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Deduplication

The third element of HP's announcement blitz is a deduplication offering called StoreOnce. HP says it is a second generation product, and installed on its D2D2500 and D2D4312 products. The technology is an in-house HP Labs development offering concurrent deduplication, that is deduplication concurrent with data ingest. This implies, although HP did not actually say this, that it does not use either the Permabit Albireo or Ocarina deduplication software code stacks.

Interestingly Ocarina is putting out a message about using its dedupe code throughout the data lifecycle, deduping once and only regenerating the original data when access is needed by end users or applications. It's not too far away from HP's message so maybe Ocarina has scored an OEM supply deal with HP.

HP says StoreOnce can be deployed at multiple points in its CI, being usable on backup clients, virtual appliances, inline appliances, and storage arrays. However, it is separate technology from that used in the high-end Sepaton-sourced VLS product which is a virtual tape library (VTL), and which HP continues to sell. But then the VLS product is not part of HP's CI. This announcement could be construed as bad news for Sepaton's long-term prospects within HP.

HP claims StoreOnce has a performance advantage of up to 20 per cent for inline deduplication. We understand this to be against Data Domain, and it has been pointed out to us by a source familiar with what's involved that the numbers used are for VTL and CIFS only. The majority of Data Domain systems deployed use NFS or BOOST.

Part of the performance seen on StoreOnce comes from HP Labs concepts, such as sparse indexing, and smart index and data layout, which reduces disk fragmentation and increases, HP says, I/O efficiency, reducing memory and disk I/O requirements.

Richard Masterson, the UK StorageWorks country manager, said:"We can elevate the deduplication application to a software-based data services layer in the future." Hypothetically he agreed this could include working on the same hardware as the LeftHand-based iSCSI storage and the EVA storage. However: "At the moment it's a D2D phenomenon."

So StoreOnce will be integrated into virtual appliances, tape backup and scale-out storage systems for the future. Clearly HP has an eye on NetApp's A-SIS dedupe technology here.

The D2D4312 has a starting price of $94,999. Existing D2D customers can get StoreOnce software through a download.

New Virtual Connect card

HP is using Emulex's OneConnect Ethernet interface card as its Virtual Connect FlexFabric 10Gb/24-Port module card, which is plugged into ProLiant G7 blade servers and provides a single module, Paul Kember HP's UK ISS Country Manager, said, for Ethernet, iSCSI and Fibre Channel.

It connects HP BladeSystem server blades to data and storage networks using industry standard protocols including 1Gbit or 10Gbit Ethernet; 2, 4 or 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel; and iSCSI. The new modules consolidate four interconnect modules into one and optimise application bandwidth.

Kember said: "Before we had separate Ethernet and Fibre Channel. Now there is just one module with Ethernet and Fibre Channel and the customer allocating it dynamically to Ethernet, iSCSI or Fibre Channel. … It's component consolidation [and] lowers the customer cost of procuring kit [and] power consumption drops too."

"We will also have a Qlogic equivalent soon enough... (I'm) not sure when."

The Emulex OneConnect product has a licensable upgrade to Fibre Channel over Ethernet technology. HP said nothing about this, talking about physical Fibre Channel connectivity instead. It says Virtual Connect, when combined with its networking products and technologies, "comprise the next-generation, highly scalable data centre fabric of HP’s Converged Infrastructure architecture".

HP is intent on establishing CI in the marketplace, saying it uses open standards, so customers need not fear lock-in. Customers will reap the benefits of HP's $60Bn supply chain, getting better value components and a faster evolution of component technologies. It seems to want us to understand that HP is pressing ahead faster than Acadia, the Cisco/EMC/VMware vBlock implementation company, and that it is fundamentally more open, with its Hyper-V support. ®

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