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Storage virtualization and the new EVA

By Calvin Zito


In my first post, I gave an overview of the March 10 announcement we did.  In part 2, I gave a bit more color to the StorageWorks piece of the announcement.  Today, I want to talk about the new EVA6400 and EVA8400 that were announced.  If you're already familiar with the EVA and it's virtualizated pool of disk drives, you can skip down to my heading titled "What's New"?


The EVA was first announced in 2001.  We've shipped nearly 70,000 EVAs and nearly half of that has been in the last few years.  Why so many more over the recent past - because we've been able to substantiate the ease of use benefits of the EVA and with the growth of data, I think more and more customers understand that the EVA is the easiest mid-range array to manage in the industry. 


So as a short primer for those of you that maybe don't understand EVA virtualization, I'll briefly summarize it here.  At it's core, virtualization is a logical abstraction of the underlying physical widgets (whether your talking servers, storage, network, etc).  With the EVA, we are virtualizing at the storage system level to hide the underlying physical disk drives so that what you manage is a pool of capacity.  These pools of virtual capacity can be configured as virtual disks and presented to any or all connected hosts.  The EVA capitalizes on virtualization to provide optimal performance, ease of management, improved capacity utilization, powerful data replication tools, and faster rebuild times, while simplifying the management of the virtualized storage capacity.   There's a lot more that we could talk about here on the EVA's virtualization capabilities but for now, I'll point you to the white paper titled Storage virtualization and the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array.  It is a good resource to get you going on the EVA and virtualization.


What's New?


So that brings me to a discussion on what's new.   There are two new EVA models - the EVA6400 and EVA8400.  They join the EVA4400 that we announced about a year ago when we refreshed the low end of our portfolio; this announcement refreshes the rest of the EVA family.


Here's a summary of what's new:


  • Support for Vraid 6 providing double the parity of Vraid5 while providing the virtualizations benefits to grow and shrink the Vraid set. Vraid6 is unique to the EVA compared to traditional arrays that deliver only RAID6.
  • Increased maximum LUN size up to 22TB to support applications needing larger LUNs like Microsoft and Oracle and we have also increased the number of LUNs supported (NOTE: updated this as I had a typo here in the original post.  The EVA8400 supports either 14TB or 22TB of cache)
  • Introducing 72GB solid state drives (SSD) to support high I/O low latency applications. The EVA supports up to 8 SSD's in an array.
  • The EVA8400 scales to 324 disks and 324TB while the EVA6400 scales to 216 drives and 216TB. With support for the same disk drive enclosure that's supported in the EVA4400, the new EVA's offer increased performance density---more performance in the same footprint
  • Increased cache up to 32GB for improved application read and write performance
  • Increased our snapshots from 16 to 64 for increased flexibility in data mining and restores


Here are a few things you can play with to learn more about the new EVAs.  The first one is a very cool 3D interactive virtual product tour.  This allows you to see a 3D view of the EVA, zoom in, turn it around and really "play" with what the EVA looks like.  There are two of these 3D tours, one for the EVA6400 and one for the EVA8400.   Here is also a Flash-based product demo that gives a high level picture of the new EVA models.  The demo has a tab titled "see it in action" - this is a simple description of how virtualization in the EVA works.  Check these out and let me know what you think.


One of the main benefits we highlighted in the announcement was that the EVA costs up to 50% less to manage than other competitive traditional disk arrays.  I'll discuss this more in my next post.

Anonymous | ‎03-13-2009 11:52 AM

Are the SSDs supported on an EVA4400?

Anonymous | ‎03-13-2009 11:52 AM

After posting this, I saw an article in Network World where an EVA customer made the point about an EVA being a pool of storage that is easy to manage.  You can see the article here:  

The customer said this: “The management HP offered for storage was simple and straightforward. HP had virtualization for its storage. There was one giant pool of storage and you could pull storage from it when you needed it. You didn't have to slice it and dice it up -- it was just one big pool.”

Matt Staver, information technology manager for Pentel in Torrance, Calif. 

Always nice when we have a customer that can make the point for us!

Anonymous | ‎03-13-2009 11:57 AM

Hi Curious -

Yes, the EVA4400 does support SSD.  It also supports the new Vraid6 and larger LUN size that I mentioned.  You can see what else in the EVA4400 QuickSpec:

Thanks for asking - Calvin

Anonymous | ‎03-13-2009 07:12 PM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous | ‎03-19-2009 06:44 AM

Hey Calvin - enjoyed the post and links to the interactive tools. Keep the posts coming. Brent.

Anonymous | ‎03-19-2009 01:58 PM

Hi Brett - glad you are enjoy the posts and find the interactive demos helpful.

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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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