HP Upgrades EVA Arrays, Virtualization Software

New products can help IT managers cut acquisition and administration costs, the company says

March 11, 2009

3 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard today rolled out new storage hardware and software products that it says will help companies handle tight IT budgets by cutting storage acquisition and administration costs. The upgrades to the company's EVA mid-range storage array, SAN Virtualization Services Platform, and Data Protector, along with new services, are designed to produce short-term cost reductions and help companies deploy an infrastructure that will support growth once the economy recovers, the company says.

HP also added support for solid-state drives made by STEC, matching offerings from other major storage systems vendors.

The StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array 6400 and 8400, which replace the EVA 6100 and 8100, can cut administration costs by 50 percent compared to competitive products by offering simplified management and virtualized storage that can accommodate changing demands by applications, says Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for storage platforms. The 8400 can support up to 320 drives, 20 GB of cache, and 72-GB SSDs. Both systems support RAID 6, so a system can lose two drives out of an eight-drive set without losing any data. "With terabyte-sized drives shipping today, this kind of protection is important because it can take hours or days to rebuild these high-capacity drives," Fitze says.

The company also upgraded its SAN Virtualization Services Platform, or SVSP, which lets users virtualize a variety of storage arrays from different vendors into a single pool. By increasing available storage capacity, SVSP can cut storage acquisitions costs. The enhanced version extends support to more products from competitors such as EMC, IBM, NetApp, and others, as well as HP's new EVA models.

The software's management capabilities will let administrators easily pool storage resources and allocate capacity to virtual servers, migrate data between systems, replicate data to a disaster recovery site. "We recognize that customers have a variety of systems in their environment and we are extending the benefits of HP management to third-party storage vendors," Fitze says. "This can triple the amount managed by each storage administrator."The upgraded Data Protector software can now protect virtual servers and their data working in conjunction with VMware Consolidated Backup. It also supports a variety of data reduction options and can cut data growth rates by 20 percent to 60 percent. It also includes centralized encryption key management.

While the upgrades and enhancements may not be sexy, according to Mark Peters, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, they will appeal to IT departments seeking "easy to use" administration as they try to cope with smaller staff. He says it is good that HP isn't taking its large installed base for granted "and is still trying to innovate." The enhancements can help users cut storage costs through the use of "better, more virtualized, easier-to-manage storage subsystems," either by helping users buy less capacity or get more value from what they have.

Peters also notes that HP has joined the rest of the storage vendor community in supporting solid-state disks, and says "there's an undeniable logic to the eventual broad use of solid state technology -- at least for I/O if not for capacity -- and I would be disappointed if HP did not embrace such a move."

Find out more about innovative storage. InformationWeek and ByteAndSwitch.com are hosting a virtual event on this topic on March 25. Sign up now (registration required).

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