HP Offers Heterogeneous Storage Consolidation

HP has been making big inroads in the storage market since it introduced the XP256 disk array a little more than a year ago. Over the first year of the XP business, HP has shipped as many terabytes of storage as it did in the years of its relationship with EMC.

Now HP is looking to expand its storage business even more by providing storage for Sun users. It's doing this by offering consolidation solutions not only for HP-UX and Windows NT but also for Solaris environments. The new offerings are based on HP SureStore E XP Disk Arrays and HP SureStore E Tape Libraries. HP also broadened its OpenStorage Area Network (SAN) initiative, enhancing its Web-based SAN management tools and adding interoperability partners. Moreover, HP unveiled the XP512 system.

With the new SureStore E XP512, HP is offering what it calls the latest in next-generation high-end storage and targeting Sun's UNIX users by embracing Solaris as well as HP-UX and Windows NT environments. The XP512 is shipping now.

The XP512, and its forerunner, the XP256, offer users what Craig Nunes, Product Manager for the XP Storage Operation, calls "SAN in a can," or a virtual SAN. The disk arrays allow users to convert all storage devices to a few XPs in order to consolidate storage.

Nunes also says that, "Solaris is the next big growth area from a consolidation perspective—one-third of all the Sun environment goes non-Sun connect." That makes the XP512 appropriate for straight Solaris environments. HP sees its biggest opportunity, though, Nunes says, in heterogeneous environments, where the XP512 offers users the chance to consolidate on a single storage platform.

The XP512 is a hefty array, with capacity for up to 512 disks, up to 928 hosts and up to 96 drive slots (a 50 percent increase over the XP256). That means users can attach hundreds or more servers to one device. It also offers 32 GB cache, double that of the XP256. For the XP512, HP has gone from a bus-based to a cross-bar architecture, duplicating what it's done on the UNIX server side. And HP has converted from Fast/Wide SCSI to Fibre Channel on the back end. The new architecture results in blazing speed. HP claims that the XP512 is twice as fast as EMC's Sym 8000 and IBM's Shark for data warehousing, e-commerce and Web-based applications and that it is twice as fast as the Sym 8000 and three times as fast as the Shark for SAP, OLTP and messaging solutions.

Configurations of the XP512 range in price from $600,000 up and are available now.

HP has also expanded its support for Sun environments by offering Sun users VERITAS cluster support, zero downtime and automated disaster recovery. The disaster recovery solution is especially attractive—the XP512 will roll over to a remote XP in the event of a total site outage.

The other storage consolidation solutions involving Sun Solaris systems include the new ability of HP tape libraries to back up Solaris-based applications in direct server-connect or in SAN configurations. HP also introduced improved support and manageability of its high-end, multiplatform 10/180 and 20/700 tape libraries with an embedded, Web-based remote management tool. Completing these Solaris solutions are multivendor SAN, consolidation, and disaster recovery design and implementation services from HP.

HP has also expanded on its Open SAN initiative by giving the HP SAN Manager DM an NT management station, multiplatform support and dynamic device management. In addition, HP introduced a Software Developer's kit enabling any vendor to write device managers for SAN Manager DM.

HP's OpenSAN initiative now also includes additional multivendor host, storage and fabric interoperability. HP is offering fabric interoperability with infrastructure components from Ancor and BROCADE to give users a wider range of choice of fabric providers.

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