Around the Storage Block Blog
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No more bottlenecks: Accelerating real-time data access in blades the solid state way

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. 

Consider this...

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)

What constitutes brave new thinking?

By Lee Johns

Yesterday Chuck Hollis of EMC wrote a blog applauding "brave new thinking" in the industry. Interestingly what he was applauding was another vendor entering the blade market pioneered by HP. Over the last few years HP has seen our BladeSystem business grow with quarterly growth rates of 60% or 80% and over a million BladeSystem servers sold. We developed BladeSystem because IT is too complex and costly and we have relentlessly focused on time, cost, change and energy as the big problems customers face. Surely brave new thinking comes from pioneering a market; trying to enter an established market is not brave new thinking. Sitting on the sidelines and applauding someone else is certainly not brave new thinking.

Our platform was built and proven in a step-by-step approach: BladeSystem c-Class, Thermal Logic, Virtual Connect, Insight Dynamics, direct connect storage etc. Rather than proclaim at each step that we've solved all the industry's problems or have sparked a social movement in computing, we'll continue to focus on doing our job to provide solutions that simply work for customers and tackle their biggest business and data center issues. I suspect that any advancements HP brings forward in simplifying storage with HP BladeSystem will not be viewed as brave new thinking by Chuck. But we don't develop our solutions for Chuck.  We develop them for you.

(Editor's note: Gary Thome from our BladeSystem team also posted a blog yesterdaythat you might be interested in reading as well)

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


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. 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:

There are some other enhancements in today's NPI that I'll point to in part 2 later today.

Q&A blades and storage part two

Last week I had mentioned a post by Lee Johns, Director of Marketing for Entry Storage that discusses storage and blades.  Lee has posted part 2.  It's good information and a short read.  There is also a comment from a customer and Lee's response.  Check those out too.  Here's the link:

If you missed part 1, here's a link to it:

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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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