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HP BladeSystem and StorageWorks Synergy

By Lee Johns

I often get asked why HP BladeSystem and StorageWorks are such a compelling combination.  There are multiple reasons and it starts with the cost of connecting to existing fibre channel storage which can be reduced by up to 50% with the reductions in cables, single failure points and administration when you use a technology like HP Virtual Connect.  You of course also benefit from the infrastructure savings you get from implementing blade servers in terms of time, energy, change and cost.  

Today there is a new reason.  Direct connect storage!  Think the simplicity of DAS with the resource sharing of a SAN.  With HP BladeSystem you can now implement up to 192TB of shared storage across 16 blade servers using a simple, but high-performance 3Gb SAS interconnect.  What's more the Storage offers all the management features and capabilities of the HP MSA 2000 but without the requirement to manage a fabric (Fibre Channel or iSCSI).   

Now don't get me wrong.  Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage are every bit as important as they were yesterday with BladeSystem.  In fact HP also announced a technology called Virtual Connect Flex-10 for BladeSystems today that will offer great benefits for future iSCSI storage solutions for our EVA and MSA as well as future products from our acquisition of LeftHand Networks.  The difference today is that if implementing Fibre Channel or iSCSI was not the right choice for me as a customer, I now have an alternative that offers breakthrough simplicity.   Direct connect storage is perfect for Server Administrators who want to implement a simple shared storage environment for boot infrastructure or other server administrator controlled data.  It is ideal for small and medium businesses or remote sites who are looking to implement there first SAN but want a simpler solution.  It is great for VMware infrastructure and supports VMotion. It is great second tier storage for Enterprises.  

Customer excitement in HP early previews has been very strong.  In fact it has so much utility for new implementations or existing SAN environments it make me wonder why the traditional storage only vendors are not offering it.  After all it simply offers customers more choice. 

Lee Johns, Director of Marketing for Entry Storage

Anonymous | ‎11-20-2008 04:19 PM

Using SAS as a storage network?  OK, I'll give you guys credit for trying something new and different.  That's always worth something in my book!

But is it better?  Ahhh ... that's the question.  

You've basically split the difference between iSCSI/NAS and FC -- but is there an unmet customer need there that's big enough?  

And will there be an ecosystem of others playing on your SAS network?

My take?  Customers will look at this and ask "why?"  If they want cost-effective connectivity, they'll take a look at iSCSI.  And if they want a traditional storage network, it'll be FC.

Who'd want some custom thingie from HP?

I'll give this about 6 months in the market before you guys move on to the next thing, and forget all about this.

Anonymous | ‎11-21-2008 03:07 PM

Thanks for the comments Chuck.  Despite your advice I think HP will continue to innovate and allow our customers to choose the best technology and price point for them (SAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel).  Interestingly I completely agree with you on the fact that SAS is not network storage.  That is the point!  It offers customer who do not want to move to network storage an alternative that provides centralized storage resource sharing.  I believe that EMC is an advocate of more people being able to use centralized storage so you should applaud this announcement.  Since we already have a large win in the retail space vs EMC with our SAS solution I'm thrilled that I can confidently tell our customers that EMC will not be competing with us anytime soon.  Thanks for clarifying that for us and our customers.

Oh and please keep reading the blog so you can keep up with future developments in the convergence of servers and storage.  You will be able to follow developments in new solutions such as the HP & Oracle Exadata Database Machine, the HP 9100 Extreme Storage System, LeftHand Networks clustered iSCSI SANs and storage interconnect improvements like HP Virtual Connect Flex-10.  It sounds like you won't be able to get educated on these areas at EMC.

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25+ years experience around HP Storage. The go-to guy for news and views on all things storage..

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