HP Expands Virtual Storage For OpenStack, Intros Entry All-Flash 3PAR Arrays

Hewlett-Packard expanded its software-defined storage strategy Friday with several additions to its storage lineup targeting virtualized and cloud environments, with a particular emphasis on OpenStack cloud implementations.

HP unveiled enhancements to its StoreOnce Virtual Storage Appliance and its StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance, as well as introduced a lower-cost version of its all-flash 3PAR storage array.

Together, they help prepare customers and partners to deploy software-defined data centers, said Dale Degen, category manager for HP's software-defined storage technology.

[Related: Dell's Two-Part Plan: Merge Storage Platforms, Develop 'Blue Thunder' Software-Defined Storage]

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"We've been bringing together a lot of investments in software-defined data centers, and preparing them for next week's VMworld," Degen told CRN.

The idea of a software-defined data center is not just another marketing acronym, said Steve Lankard, CTO and vice president of technology solutions architecture for OnX, a Toronto-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"The industry has seen the advantage of using industry-standard hardware with compute resources, and is looking to do the same with storage and networking," Lankard told CRN. "They see the advantages that come from standardization of components, a move away from vendor lock-in, and a faster speed to deploying assets."

HP has become a leader when it comes to technology for building OpenStack-based clouds and has been making big bets on that technology with its own HP Helion OpenStack cloud, Lankard said.

"We see a lot of opportunities to provide the technology and services for OpenStack using HP," he said. "We're doing it now."

HP is using next week's VMworld conference to introduce several updates to its virtual storage arrays, or VSAs, to make them more compatible with virtualized and cloud environments, Degen said.

For the StoreVirtual VSA, which is a virtual array for primary storage based on HP's acquisition of LeftHand, HP is adding KVM to its list of compatible hypervisors which, until now, included VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V, Degen said.

The company also added space reclamation based on the industry-standard T10 UNMAP iSCSI command to reclaim space opened up as virtual machines migrate to new hosts. This quickly makes such space available for other uses, Degen said.

Also new is a multi-pathing extension for VMware vSphere environments, which allows every host in a cluster to know where every bit of data resides in order to more efficiently migrate virtual machines.

"This hasn't been an issue with spinning hard disks, but is becoming an issue with the use of low-latency flash storage," he said.

Both the StoreVirtual VSA and HP's StoreVirtual physical appliances have also been given an updated Cinder interface to support OpenStack management and also now have a full suite of RESTful APIs, Degen said.

NEXT: More Opportunities For Virtual Storage Appliances, All-Flash 3PAR Arrays

"StoreVirtual has supported Cinder for a year, but is now open for the new Icehouse version of Cinder," Degen said. "This presents StoreVirtual as a shared block-based storage device to OpenStack. This lets customers build data centers with OpenStack technology and use the Cinder drivers with StoreVirtual to create shared storage for public and private clouds."

HP also enhanced its StoreOnce VSA, used for data protection, with the introduction of a new 4-TB license, which cuts the cost of the technology compared to the earlier 10-TB licenses and makes them more suited to SMB environments, Degen said.

The StoreOnce VSA now also works in Microsoft Hyper-V environments as well as in VMware environments, he said.

HP also introduced a StoreOnce VSA reference architecture for cloud service providers that gives them incremental revenue and the ability to use the technology in multi-tenant environments, he said.

The OpenStack-focused enhancements to HP's software-defined storage line is something HP had to do if it wants to be a serious player in the OpenStack world, Lankard said.

"HP has to have the Cinder integration," he said.

Many of HP's storage solutions run on the x86-based server platform, and HP has been offering its virtual appliance versions for customers who may not need the full hardware capabilities, such as for remote offices or in test and development applications, Lankard said.

"Now HP is making its solutions so they can be released and deployed into the open community," he said. "And it's not just with OpenStack, but every open source environment."

On the hardware side, HP unveiled Friday the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 all-flash array starter kit that lets customers get all-flash array storage technology with a list price starting at $35,000 for 7 GBs, Degen said. It scales up to 690 TBs using the 3PAR Thin Duplication and Thin Clones software as customers' requirements grow, he said.

The starter kit costs about half the price of competing offerings from companies such as Fusion-io and Pure Storage, and includes three years of support with a four-hour service time, he said.

"We're bringing flash to a price point never before available," he said. "We feel this summer has been a real watershed in flash storage as we're seeing flash storage at price points better than spinning disk."

Lankard said that 3PAR has turned out to be one of HP's most successful product lines and that the addition of low-cost, all-flash storage options will be key to helping the technology meet ever-broader enterprise requirements.

"HP has broken the code on bringing flash storage to these environments," he said. "It's delivering a resilient solution with low-cost flash technology, and the new lower entry point will accelerate the adoption of flash."