HP Brings Sub-LUN Tiering To SMBs With StoreVirtual 4335

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday expanded its StoreVirtual virtualized storage line with a hybrid storage array, bringing tiered SSD and hard disk to its SMB customers and channel partners.

The new HP StoreVirtual 4335 storage appliance brings HP's Adaptive Optimization technology, which is HP's term for the ability to tier storage at the sub-LUN level, to the SMB market, said Vish Mulchand, director of product management and marketing for HP storage.

Sub-LUN tiering monitors frequently accessed blocks of data and moves them to a higher-performance storage tier such as an SSD or to flash storage in a server. Blocks of older data that have not been accessed for some time can also be moved to lower-cost storage technology.

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The HP 3PAR enterprise storage line was the first from the vendor to introduce Adaptive Optimization sub-LUN tiering, Mulchand said.

HP in August also brought sub-LUN tiering to its StoreVirtual VSA (virtual storage appliance) software-defined storage offering.

The ability to automatically tier data in small blocks is important in increasingly virtualized data center environments, Mulchand said.

"As flash storage becomes pervasive, we're introducing capabilities from our enterprise storage to our SMBs," he said. "Almost everyone is virtualizing today. And with virtualization, storage becomes the bottleneck. With sub-LUN virtualization, SMBs can virtualize their environments at an affordable price."

Sub-LUN tiering is a very important capability, said Dan Molina, CTO at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and long-time HP partner.

"Most storage technologies tier at the LUN level," Molina said. "The 4335 goes to the sub-LUN level. It makes for very efficient space utilization. If data is tiered in bigger chunks, you need to move excess data between the SSD and the hard drive."

The HP StoreVirtual 4335 is a complete hardware-based appliance, but it is otherwise identical in function to the HP StoreVirtual VSA virtual storage appliance, said Brad Katz, manager for product management and market for the HP StoreVirtual line.

The HP StoreVirtual VSA, including a version provided free with all HP ProLiant server sales, installs via a hypervisor on any industry-standard server to provide full SAN capabilities, Katz said.

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Nth Generation's Molina said there is some overlap between the HP StoreVirtual 4335 and recent entry-level HP 3PAR storage solutions.

"3PAR has been getting tremendous momentum," he said. "There is some overlap with the StoreVirtual 4335. But HP is smart. The StoreVirtual line starts at the small business level and works up to the midrange. 3PAR starts at the enterprise and comes down to the midrange."

The StoreVirtual 4335, which is currently shipping, has a list price of $41,000 for a fixed configuration including seven 900-GB 10,000-rpm hard drives and three 400-GB SSDs. Like all StoreVirtual appliances, up to 16 nodes can be configured in a cluster, or up to 32 nodes can be connected in a management group, HP's Katz said.

The HP StoreVirtual line is based on storage virtualization technology HP got with its 2008 acquisition of LeftHand.

HP StoreVirtual storage technology is available only via HP's indirect sales channels, HP's Mulchand said.