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HP lays out sketches of storage roadmap

Colorado Springs surprises on Tech Day

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Comment HP's EVA arrays will get thin provisioning and automated LUN migration, while LeftHand's SAN software will be ported to the XEN and Hyper-V platforms, according to attendees at an HP Tech Day event.

This HP StorageWorks event took place in Colorado Springs yesterday with an audience of invited storage professionals. Several of them tweeted from the event, revealing what HP was saying.

EVA

HP commented that it thought its EVA mid-range array was an excellent product but hadn't got the sales it deserved, with only around 70,000 shipped.

Currently EVA LUNs can be increased or decreased in size without stopping storage operations. This is suited to VMware operations, with the vSphere API triggering LUN size changes.

LUN migration, possibly sub-LUN migration, with EVAs is set to become non-disruptive in the future, according to attendees Devang Panchigar, who blogs as StorageNerve, and Steven Foskett. He said the EVA: "supports 6 to 8 SSDs in a single disk group, [and is] adding automated LUN migration between tiers."

The EVA will be given thin provisioning functionality, the ability to create LUNs that applications think are fully populated with storage but which actually only get allocated enough disk space for data writes plus a buffer, with more disk space allocated as needed. Older 6000 and 8000 class EVA products won't get thin provisioning, however, only the newer products.

In a lab session, attendees were shown that it was easier to provision a LUN and set up a snapshot on EVA than on competing EMC or NetApp products.

A common storage architecture

HP people present indicated HP was going to move to common hardware, including Intel-powered controllers, for its storage arrays. El Reg was given news of this back in June

Since HP OEMs the XP from Hitachi Data Systems, basing it on HDS's USP-V ,this might encourage HDS to move to an Intel-based controller in that array.

Moving to a common hardware architecture for classic dual controller-based modular arrays is obviously practical, and many suppliers have done this. However high-end enterprise class arrays often have proprietary hardware to make them handle internal data flows faster. BlueArc has its FPGA-accelerated NAS arrays and 3PAR uses a proprietary ASIC for internal communications and other functions. Replacing these with Intel CPUs would not be easy at all.

Gestalt IT has speculated about EMC moving to a common storage hardware architecture based on Intel controllers. Its Symmetrix V-Max uses Intel architecture, and the Celerra filer and Clariion block storage arrays look like common hardware with different, software-driven, storage personalities.

There are hardware sourcing advantages here, with the potential for simplified engineering development. It could be that HP is moving to the same basic model of a common storage hardware set with individualised software stacks to differentiate filers, block arrays, virtual tape libraries and so forth. For HP there might also be the opportunity to use its own x86 servers as the hardware base for storage controllers.

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