HP Issues New Midrange, Converged Storage Offerings

HP’s new StoreServ.

In what Hewlett-Packard executives dubbed their most important storage-related announcement ever, the company has unveiled a new platform for managing unstructured data, improved StoreOnce federated de-duplication products, and high-performance 3PAR Tier 1 storage options.

HP made the announcements at its HPDiscover event in Frankfurt, Germany. All the products are apparently available immediately with the exception of HP’s new StoreAll information-retention platform, which will begin shipping Dec. 20.

The StoreAll platform is complemented by a StoreAll Express Query that executives claim can reduce seach-query times to fractions of a second—an important feature at a time when HP’s competitors are also focused on hardware and software that can deliver queries at blazing-fast speeds.

Why does HP believe this particular storage announcement qualifies as its “most important”? For one thing, it plays heavily into the company’s converged storage strategy. For the past two years or so, HP has argued that the data center is far too complex, with as many as 20 different architectures needed for specialized tasks. “Our customers have told us: stop. We can’t afford this, we can’t manage this,” Craig Nunes, the vice president of worldwide marketing for HP storage, said last week.

Thus, the creation of a new generation of storage and networking options that can streamline many vital functions onto fewer pieces of hardware, saving money and headaches. HP’s converged storage provides what it calls a consistent approach to data services from the low to high end—with one approach to block, object and file storage as well as both traditional rotating-disk and SSD or flash storage options.


To date, the 3PAR business within HP has focused on the midrange to the high end, competing with EMC’s VMAX line. Now the company’s pushing further downmarket, with two new midrange StoreServ options that address Tier 1 storage, but at prices under $40,000. (Previous products, including the StoreServe 10400, were priced at about $100,000 or so.)

Specifically, the StoreServ 7000 family includes both the 7200, a two-controller device that supports a platform up to 2.4-terabytes and will sell for about $20,000, and the 7400 with either two or four controller nodes. The HP StoreServ 7200 is available globally immediately starting at $20,000, while the HP StoreServ 7400 starts at $32,000; both products can use traditonal hard drives or else an SSD option.

The 7200’s SSD option delivers 320K IOPS when reading 8K blocks, which Nunes claims is roughly 2.4 times faster than its competition: “The reason for that is that traditional SSDs don’t have a lot of real horsepower in their controllers.”

3PAR StorServ File Services software includes transparent server failover capability, minimizing recovery pains associated with infrastructure outages. Hardware and software can be upgraded without dependencies. The platform also includes priority optimization, guaranteeing IOPS or bandwidth performance at a particular data volume level (or a group of volumes including customer applications). The latter capability is due in 2013.

HP’s existing thin provisioning software has also been added to the 7400, along with what HP calls its Get Thin guarantee, where its thin provisioning technology can reduce volume sizes to about half the capacity of competitive storage products. The StoreServ products support both block and file for structured and unstructured data. Nunes suggested that the thin-provisioning guarantee now applies to file storage as well as block storage. Management capabilities have also been beefed up, with autonomic management handling self-configuring, provisioning, and optimizing.

The software also includes native SMB 3.0 built-in plus mixed block/file workload optimizations, while encryption is provided at rest and in-flight. File-level access controls are included.


HP describes this new platform as an eminently scalable object and file platform for taming Big Data, scaling to over a thousand storage controller nodes and up to 16 petabytes of data—all within a single namespace.

HP Labs has focused its proprietary technology on dramatically increasing the speed of unstructured-data searches. The result, called StoreAll Express Query, supposedly allows 500 million files to be searched in about 1.4 seconds. Metadata is automatically added to files, and StoreAll builds in a NoSQL metadata database search capability that allows files to be found rapidly. StoreAll also includes data immutability with retention policies and WORM support.

In addition, StoreAll ties into the HP Autonomy Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL), which offloads processing tasks to HP StoreAll, plus the HP Autonomy Consolidated Archive, and certified independent software vendor applications. The pay-as-you-go, scale-our architecture launches Dec. 20, with pricing set at as low as $0.91 per GB.

StoreOnce Backup

Finally, HP launched three new members of its deduplication-enabled backup systems: the StoreOnce 2000 and 4000, as well as the enhanced 6000 series for enterprises and service providers. The StoreOnce 2000 and 4000 series (now live on the HP Website) are quoted has having 1 TB/hour backup speed (for the 2620) and 2.2 TB/hr (for the 42xx series) and up to 100 TB/hr for the B6200. While specifications will vary, the 4210 includes up to 6 TB raw/4 TB usable and expands to 12 TB raw/9 TB usable, while the B6200 starts at 48 TB raw/32 TB usable and can scale to 192 TB raw/128 TB usable.

HP StoreOnce 6200 Backup systems are available worldwide immediately for a starting price of $250,000. HP StoreOnce 2000 Backup systems start at $10,000 and HP StoreOnce 4000 Backup systems start at $30,000. HP StoreOnce Catalyst Software licenses start at $500.


Image: HP