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HP strokes web 2.0 with immense NAS

'Extreme' appliance for multi-petabytes

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Hewlett-Packard has issued a massive NAS system for the most seriously storage starved — web 2.0 shops, huge ass data centers, national labs, and other businesses with more petabytes of data than can be considered healthy.

Web-based services firms are being eyeballed by big name storage vendors. Managing user content, video, and applications with rapid peaks in traffic often requires gear that can scale. And that means lots of storage. Oh yes, those bandy-legged yearling companies all flush with venture capital money are just too good to pass up.

The StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage system (ExDS9100) is composed of a 10U BladeSystem c7000 chassis, PolyServe clustering software (acquired last February), and between four and 16 DL460 server blades.

Your base unit will include four server blades and three storage "blocks." Each block is a 7U unit with a maximum capacity of 82TB using 3.5-inch SATA drives connected by SAS controllers with RAID 6 protection.

Customers can cluster up to 10 of the storage blocks, meaning the ExDS9100 will scale to 820TB. Then, you can link several of the ExDS9100s together to form multi-petabyte systems. All blades have access to all the storage in the device.

HP claims the system will cost under $2 per gigabyte; however, given the scale of the ExDS9100 that's nothing to sneeze at. A base configuration with 246TB is about $500,000. A fully geared system will cost around $1.6m.

Still, HP claims because the ExDS9100 works like a single big appliance, customers will save money by virtue of not requiring HBAs, switches, and cabling for it. The entire system can also be managed by a single interface, reducing the number of administrators needed to watch over it.

HP's director of marketing, Patrick Eitenbichler said EMC and others will soon be punting similar high-end hardware and software to the Web 2.0 crowd in a way he describes as "cobbled together," meaning additional components will have to purchased separately. He's largely referring EMC's upcoming "Hulk" — a set of clustered storage boxes paired with "Maui" clustering software — which was only hinted at during a recent EMC earnings call.

Both offerings likely will land around the same time. EMC said it's entering the market sometime this year, while HP has narrowed its release window to the fourth quarter. ®

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