By Kate Davis, WW Product Marketing Manager, HP LeftHand Storage
Follow Kate on Twitter: @KateAtHP
Bladed storage is in the news again this week and I have to say: Hey Dell, welcome to the party! Though you are arriving a bit late. HP has been shipping bladed storage for many years now and in particular our enterprise-class bladed array, the LeftHand P4800 SAN for BladeSystem, launched its second generation back in March 2010. Two-and-a-half years and more than 22 petabytes later, here we are with our first competitor.
I’ve seen a recent “paid-for” lab report where Dell put its blade array up against an HP BladeSystem solution—HP D2200sb storage blade with LeftHand VSA (now StoreVirtual VSA). While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, as it’s a physical-versus-virtual storage test, the true compare would have been with the P4800. The commonality of the tested solutions lies solely in the fact that both are half height blades that offer a comparable amount of disks internal to the storage blade chassis.
I have a few questions about the testing that was done.
- Why would you set up 2 perfectly good blade servers with virtualization and not use them to run the applications?
- Isn’t that the beauty of a bladed environment – Server density and Consolidation of applications through virtualization?
The HP D2200sb storage blade is one of my favorite pieces of hardware. I was showing it off at HP Discover last year and had a guy call it a “sexy blade” and I have to agree. It’s a slick little unit – half height blade that holds 12 HDD or SSD drives, remains online and serving data even when its drawer is pulled out for maintenance, and scales to 8 units within the enclosure giving you up to 96TB of internal storage to the BladeSystem chassis. In its base form it is DAS storage. Pairing those disks up with StoreVirtual VSA creates a fully-featured, highly available, shared-storage cluster that serves both the blade servers internal to the chassis and acts an iSCSI array that can been accessed externally as well.
Let’s go back to my questions on this lab test. The HP solution tested was set up with:
- 3 servers each running a single app on bare metal
- 2 virtualized blade servers each running only a single VM for the VSA
- 2 D2200sb storage blades
Why do you need the extra 3 blades? Seems like an old way of deploying applications. Anyone following best practices would run the apps in one of the virtualized servers running the VSA. Save yourself the money and the blade slots (reduce the 7 slots down to 4). Blade slots are precious things and consolidation is key. That’s the greatest benefit of this VSA and D2200sb pairing: while it takes up 2 blade slots just as the Dell blade does, what you actually have with HP is both a virtualized server and storage.
A majority of the testing was done to measure performance and calculate the number of users supported by the storage. These tests are interesting but are more beneficial to environments that have separated networking, storage and compute resources. When you look at blades, especially when being deployed as a “datacenter in a box” by smaller customers, the chassis as well as all the servers and storage in the chassis need to be considered as THE infrastructure for that customer. Tests that show the maximum performance or user connectivity of one piece of the infrastructure do not benefit the customer. The entire blade enclosure needs to be considered for optimal use of all resources.
You can’t beat the easy HP BladeSystem setup.
I do have to say thanks, though. While one of the tests was done to compare the number of set up steps between the 2 solutions, what was actually proved is that HP BladeSystem is so easy to set up that you can have 5 blade servers, 2 virtualized with VMware, and highly available shared storage installed, configured and running in only an hour and a half.
I bet that if they’d used our 0 to VSA rapid deployment wizard, it would have been done in under an hour.
Let the facts speak for themselves.
The truth of the matter is, when you want a bladed storage solution, HP is the place to go. We didn’t have to pay for a bunch of skewed numbers in a biased configuration to show leadership. The facts are clear:
- A StoreVirtual VSA and D2200sb solution offers a virtualized, converged server storage solution – and has an affordable list price of under $14K with drives.
- This flexible solution allows for applications and VSA to run on the same server blade, increasing utilization of the server and bringing convergence of server and storage.
- With the D2200sb, internal storage can scale to 96TB or with the P4800 bladed storage can scale to 560TB in 1 BladeSystem enclosure.
- HP BladeSystem is the industry’s only Converged Infrastructure architected for any workload - from client to cloud, desktop to NonStop, mission-critical to high performance computing.
- HP BladeSystem is the original “datacenter in a box” solution for SMBs – with choice of chassis size (c3000 or c7000), multiple server blades, plus DAS, SAN, NAS and tape bladed storage.
- HP has been in the bladed storage game for awhile now and it takes more than counting steps to beat a proven converged solution.
Don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself: www.hp.com/go/tryvsa