HP Tackles Enterprise Data Explosion With Storage Virtualization Platform

On Tuesday, HP announced with much fanfare its move into storage virtualization. It unveiled its StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) models 6400 and 8400, and the SAN (Storage Array Network) Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) 2.1.

These will let businesses squeeze more out of their storage resources, which have been sadly ignored in the rush to virtualization.

“Typically, even in very mature storage environments, capacity utilization is in the range of 30 to 50 percent,” Stephan Schmitt, vice president of marketing for HP StorageWorks Division, told the E-Commerce Times.

This provides fertile ground for consolidation and cost cutting, two of the key attractions of virtualization, especially in these hard economic times. Enterprises have long been concerned about underutilization of servers in their data centers; virtualization helps them consolidate data, reducing the number of servers used and leaving those that remain as a pool of resources to be drawn on as needed.

Now, enterprises are turning their attention to storage, and HP is aiming to tap into that demand.

Data Keeps Exploding

“There is continued pressure on data growth,” said Schmitt. Indeed — a study conducted by research firm IDC on behalf of storage vendor EMC last March showed that data requirements were growing at an annual rate of 60 percent, and that the total amount of digital information would balloon to 1,800 exabytes by 2011. An Exabyte is one quintillion bytes.

Virtualizing storage lets companies scale up and provide additional capacity inexpensively, Schmitt said, which is critical in a time when corporate budgets are being constrained or cut.

The EVA 6400 and 8400 have more cache and a denser footprint than preceding models or the competition, Schmitt noted. They also have a dynamic capacity management capability that adjusts storage demand according to business requirements.

They are now available for the Linux platform, Schmitt said.

Helping to Slash Storage Costs

SVSP 2.1 pools SAN resources from various vendors by virtualizing the fiber channel network and manages them all through one interface. It manages metadata and the actual data in storage on separate data paths, which, Schmitt claimed, provides more scalability and higher performance than competing products.

Those products include IBM’s SAN platforms, those from storage giant EMC, SANs from Sun Microsystems, and SANs from SGI and NetApp, among others, he added.

“We believe we can increase storage capacity by two to three times and reduce staff requirements by two to three times as well,” Schmitt said.

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