By Tim Ellerbe, Product Manager
Wouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate applications and database performance problems by running them 100% in DRAM? RAM's nanosecond latency makes it ideal as a temporary workspace for operating systems and applications. However, its volatility makes it unsuitable for applications that need to persist data. It's also difficult and expensive to cram enough DRAM into a server. Additionally, its expense makes it impractical to purchase the capacities most applications need.
The HP StorageWorks IO Accelerator brings high I/O performance and low latency access to storage, with the reliability of solid state. It's a mezzanine card for HP StorageWorks BladeSystem c-Class servers (and soon to be released PCIe version for selected ProLiant DL/ML servers) that provides the performance boost that IO-starved applications need without sacrificing reliability. These NAND Flash-based cards add terabytes of DRAM-like acceleration to blades in a new persistent memory tier with advanced error checking, self-healing and RAID5-like redundancy.
But isn't a persistent and reliable memory tier with RAM-like speed even more expensive than RAM? The IO Accelerator costs roughly $48/GB. Compared to DRAM (roughly $125/GB MSRP), it's a bargain.
The benefits added up for one BladeSystem customer who added IO Accelerators to its MySQL database clusters to get the following benefits:
- 30x faster database replication-during testing, a new read database caught up to the master in 12-1/2 minutes compared to 6-1/2 hours for a standard serve
- 6x faster complex query processing, from 2700/sec to 350/sec per blade
- 30% faster query response times
- 8x faster worst-case disaster recovery
Any other solid state storage success stories to share? Let us know. In the meantime, catch the latest views on the state of solid state storage-and other StorageWorks products supporting solid state.
(Editor's note: You can follow HP StorageWorks on Twitter here)
By Calvin Zito
In early March, we announced the new EVA6400 and EVA8400 - we talked about that on this blog (see my post titled Storage Virtualization and the new EVA). The EVA is really a great match for virtual server environments. Here's a video that includes our Senior VP and GM of HP StorageWorks Dave Roberson and Parag Patel, VP of Alliances, ISV and Storage Ecosystem at VMware.
There's also a video I've seen with Paul Maritz (President and CEO of VMware) talking about the HP BladeSystem Matrix and our HP LeftHand Network products - unfortunately, I can only find it on a server inside the firewall . As soon as I can get a version that for you to check out, I'll add it too.
And have I mentioned lately that the EVA has solid state storage technology... and that's about 12 months sooner than some of the FUD a certain competitor was spreading in their blogs.
Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter. Go to http://twitter.com/HPstorageGuy. I won't ever tell you what I had for breakfast!
By Calvin Zito
One thing I wanted to mention last week and I forgot was the results of some performance testing our partner Fusion-io and HP did. We were able to achieve over 1 million IOPS in a single HP ProLiant Server running four Quad-Core processors and with Fusion-io solid state storage technology. There's an article in eWeek that does a good job describing the test that you can read here: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Data-Storage/Fusionio-HP-Team-Up-for-1M-IOPs-8GBs-Throughput-Ben-362772/. I'm guessing you'll hear more about this kind of technology with our recently announced HP StorageWorks IO Accelerator and HP BladeSystem in the near future.
While EMC has been running around claiming market leading innovation with SSDs (or whatever name they came up with to give the appearance of leadership), HP was proving leadership with this testing. It also goes to the point we've made in this blog that solid state technology is an end-to-end system play and that storage only vendors like EMC are at a big disadvantage in helping address that end-to-end system. It explains why EMC is so keen to partner with Cisco on storage and blade servers but don't expect them to catch up anytime soon.
One last thing on a totally unrelated subject. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my spring break trip to Juarez, Mexico on this blog. It was an amazing trip that I find myself thinking about often. One of the places we visited in Juarez was the Colonia Campesina. A colonia is like a shanty town with houses built from cardboard, wooden pallets, plywood, and/or cinder blocks (here's a link to a picture of a house on a personal blog about the trip to give you an idea of what I mean). Our team had just finished serving a hot lunch (another link to a picture) to about 300 people when I noticed a woman leaving. My eye quickly zoomed to a plastic cup she was carrying with an HP logo on it. As I looked closer, I could see that it said HP SureStore. SureStore was our sub-brand for HP storage prior to joining forces with Compaq. I wanted to go ask her how she got an HP SureStore cup in the Mexican colonia. I was talking to someone at the time and before I could finish the conversation, I lost sight of her. While I didn't find out where the cup came from, it was a reminder to me just how blessed we are even in tough economic times.
By Calvin Zito
I always enjoy a good laugh and thought I'd have to share this video clip I found yesterday. But first you need the back story.
If you've read this blog or other storage vendor blogs, you know that many have had issues with the hype EMC was trying to create around solid state drives. In typical EMC fashion, they announced solid state technology well before they could ship them in volume (and BTW they OEM from one of the partners that HP uses for solid state drives) and then tried to claim some great innovation around being first with SSD's. They have gone so far to rename solid state drives which in my opinion was another vain attempt at demonstrating innovation. Chuck over at EMC went on to predict that HP would not have SSD's in the EVA until 2010 if ever (which by the way we announced in our latest announcement). He's tried to use this as a proof point for some whacked out thesis that HP is a server company and not a storage vendor. Chuck's poking at us is all kind of ironic because he knew all along that they had a big issue with the emergence of blade servers and without a server business, EMC was in trouble. They knew they had to to find a partner that is looking to enter the server business but didn't have a storage business (see Lee John's post titled "What constitutes brave new thinking?"). Thanks Chuck for confirming that HP's direction of having storage and servers tightly linked really does make sense.
But I'm a bit of track so let's get back to the solid state video. I am up for a smack down any time a competitor's blog misrepresents HP or what we are doing (which is often the case with Chuck). So with no apologies, I'll point you to this video that Marc Farley over at 3Par created when he saw a post I had left on another blog around the topic of over-hyping SSD's. Here's the URL for Marc's post and be sure to check out the video: http://www.storagerap.com/2009/02/hp-bloggers-go-viral-with-cross-blog-smackups.html. Yesterday was my birthday and seeing this video made my day!
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.
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.
By Calvin Zito
Yesterday I talked about the announcement that our Technology Solutions Group did and briefly mentioned the part HP StorageWorks had in that announcement. Today, I'll drill down a bit more into the StorageWorks news.
The current economic conditions are affecting everyone but we all know that the information explosion that we've all been talking about for over a decade doesn't seem to care much about the economy. Many customers are attempting to take costs out to free up capital for their core business processes but the continued information explosion creates specific challenges for IT to efficiently store, protect, optimize and manage data. Adding to this, many data centers are not optimized for agility; a good portion of the IT budget is spent in maintenance and operations. IT is expected to help the business take advantage of opportunities that arise in this new economic era by reacting quickly to deliver new services that help drive growth. Really nothing new here, but I wanted to set the context.
We believe that the next generation data center is core to meeting these challenges. We call this the Adaptive Infrastructure. One of the core tenants of the Adaptive Infrastructure is helping customers move from their current state of high cost IT islands and siloed people resources to low cost pooled assets with more predictable service levels. Virtualization is key to that. Many customers have already virtualized their servers and as a result there's been improvements in utilization, service provisioning and disaster recovery/availability of those servers. If the rest of your infrastructure (e.g. storage, network, etc) isn't virtualized, then you still have limited flexibility. I just saw a post by my colleague in BladeSystem Jason Newton diving deeper on this topic and it's worth a read.
These virtual server environments have unique storage challenges around capacity management, storage provisioning, and data protection/management. And that gets me to the heart of what the announcement this week is about.
Our goal is to reduce the complexities and inhibitors of virtual server environments through the intelligent use of storage virtualization. We're making investments in this technology to optimize capacity, simplify storage provisioning and improve data management across virtual IT environments.
This week's announcement was focused on Fibre Channel storage networks. But we're not suggesting this is the answer for every application or customer environment. We have a very deep (and I know at times confusing) portfolio of products and solutions. But you really don't need an infrastructure vendor who only has a hammer because then every problem looks like a nail. You need an infrastructure vendor who has the breadth of portfolio to match the solution to your specific problem and data types at the lowest cost possible. So again, this announcement is focused on Fibre Channel based solutions - as we continue to integrate LeftHand Networks into our portfolio, we'll have more to say about storage virtualization with other storage networks (Shared SAS, iSCSI, etc.).
So that brings me to the news. There were three new or updated solutions we announced:
HP StorageWorks EVA6400 and EVA8400 virtual storage arrays helps customers save up to 50% in storage management costs for common storage administrative tasks compared to competitive traditional arrays
HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) can lower TCO by pooling and sharing of heterogeneous storage resources. You can improve your capacity utilization by 300% and manage 3X the storage capacity per administrator.
The new Data Protector 6.1 software combined with the EVA offers the industry's best (and we think only) replication based Zero Downtime Backup and recovery for VMware environments and is up to 70% less expensive than other enterprise backup products.
I'll go into more details over the next several days but let me leave you with a pointer to a video by our VP of Marketing, Stephan Schmitt. Stephan is at FOSE this week and was interviewed at the event just yesterday. This video is a nice overview of the announcement.
One last footnote I have to make as I can't wait until tomorrow's post where I'll drill down on the EVA6400 and EVA8400. One of our competitors has tried to make their pre-announcement of solid state drives a year ago as a proof point of their innovation. The funny thing is that we source those drives from the same OEM partner. This competitor had made bold and frankly ridiculous predictions that we would not have SSD drives until late this year or maybe in 2010. Well, I've got news for you Chuck - we have SSD drives in the EVA now and have had them in the XP Disk Array for a few months and in our BladeSystem for even longer.
By Calvin Zito
In my previous post, I talked a little bit about our New Product Introduction (NPI) process and gave some pointers to a number of things that came from the latest NPI. Here are a few more things to highlight:
- We announced the HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Platform a couple of weeks ago - you can see the product page at www.hp.com/go/SVSP.
- We also had publicly announced updates to the StorageWorks Secure Key Manager at SNW Dallas back in mid-October. You can learn more about the enhancements at www.hp.com/go/storagesecurity or on the product page.
- We also announced new functionality on our XP24000 and XP20000 Disk Array family. You can learn about the XP enhancements on the XP Disk Array product page. Jim Hankins is writing a blog about External Storage Disaster Recovery with details so I won't spoil his fun. Also new with the XP is support for Solid State Storage Technology. One of our competitors predicted that we wouldn't have solid state storage technology until 2009. I think we beat that by a bit. Now we have solid state for both our BladeSystem and XP disk array with more to come. No hype, just keeping it real!
- Utility Ready Storage is an interesting solution that we've offered for a while and I'm guessing will get more interesting for customers with the looming economic situation. There are some new services with Utility Ready Storage and a very good feature article describing it. Here's a link to the article: Aligning storage costs and usage with Utility Ready Storage.
I've only touched on some of the NPI enhancements today but hopefully I've given you a small glimpse into what is going on.
The topic of solid state technology has been oft covered here and by others in the storage industry. I'd like to point out a few things from the last few days for your consideration and reading pleasure:
Jieming Zhu works for the HP StorageWorks office of the CTO. He was at Storage Networking World last week and talked to several press people. There are a number of articles that have appeared. Several of these articles got the point that we've been making for a while: solid state technology is not just a disk array technology. This is in stark contrast to a storage only vendor that is hyping the technology early in the life cycle to get some perceived advantage. Customers know better. Here are a few of the articles:
Enterprise Storage Forum, "HP Sees a Future for Flash Storage", by Paul Shread (Click the article titles to read any of them)
SearchStorage.com, "Interest in solid-state storage gains traction", by Dave Raffo
The Register, "This SSD thing is really catching" by Chris Mellor
I saw a fair treatment of solid state technology by Stephen Foskett, an independent storage consultant who is a frequent blogger. His post is titled "Is Flash a Disk or Cache?". The URL for his blog is http://blog.fosketts.net/
Ray Lucchesi is the president of Silverton Consulting and has given me permission to point to a paper he's written about solid state technology. It also appeared in InfoStor magazine. The paper is titled "SSD flash drives enter the enterprise". Thanks Ray!
"Storagezilla" (aka Mark Twomey) is one of the many EMC bloggers and the other day he wrote an entry on his blog questioning where HP is with solid state technology, accusing HP of FUD. I'm guessing either EMC has talking points or he was reading Chuck Hollis' recent comments because it's the same recycled conversation that we've had before on this blog. Mark mis-characterized and misrepresented our position on solid state technology. EMC management made some silly predictions about when solid state drives will surpass disk drive shipments. My concern is that EMC certainly created a buzz around solid state technology but let's get real for a minute:
HP ships more drives today than anyone - over 45% of ALL disk drives shipped to an end user is shipped by HP.
HP will ship more solid state technology (including SSD's) I'm guessing in our first three months than EMC will ship in a year or more.
How many TB's of solid state technology will EMC ship in laptops, desktops, servers, and blades. Zero, zilch, nada, zippo.
Mark makes a comment that the future has arrived and suggests that vendors like HP are somehow behind. He's right - the future has arrived and customers will look to HP for solid state not just in an array but from the desktop to the data center.
Mark also has made predictions of HP not shipping for "a year, maybe two". This is really FUD and is off by a factor of well, lets just say a lot.
So I congratulate EMC on creating the buzz but for customers' sake, how about just keeping it real. I'd point our readers to a couple of posts by Jieming Zhu (from our StorageWorks office of the CTO). Here are links to those posts: Part 1 and Part 2.