HP in late 2008 also acquired LeftHand Networks, a developer of virtual iSCSI storage appliances.

The fourth tier is HP's StoreOnce deduplication technology, which it introduced in June.

HP did not unveil new products in its EVA midrange storage line, which is often seen as being pushed aside by the vendor as it brings its other technologies to market.

Craig Nunes, HP StorageWorks' director of marketing, said the market should not count EVA out. "We have some very big news coming there, but not for March 1," Nunes said. "There's no way it's disappearing. EVA is going to be around for a very long time."

The integration of 3PAR has gone smoothly, and is now HP's go-to product for private, public, and hybrid clouds as part of its Converged Infrastructure architecture, based on HP's BladeSystem Matrix technology, Nunes said.

"We needed to get 3PAR integrated into our BladeSystem Matrix, the blueprint for HP's cloud computing," he said. "Customers can now use BladeSystem Matrix to configure and manage 3PAR storage. I big part of what gets in the way of delivering cloud services is server, storage, and networking being delivered in silos. BladeSystem Matrix breaks down these silos."

The integration of 3PAR with HP's IBRIX X9300 Network Storage Gateway lets customers manage and tier their file-based data in combination with the thin provisioning capabilities of the 3PAR appliances, Nunes said. "With the X9300 and 3PAR, customers get a secure, multi-tenant block and file storage platform," he said.

With the integration of 3PAR technology comes new channel opportunities, Nunes said. Currently, about 20 percent of 3PAR sales goes through HP's solution providers, a significant increase over pre-acquisition 3PAR's channel coverage. "Obviously, there is a lot of room to grow that number substantially," he said.

There is definitely room for growth, said Dave Butler, president of Enterprise Computing Solutions, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider and long-term HP partner.

"When I look at 3PAR, which is a cloud-based solution, it fits so well in HP's Converged Infrastructure it's unbelievable," Butler said.

Because of the way HP designed its Converged Infrastructure architecture to blend the boundaries between storage, server, and networking technologies, it does not depend on any single storage technology, Butler said.

"It has a great value proposition if customers go with 3PAR, LeftHand, or IBRIX storage," he said. "The Converged Infrastructure has to be universal, and let customers pick what storage they need.

HP on Tuesday also enhanced several other parts of its storage portfolio.

Next: New Dedupe, Virtual Storage, Exchange Offerings

The company doubled the capacity of its StoreOnce dedupe appliance, giving it the ability to back up to 1.4 petabytes of data, compared to 700 TBs previously, Nunes said. The ingest rate, or the rate at which data can be backed up to the appliance, is now 4 TBs per hour, compared to 2.8 TBs per hour previously.

HP also introduced a new lower-end version of its LeftHand P4800 iSCSI appliance. That new version, the P4800 G2, can now be configured with only two controllers instead of the previous base configuration of four controllers, and can be configured with half the drives it came with before, giving customers a chance to acquire the appliance for about half the original starting price, Nunes said.

HP has also integrated VMware vStorage APIs to its LeftHand P4000 software for creating virtual storage appliances that can offload the overhead of running backup tasks from inside each virtual machine. The P4000 virtual appliances also now have a VMware vCenter plug-in for central management of storage tasks.

The company is also rolling out three new E5000 Messaging System appliances which combine two servers, storage capacity, and Windows and Exchange technology for quickly deploying Microsoft Exchange environments for customers.