A couple of weeks ago in the midst of the P4000 demo videos I was doing, the Storage Performance Council’s SPC-2 benchmark results for the HP P9500 XP Storage System were announced. The P9500 set a worldwide BI/DW (business intelligence data warehousing) performance record, based on the benchmark. This world-record performance for tier 1 enterprise data center environments is great news for customer in mission critical business intelligence, data warehousing applications and video playback IT infrastructure.
What a great day (evening) yesterday was. I'm still on that high so I'm not going to let a story filled with misinformation ruin my day. I saw a story on a small storage news website today claiming that HP would no longer OEM the XP Disk Array from HDS.
The story is wrong. Period.
Last October in Barcelona, Dave Donatelli talked about our array portfolio. What he said hasn't change. HP 3PAR is strategic to HP - no doubt about it. Many of our competitors have been spreading FUD that HP is killing the EVA and the XP/P9000 Disk Array. Wrong again - we're a bit smarter than that. Both products have a large installed base and they satisfy the needs of those customers.
I have a couple more videos to share about the P9500 Disk Array (formerly the XP Disk Array). While on a trip visiting the lab in Roseville, I had Ayman Abouelwafa explain Application Performance Extender software. Here's a video explaining this HP-only technology.
Today I have a video blog (vlog) taking an inside look - literally - at the P9500. I was in Roseville visiting our P9500 lab team a few weeks ago and had Aboubacar Diare, who works in our storage integration lab, give me a look inside the P9500 rack.
I really don't like doing two blog posts in one day but there's two much happening around here to wait until tomorrow so I'm going to bring you part 2 of the discussion I had with James Wilson, the product manager for the new P9500 Disk Array (the latest in the XP Disk Array family).
Today is a big day on ATSB (Around the Storage Block) as we are announcing our 6th generation of the XP Disk Array, the HP StorageWorks P9500 Disk Array. I have a lot to share with you about this exciting new addition to the HP Storage family.
By Govind Rangasmy, Product Manager
As a product guy, I'm constantly thinking of ways to simplify day-to-day operations for storage administrators. In that vein, one of the more interesting features recently released by the HP Storage Essentials team is automated storage performance policies - this helps manage performance on HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) and HP StorageWorks XP Disk Arrays.
As part of the requirement, I told the engineering team that policy management in HP Storage Essentials should be as easy as managing their Outlook rules. In Outlook, you define a policy (rule) using a precooked template, select a bunch of options, fire it up and off you go. I indicated to the engineers that for HP Storage Essentials to be effective and useful, the system should automatically monitor all of the EVA and XP storage arrays under management in a large enterprise, sending alerts if any deviations occur from the defined rules. Our engineering team ran with the idea, and we packaged up the new feature in the latest HP Storage Essentials 6.2 release.
There's an old storage axiom that every application performance issue is by default a storage issue until it's proven otherwise. While this simple wisdom holds up in most cases but not all. I recently attended a conference call with a customer who said that whenever he would go to a cross functional, application trouble shooting meeting, typically it would turn into a finger pointing session after five minutes. To avoid a similar fate, he suggests the Storage guy come prepared with lots of charts and data. Data speaks the truth. When you show up with more reports than the "other" team (Server or Application), it's much easier to prove that you're not the culprit and the storage team wins.
If HP Storage Essentials is deployed in your datacenters, you have the opportunity to make a splash at your next performance engineering meeting. HP Storage Essentials makes it easy to configure performance policies using pre-configured templates with a few mouse clicks. Once these policies are defined for your system components, whether it be controllers, array groups, or vdisks, the rest is automatic. HP Storage Essentials will send you an email containing data to quickly produce the charts and reports you need.
(NOTE: Click on an image to see a larger version of it)
Letter to Sun Customers:
With the changes announced to the Oracle/Sun and HDS relationship, it's understandable that you have concerns about Oracle/Sun's ability to continue to support your storage environment. Mission critical storage requires the commitment of strategic partners and that commitment is now in doubt.
HP wants you to know that, unlike Oracle/Sun, we're fully committed to our Hitachi relationship to develop and provide Tier 1 Enterprise Storage with the HP StorageWorks XP Disk Array family.
We have had a strategic OEM relationship with Hitachi since 1999. Together we've delivered five generations of XP arrays that have dramatically reduced operational and capital expenses through storage virtualization, efficient storage tiering, data migration and remote data center clustering for disaster-proof system availability in over 5,000 customer environments around the world.
Our StorageWorks XP arrays are integrated into a comprehensive portfolio of industry leading converged infrastructure platforms, end-to-end data center and application management software capabilities, comprehensive technology services and mission critical support offerings. We employ a global network of enterprise services resources capable of planning, implementing and supporting our XP SAN array customers with the service levels that they expect. This makes our XP solutions the best in the industry.
HP will continue to deliver solutions with Hitachi technology integrated into StorageWorks solutions and supported by HP Services for your mission critical customer environments. Our StorageWorks XP SAN arrays are a strategic part of our portfolio.
If you are unsure about the stability of the Oracle/Sun and HDS relationship and are interested in working with HP, we would welcome the opportunity to prove to you our capabilities in mission critical storage environments.
By Calvin Zito (Follow me on Twitter as @HPStorageGuy)
If you were like me and about 106 million other Americans, half of the fun of watching the Super Bowl are the ads. For folks outside of the U.S., you might get the Super Bowl on tape delay but not with the commercials. They are classic and worth checking out on YouTube. Some of the ads were very funny, others did a great job of making the brand or product advertised memorable. Still others were trying to be funny but so detached from the product that I was left scratching my head wondering if the advertising manager and agencies that did the ads still had jobs.
One that made many lists of "the best Super Bowl ad" was this one - it's hilarious and my family was rolling on the floor when it played.
After I saw the ad, I couldn't help but think of some of my fellow storage vendors and their capacity guarantee programs. Here's why. As a consumer, when I think of a guarantee, I think of products or retail outlets that say "if you aren't 100% satisfied with your purchase, return it for a no questions asked refund". Well, these capacity guarantees are far from a satisfaction program. One of the programs that does talk about their requirements publicly, the list of what you have to do to be part of their guarantee is longer than a winter night at the North or South Pole. Really, how is it a guarantee when the vendor stacks the deck with requirements that really is their guarantee that they won't lose the bet their making. And that takes me back to the commercial and the guy baiting the dog with a bark collar to speak so he'll give him a chip to eat. Let's look a bit closer at this.
What do these capacity guarantee programs promise? There are a few of these programs out there and all of them guarantee a 50% savings in capacity over your current environment. Wow - that does sound impressive, doesn't it? But I think you have to dig a little deeper.
How do these programs measure the 50% capacity savings? 3Par recently announced a guarantee and is short on disclosing any requirements that help you understand how they'll measure the savings. They have a link to a poster that is supposed to have more details and it's more like those home-made ads you'd find hanging in the lobby of your local grocery store - just missing those little bits of paper that you tear away to to have the phone number to call later. However, there is a rather prominent box where you can put your contact details and have someone get back in touch with you. I'm sure they'll be happy to call you and give you the details. In a Twitter conversation, Marc Farley (@3parfarley on Twitter) responded to a question about what's required by saying, "..there is a contract involved. There is necessarily going to be fine print. That's what contracts have." Maybe it's just me but I can't find the large print.
At least NetApp's guarantee lays out the starting point and some of the requirements. You have to be using RAID 1 (mirroring) or 10 (mirrored and striped) on your current array. My colleague Jim Haberkorn already covered the details of NetApp's program in a post titled "NetApp's 'Shining' Moment - its Capacity Guarantee Program follow-up" and he showed that by switching from RAID1 or RAID10 to NetApp's RAID DP, customers will get a 43% savings. Let me say this a different way to be as clear as I can - 43% of the 50% savings comes from changing RAID levels. HDS's new program has the same stipulation that you are using RAID 1 now and will use RAID 5 with their array. This sounds more like bait and switch than a guarantee.
HP doesn't have a capacity guarantee - so you must not be able to help save capacity, right? Our StorageWorks portfolio certainly has strong technologies that will help customers better manage your existing storage capacity. I could (and probably should) fill a blog post talking about all of these options but here are a few that come top of mind:
The budget an end-user spends on storage capacity is just one slice of their bigger IT budget and probably a small slice compared to the rest. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to save money on capacity - you should and we can help you do that. But I'm not sure these marketing ploys really have many customers in their programs. I would love to know how many customers try to take advantage of these guarantees only to be turned away because the vendor knows they will not be able to deliver. The bottom line is that these guarantees are designed to get customers to engage with these companies' sales team and hopefully drive a sale. I get that - we have activities designed to find prospects and drive sales too.
That leads me to the bigger picture. All of these vendors who have capacity guarantees only have one thing to offer customers - storage. HP is a total technology provider and is much better suited to help customers take cost out of their infrastructure just by virtue of the fact we are more than a storage company. NetApp, 3Par, or HDS can't do anything to help you drive down your power and cooling costs by making your data center more efficient. They can't help you to virtualize you entire infrastructure so that you can consolidate and have more flexible, adaptive resource pools. With solutions like Data Center Transformation, Data Center Smart Grid, Converged Infrastructure and Energy and Space Efficiency to just mention a few, HP can help you take cost out. One last suggest is you might consider attending the Realize the Future tour. Several of our senior leaders from our Enterprise Business (Services, Storage, Software, Servers, Networking) are part of the tour.
I can't help but leave you with one more Super Bowl commercial that had reminded me of these guarantees. Just be sure when you go to checkout and the "guarantee cashier" asks you RAID1 or RAID5 (RAID DP or whatever they want to impose on you), don't give the wrong answer or the capacity police just might haul you away!