Reposting of article about the announcement made on June 2, focused on storage consolidation for SMBs. We updated the HP StorageWorks Data Vault, X1000, and P2000 product families.
By Calvin Zito, aka @HPStorageGuy
HP Technology@Work is underway here in Frankfurt (did I actually get any sleep on Monday night??). I've attended two sessions this morning. Here's a brief summary of each
Solving storage challenges in HP BladeSystem environments (presenter Chris Hornauer)
Chris opened this session by asking the customers (probably around 50) who had DAS, iSCSI, or FC-based with their HP BladeSystem. I was surprised that almost everyone said FC and that most all of them were EVA customers with a few XP customers too. I didn't get a chance to ask any of them why but based on some of the questions that were being asked about the MDS600, the main reason is around shared storage and disaster recovery. The P4000, our iSCSI-based storage, also has very strong disaster recovery capabilities, but is a rather new offering for most customers in Europe. Here's a picture of Chris presenting:
Chris ran through the range of storage offerings from SAS-based MDS600, iSCSI-based P2000 G3 MSA, FC-based EVA, and file-serving X9000. It was a basic session reviewing key features and capabilities of each product.
What's new with the P2000 G3 MSA (presented by Norman Morales)
Norman presented a similar presentation at our HP StorageWorks Tech Day where he talked about the latest enhancements to the P2000. Here are a few pictures I grabbed during Norman's session.
Norman Morales presenting
A summary slide showing what's new with the HP StorageWorks P2000
Comparison of P2000 G3 MSA with previous generation
Another slide comparing P2000 G3 with G2.
This afternoon I'll attend Dave Donatelli's plenary session and hopefully a couple more storage sessions.
By Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy
It's time to get back to the topic of storage - as most of the regular readers of this blog know, I've been out for a few weeks dealing with my Mother's death. Before I jump back into storage, I want to again thank everyone who was so kind to me. I thank you very much - your kindness helped to get me through a difficult time. Ok, so now onward....
There are a number of storage-focused groups on LinkedIn. I noticed a conversation that was started on one of them discussing an article written by industry analyst George Crump. The article itself was promoting a particular vendor but asked some good questions. It covered a couple of different emerging technologies that could help reduce storage costs. George makes the case that customers are buying more drives than they need from a capacity perspective to get the performance needed though I would argue that our EVA array minimizes this issue because of the built-in virtualization. George suggests that SSD could help fill this gap but because it's still expensive compared to hard drive technology, it's not for everyone. You can either read George's blog or read the conversation on LinkedIn to get the details of what he discussed. Today, I wanted to highlight the answer that our own Tim Sheets gave. Tim works in our Unified Storage Division managing portfolio strategy and marketing operations. Here's what he had to say:
From a vantage point of a company that sells more HDD's than anyone else in the world, there are certainly changes on the horizon. SAS drives clearly offer an economic advantage and truth be told, the HDD manufacturers are trying to get away from FC drives because they are more expensive to produce. Now as for SSD's replacing FC drives... that is not going to happen wholesale at this time. The costs are too high, and there is still much to learn about the longer term reliability related to write cycles (SSD cells wear out at much lower cycles than traditional HDD's)
While there is lots of work going on in the SSD market to manage write balancing, we cannot overlook the fact that there is much more work to be done to get to full enterprise reliability at volume economics. SLC is certainly more robust that MLC, but does not have the capacities of MLC. On the flip side, SLC has better write "wear-out" cycles than MLC. Either way, SSD costs are extremely high even when compared to FC HDDs. For now, I think we will primarily see SSD's in very high performance systems where customers are willing to pay a significant premium to get that performance. Texas Memory Systems and Fusion IO are good examples of this. However, we will not see mass adoption until the wear out rates become stable/proven and the costs drop dramatically. According to the SSD manufactures, that is still some time away for enterprise class drives.
Additionally, we will need to see the application developers modify their applications to take advantage of what SSD's can offer. Storage management/tuning tools will need to change in order to optimize storage environments using SSD's. And as Phillip from 3PAR notes above, storage tiering is critical here. (Editor's note: You'll have to go to the LinkedIn discussion to see what Phillip said). Today, solutions that are read intensive and need high IO rates are ideal for SSD. Write intensive applications are probably better off with rotating media for now if cost is a major factor.
All of this will take some time, as does adoption for most nascent technologies. SSD's will become more popular in certain applications, but the industry won't turn on a dime just yet. Longer term (3-5 years or more) they will begin to become more of a mainstream storage technology. For now, rotating media is here to say for a while.
Tim - I hope you don't mind me using your answer here for our readers.
By Charles Vallhonrat
Despite many years of strong growth in storage migrating to SANs, we still live in a world where a huge amount of storage is still directly attached to servers. Why have we not seen all storage move external for any environment with multiple servers? Surely the SAN offers lower cost, higher data protection, and better utilization.
The fact of the matter is a lot of data remains inside servers or directly attached via a JBOD because that is the best place for it. Maybe there is a specific performance need, or certain local control of data and access that leads to customers keep storage directly attached. Customers are savvy and until the SAN offers a better solution for their specific need, they are keeping certain storage infrastructure close to the server.
Enter shared SAS. It looks and smells like shared storage yet offers the simplicity of Direct Attached Storage (DAS) and has no requirement for a switch or to manage a network in smaller configurations. HP introduced a shared SAS solution - The MSA2000sa - in August 2008 and quickly SAS became 25% of the interconnect mix for MSA. Now with the release of a generation 2 model (or G2) there are a number of improvements that will likely boost usage still further. The G2 products is faster than the previous generation, supports more drives, supports more snapshots, supports more LUNs, supports more servers...and on and on. But, one of the most important new features is support for 2.5" inch (aka Small Form Factor) drives. Yep, the same type of drives used in many ProLiant servers. In fact, with the MSA2000sa G2, the small form factor drives are same drives that are used in our HP ProLiant servers. Talk about keeping the simplicity of DAS...
By the way, once customers get the benefit of shared storage using SAS, the MSA architecture allows them to upgrade controllers to iSCSI or Fibre Channel if they wish. Maybe we have finally found the catalyst to remove storage from servers.
By Calvin Zito
Sonia Mathur, my colleague on the HP ProLiant team, has a post titled "Are 6Gbps SAS drives right for your environment?". Here's a link to her post: http://www.communities.hp.com/online/blogs/reality-check-server-insights/archive/2009/04/13/are-6gbps-sas-drives-right-for-your-environment.aspx. I think you'll find this very helpful. You can also check out our StorageWorks Product Selector to see which of our StorageWorks disk systems support SAS drives. Go to the product selector (URL: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/productselector/index_disk-cframe.html) and under drive info, select SAS. In future posts, we'll talk about support for 6Gbs SAS drives on our storage systems.
By Lee Johns
Is the SAN Dead?
Well what do you know. A well respected analyst has had the courage to write a paper entitled "Do you really need a SAN anymore?". In his paper Andrew Reichman of Forrester postulates that the promise of the SAN has not been realised and that application centric storage based on industry standard platforms and alternate interconnects like iSCSI, SAS and infiniband may offer a better return.
So is the SAN dead. The simple answer is no. Fibre Channel SANs will continue to be the predominant platforms for storage over the next few years. However there is real merit in Andrew Reichman's hypothesis.
I am a Zoologist. Yes I admit it. I have an "ology". I don't apply the knowledge I gained from zoology everyday in my job in the computer industry but occasionally I do and one of the things that zoology taught me is that evolution comes in leaps. When the climate changes dramatically it does not suddenly result in mutations that lead the next generations. Those mutations already exist, and the change in climate just means their adaptions (which may previously have been a weakness) make them more competitive than they were.
We are currently going through one of these "Climate Changes" with the turmoil in the financial markets. IT managers are looking for alternatives and they are out there. The HP Oracle Exadata Database Machine (Leverages infiniband), The HP Extreme Data Storage System (SAS), alternate SAN technologies like LeftHand Networks an HP company (iSCSI) and new SAS connected solutions including HP's direct connect storage for HP BladeSystem.
Anyone want to make a guess as to who is most ready to capitalize on this new shift in storage power? Andrew Reichman makes some suggestions and HP is on his list of the best prepared and most likely to embrace. He does not say it quite like a Zoologist would however. As every zoolologist knows The Dinosaurs never saw that meteorite coming.
If you liked this article you might also like the read the following (these are all links):-
- HP BladeSystem and StorageWorks Synergy
- Details on new Oracle Exadata Storage Server by HP
- Top Ten Reasons Why DAS Will Grow!
- Storage Just got SASsy! VMware set free of the SAN
And for those of you who don't believe I'm a zoologist:-
By Calvin Zito
Earlier this week, HP announced new 2.5" small form factor (SFF) 300GB SAS drives. You can read a bit about them in a blog written by my colleague Sonia Mathur on the ProLiant server team. Here's the link to her post: http://www.communities.hp.com/online/blogs/reality-check-server-insights/archive/2008/12/02/small-form-factor-drive-storage-doubles.aspx. We'll leverage the SFF drives in several of our StorageWorks products like the MSA, storage blades, and the All-in-One Storage blade.
You might also be interested in an article written on SearchStorage.com about the drives: http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid5_gci1341037,00.html
Have a good weekend!
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
No, it's not the Norwegian Polar Institute Day or No Pun Intended Day - it's our new product introduction day. NPI at StorageWorks is an internal process to have our products available for customers and channel. We focus on areas like services, internal configuration tools and systems, supply chain readiness, pricing, and marketing (e.g. hp.com page, brochures, photography, and other marketing content). Our NPI's generally have somewhere between 20 to 30 products. Each NPI is generally a mix of updates to an existing products and brand new products. Here are a few highlights of today's new product introduction:
Overview page of today's NPI: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/highlights/11172008.html. Here you'll see links to all of the products, solutions, and services that are either new or updated today.
One of the significant parts of today's NPI is the new 3Gb SAS switch. This was included in a BladeSystem press release today. Here's a link to the press release: HP Launches Breakthrough Virtualization Technologies That Cut Networking Costs by 55 Percent. There's a good blog post on ZDNet by James Staten from Forrester Research talking about the Flex-10 Virtual Connect module coming from our BladeSystem team. Don't expect to see innovation like this from storage-only vendors like EMC. Here's a link to the SAS switch product page: HP StorageWorks 3Gb SAS BL Switch.
My list is getting long so I'll highlight one more: the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System that we've discussed many times here. I'm really excited about leveraging a 3-dimensional interactive demo (that we have used at trade shows) on hp.com. This is pretty cool stuff that allows you to "play" with the ExDS9100. If you don't look at anything else, you have to check this out: ExDS9100 3-d interactive tour. You can check out other ExDS9100 info at www.hp.com/go/ExtremeStorage.
There are some other enhancements in today's NPI that I'll point to in part 2 later today.
By Lee Johns