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HP rebrands LeftHand virty storage tech, slashes price

Capacity and performance improvements coming

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Updated HP has rebranded its LeftHand Virtual Storage Appliance software as StoreVirtual VSA and given it an 80 per cent price cut as well as signalling capacity and performance improvements are coming.

LeftHand Networks was an iSCSI storage area network (SAN) startup that HP bought for $360m in October 2008. As well as providing a storage array, LeftHand also built SAN/iq software to turn a server's local and external disks into an iSCSI SAN resource.

That virtual SAN appliance (VSA) ran as a VMware virtual machine and could scale up to 30 nodes. In 2009 HP said that this software would be ported to the XEN and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms, which are VMware's rivals. The Hyper-V porting part was confirmed by HP in January 2010*.

StoreVirtual VSA runs version 9.5 of LeftHand software. Eventually it will be able to run on two virtual CPUs instead of the one it uses now. Minimum requirements are 3GB of RAM and 5GB of disk space, with up to 10TB of disk capacity supported; that's not a lot but it will go up later this year or in early 2013, when the dual-CPU capability will be added.

StoreVirtual VSA can port data between VMware and Hyper-V environments as well as between heterogeneous physical and virtual servers. It isn't certified on the KVM hypervisor yet and XEN isn't mentioned by HP either. Apparently HP will port it to KVM when customers want it to.

HP says its VSA software supports thin provisioning, replication and snapshot functionality. It is certified as a VMware vSphere Metro Storage Cluster solution with multi-site SAN capabilities so customers can still have data available beyond a single physical or logical site if disaster hits it.

The software is integrated with Veeam Backup and Replication v6.5 which means virtual machines and their files, virtual disks, plus individual guest files and individual Microsoft Exchange items, can be restored from StoreVirtual VSA snapshots.

NetApp now has a virtual storage appliance port of its ONTAP storage array software, ONTAP-V, and EMC can also do virtual storage appliances though it is not serious about them.

Fusion-io ION software enables a server fitted with Fusion-io's flash memory hardware to become a shared networked storage array. HP's thinking is that as solid-state storage moves to servers, such as its ProLiants, then the need for VSA software will strengthen. In other words, StoreVirtual VSA could turn a HP ProLiant fitted with solid-state disks into a shared flash array.

It can be seen at VMworld in San Francisco, 26 to 30 August, has a starting list price of $700/licence in multi-license packs, and will be available in late September. ®

Bootnote

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly claimed HP was late in porting its LeftHand Virtual Storage Appliance software to Microsoft's Hyper-V. The article has been amended.

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