Compaq offers two new solutions to its StorageWorks family

Compaq offers two new solutions to its StorageWorks family

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The Enterprise Storage Group of Compaq Computer announced two new solutions to its StorageWorks family; the StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array and the StorageWorks NAS Executor E7000. Compaq describes the Enterprise Virtual Array as its first generation of disk arrays powered by VersaStor technology. The Enterprise Virtual Array incorporates device level virtualization, enhanced storage management tools, subsystem-based LUN replication,...

remote-copy functions and subsystem-based SAN security. Based on the new Compaq HSV110 controllers, the Enterprise Virtual Array offers increased performance and significantly greater capacity than the Compaq MA8000 subsystems. Compaq has targeted the Virtual Array for large business-critical applications; on-line transaction processing, high-end data warehousing and decision support systems, system consolidation, data analysis and simulation. It provides shared, simultaneous heterogeneous multi-server connectivity in direct attached or SAN environments supporting Windows NT and Windows 2000, TRU64 Unix, Open VMS, and Sun Solaris servers in its initial release. Future releases will support HP-UX and IBM AIX. The Enterprise Array is generally available on this announcement date.

The StorageWorks NAS Executor E7000 is a multi-protocol (Windows, Unix/Linux, Netware, AppleTalk) "NAS Head" that is integrated with Compaq storage. The NAS Executor solution (NAS Head) integrates Compaq servers with Compaq MA8000 or Enterprise Virtual Array storage systems and software to provide Network Attached Storage. The NAS Executor E7000 is a high available solution featuring cluster support, redundant hardware components, data replication software, and the Compaq Remote Insight Lights Out Edition management software. The NAS Executor E7000 joins the TaskSmart NAS Appliance products as Compaq's NAS solutions. The TaskSmart N2400 is targeted at workgroups and departmental systems while the NAS Executor E7000 is targeted at environments requiring high availability, greater performance, connectivity and capacity. When integrated with the new Enterprise Virtual Array, NAS and SAN capacity can be combined in a single storage pool.

Enterprise Virtual Array announcement highlights

The StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array is Compaq's new virtual RAID solution. The virtual architecture pools all of the disk storage on the array into groups. Virtual Disks (LUNs) are drawn from this pool and presented to the application servers. The virtual architecture allows for the dynamic expansion of LUNs plus disks can be added to the storage pool on the fly. Distributed sparing allows the allocation of space per disk group to recover from physical disk failures.

The virtual architecture of the Enterprise Array combined with the SANworks Storage Utility Management Suite is designed to increase storage utilization and increase the amount of storage capacity that can be administered without added staff. Compaq stated that overall storage utilization can be increased up to 2x or more compared to other distributed storage subsystems and the effective storage capacity can be increased 2x or more compared to monolithic storage architectures. Compaq stated that when fully implemented, the Enterprise Array architecture combined with its software function is expected to enable up to a fifteen-fold increase in storage scale.

Evaluator Group note:

This parameter is basically the amount of storage a single person can administer. The 15x parameter is derived from the management of the virtual architecture coupled with its replication software (Snapshot). The major savings in administrative costs with be realized when the VersaStor asymmetrical pooling solution is introduced.

The Enterprise Virtual Array is a fiber-to-fiber RAID array (2 gigabit). It is a fully redundant architecture offering N+1 power and cooling, dual-active controllers, mirrored write cache (battery-backed-up) and RAID protection (Vraid) across its disk arrays. The Enterprise Array will support up to a maximum of 240 dual-ported FC-AL disk assemblies (168 disk drives in base cabinet). Maximum usable capacity per subsystem is 17 terabytes (73 GB disk drives, 240 disk drives)). The performance as stated by Compaq was up to 8x that of the Modular Array (MA8000). RAS features include dynamically replaceable components, dynamic micro-code changes, and metadata recovery. The Enterprise Array supports remote maintenance with phone-home support via Compaq's remote support center.

The Enterprise Virtual Array is based on Compaq's new HSV110 controllers. The HSV110 features the following:

  • Power PC microprocessors
  • (2) Fibre Channel host ports per controller (2Gb/sec)
  • (4) Fibre Channel (FC-AL) device ports (arranged in redundant pairs and supports up to 240 disks [120 disks per pair])
  • 1GB cache per controller (mirrored option and battery backup [96 hours])
  • 2GB/sec FC cache mirroring port
  • 36GB, 72GB - 10K rpm disk drive support
  • Support for up to 256 hosts
  • Support for up to 1024 HBAs

The Enterprise Virtual Array is available initially in two predefined configurations in 42U cabinets. Compaq stated that configure-to-order will be available at a future date. The two pre-configured models:

Models Description
Enterprise Model 2C6D (1) 3U Controller Assembly with (2) HSV110 controllers, (6) 14-bay disk enclosures, 42U storage cabinet
Enterprise Model 2C12D (1) 3U Controller Assembly with (2) HSV110 controllers, (12) 14-bay disk enclosures, 42U storage cabinet

Model Disk Drives Maximum Capacity
- - 36 GB Drive -- 72 GB Drive
Enterprise Model 2C6D 84 3.1 TB -- 6.2 TB
Enterprise Model 2C12D 168 6.2 TB -- 12.3 TB

The software features of the Enterprise Virtual Array include data replication and remote copy. The Enterprise Virtual Array provides three types of data replication tools: a Traditional Snapshot, Capacity Free Snapshot and Instantaneous Snapclone. The traditional Snapshot is similar to what is offered on the HSG80 controllers. A set amount of capacity equal to the original volume is reserved for the snapshot. As data is changed in the original volume, the data in the snap-volume is updated. The capacity free snapshot does not reserve capacity for the snap-volume in advance. Space in the snap-volume is used only as data in the original volume is changed. The snap-volume is a new virtual disk that initially shares the original virtual disk's map entries. The instantaneous snap-clone is similar to a traditional cloning operation as duplicate space is reserved. With the instantaneous snap-clone, the snap-clone data can be accessed almost immediately.

Although not available until 2ndQ, 2002, the Enterprise Virtual array will offer a subsystem based remote copy feature. The remote copy feature will be similar to the Data Replication Manager available on Compaq's HSG80 controllers. The Virtual Array DRM will offer both synchronous and asynchronous operations, semi-synchronous operation and resync capabilities. It will also offer campus distances via Fibre Channel and extended distances via telco links.

The management and configuration of the Virtual Array is done via the HSV Element Manager. The HSV Element Manager is a web server application that runs on the SAN Executor operating in conjunction with the Compaq Insight Manager. The HSV Element Manager incorporates the methodology to configure and manage the Virtual Array. It also enables the base HSV controller software (e.g. Snapshot, DRM etc.). The HSV Element Manager manages the virtual disks, physical storage (disks), HSV controllers, and the drive enclosures. The HSV Element Manager provides management aggregation of multiple Virtual Arrays (up to 16 presently) presenting the image of a single storage pool to the user.

Evaluator Group note:

The management aggregation, allowing multiple Virtual arrays to be viewed as a single storage pool, is the most important item in the announcement. This will allow the Virtual Array pool to grow linearly in capacity and performance while managed as a single entity. The Virtual Array should be an excellent base for SAN server and storage consolidation providing significant competition to the consolidation offerings from EMC, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard all of which are based are cache-centric storage architectures.

NAS Executor E7000 announcement highlights

The StorageWorks NAS Executor E7000 is a multi-protocol (Windows, Unix/Linux, Netware, AppleTalk) "NAS Head" that is integrated with Compaq storage. The NAS Executor solution (NAS Head) integrates Compaq servers with Compaq MA8000 or Enterprise Virtual Array storage systems and software to provide Network Attached Storage.

NAS Executor E7000 Model 902 Specifications
Processor (2) Intel Pentium-III Xeon processors standard (up to 4 supported)
Cache Memory 2MB Level-2 writeback cache per processor
Memory 2GB standard (4x 512MB ECC SDRAM) to 4GB maximum
Storage Controller Integrated Smart array Controller
Network Controller Integrated Compaq Fast Ethernet NIC 64 PCI Dual-Port 10/100 in a slot. (4) total 10/100 ports standard
Hard Drive (2) 36.4 GB Ultra-3 10K rpm (contains NAS Executor E7000 image)
Internal Storage 78.8 GB maximum
Power Supply (2) 450W Power Supplies
Optical Drive 24x IDE CD-ROM Drive
Form Factor Rack 4U
NAS Executor E7000 Model 904 Specifications
Processor (4) Intel Pentium-III Xeon processors standard (up to 4 supported)
Cache Memory 2MB Level-2 writeback cache per processor
Memory 4GB standard
Storage Controller Integrated Smart array Controller
Network Controller Integrated Compaq Fast Ethernet NIC 64 PCI Dual-Port 10/100 in a slot. (4) total 10/100 ports standard
Hard Drive (2) 36.4 GB Ultra-3 10K rpm (contains NAS Executor E7000 image)
Internal Storage 78.8 GB maximum
Power Supply (2) 450W Power Supplies
Optical Drive 24x IDE CD-ROM Drive
Form Factor Rack 4U

Evaluator Group comments:

Both the Enterprise Virtual Array and the NAS Executor are excellent additions to the StorageWorks family of products. We believe that Compaq will position the Enterprise Array in SAN consolidation solutions in direct competition to the offerings from Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Hitachi and IBM. As functions of performance, subsystem redundancy, capacity, and remote maintenance, the Enterprise Virtual Array can compete with any of the cache-centric architectures in an open system SAN consolidation. The only feature it does not have is support for the mainframe (CKD). Compaq's position on mainframe support is that it is not necessary in open systems SAN consolidation. Support for mainframes add extra overhead and costs plus the cache-centric architectures were designed for IBM mainframes and not open systems. The management aggregation, allowing multiple Virtual arrays to be viewed as a single storage pool, is the most important item in this announcement. This will allow the Virtual Array pool to grow linearly in capacity and performance while managed as a single entity. Today a storage pool of 16 Virtual Arrays (over 160 terabytes) can be managed as a single entity. We believe that Compaq has a compelling argument. What is not clear is how Compaq plans to integrate the Virtual Array with its VersaStor asymmetric pooling solution expected early next year.

The NAS Executor is a NAS Head based on standard Compaq servers and storage. The use of NAS heads rather that NAS appliances is the current trend in network-attached storage. Compaq follows offerings by IBM, Hitachi, and HP is the use of NAS heads. The NAS E7000 gives Compaq a high-availability and higher performance solution to complement the TaskSmart entry-level NAS products.

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To view all Storage Evaluator analyses and commentaries, go to http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/tipsIndex/0,289482,sid5_tax287810,00.html ================================================

The Evaluator Series and Evaluator Series On-Line (ES/OL) are trademarks of Evaluator Group, Inc.


This was first published in November 2001
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