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HP's new StorageWorks improves on current excellence

The Hewlett-Packard Network Storage Solutions organization made its first post-merger product announcements to its StorageWorks family of storage solutions. Announced were enhancements to the Enterprise Virtual Array, a new model of the VA Series, enhancements to StorageWorks Enterprise Volume Manager and Secure Path software, additions to its Fibre Channel switch family, a new entry-level NAS product and new SDLT and LTO tape products.

The Enterprise Virtual Array Version 2 was introduced featuring increased capacity (17.5 TB), extended platform support, 2 Gbps Fibre Channel support (host and device), and enhancements to its duplication software (Vsnap and Snapclone). Hewlett-Packard has integrated the Vixel InSpeed Model 310 Embedded Storage Switch into the device architecture of the EVA V2. Also introduced was a new model of the HP VA Series, the Model 7410. The VA 7410 offers performance improvements and extended OS support.

Two new 2 Gbps Fibre Channel switches were introduced; the HP StorageWorks Edge Switches 2/16 and 2/32. (OEM products from McDATA Corporation) (Note: We had initially reported that the new switch offerings were sourced from Brocade. This was an error. The switches are sourced from McDATA Corporation.) These switches join the StorageWorks family of Fibre Channel switches (the HP StorageWorks Core Switch 2/64 and the HP StorageWorks Director 2/64).

The HP StorageWorks Enterprise Volume Manager, Version 2.0D was introduced

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featuring additional functionality of replicated volumes and full exploitation of EVA Snapclones and Vsnaps. The HP StorageWorks Secure Path has been enhanced with broader device support and increased OS support.

The HP StorageWorks Nearline family was enhanced with the introduction of the StorageWorks SDLT 160/320 GB tape drive, AIT 35 GB autoloader, and the StorageWorks network storage routers e1200 and e2400. Nearline support for ProLiant servers was enhanced with the introduction of the StorageWorks LTO Ultrium 100/200 GB tape drive and the StorageWorks DLT 40/80 GB tape drive.

Enterprise Virtual Array Version 2 highlights

The EVA V2 has incorporated new hardware in its device interface with the integration of the Vixel InSpeed Model 310 Embedded Storage Switch. Additionally, the connectivity has been enhanced with support for the new 2 Gbps switches and director. New 2 Gbps HBAs are available supporting Windows (PCI), Open VMS, Tru64 Unix (PCI), Sun Solaris (PCI), and HP-UX (PCI). Disk drive support has been expanded to include a 36GB, 15K rpm drive.

The data replication features of the EVA V2 have been enhanced. The maximum number of LUNs supported has been increased to 8,192 and up to seven snapshots/Vsnaps can be made per virtual LUN. Additionally the Snapclone can now be executed across disk groups. The Version 2 was available on July 26, 2002. Upgrades to current Version 1 models will be available in September.

Evaluator Group note:

The initial evaluation of the Vixel Embedded Switch was conducted between Vixel and Compaq. With the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq, the InSpeed technology will be shipping as part of the common storage platform offered by both companies. HP stated that with the addition of the InSpeed Embedded Switch, the performance and serviceability of the EVA have been significantly enhanced. It is our speculation that the integration of the InSpeed technology will also decrease the product costs of the EVA.

Enterprise Virtual Array enhancement summary

Connectivity

2 Gbps SAN switch 2/16, 2/16-EL, 2/8-EL
2 Gbps SAN switch 2/16, 2/16-EL, 2/8-EL
1 Gbps SAN Director 64
2 Gbps HBAs
-- FCA 2101 Windows NT/Windows 2000 (PCI)
-- FCA 2354 Open VMS, Tru64 Unix (PCI)
-- FCA 2257p Sun Solaris (PCI)
-- HP A6795A HP-UX (PCI)
1 Gbps HBAs
-- FCA 2357s Sun Solaris (SBus)
-- FCA 2357c Sun Solaris (cPCI)
New Secure Path versions
-- V4.0 Windows NT/Windows 2000
-- V3.0A Sun Solaris
-- V2.0B IBM AIX
Single pathing option (single HBA) for Tru64 Unix, Open VMS, WNT/W2K, Sun Solaris and HP-UX.

Expanded OS platforms

HP/UX
-- MC Service Guard
-- Native HP 1 Gbps HBAs (PCI & K-Class)
-- Native HP 2 Gbps HBA (PCI)
-- Secure Path V3.0A
IBM AIX
-- HACMP certification
-- Cambex 1 Gbps HBA
-- Secure Path V2.0B
Sun Solaris
-- VERITAS Clustering V1.3
-- Sun Cluster V2.2
-- PCI and S-Bus HBAs
-- Secure Path V3.0A
Microsoft Windows 2000 Data Center
-- V1.1A
-- Secure Path V4.0A

Replication

Enterprise Volume Manager 2.0
SSSU (formerly SANscripter) support for Vsnaps
Multiple snapshots/vsnaps (up to 7 per LUN)
Selectable WWID for target
Snapclones across physical pools
Increased number of virtual LUNs for snapshots, vsnaps and snapclones
Maximum LUN support increased to 8,192

Hardware

New 41U Cabinet (base and expansion)
36GB, 15,000 rpm disk module
Integration of the Vixel InSpeed Model 310 switch in device interface

Evaluator Group comments:

We expected HPQ to integrate the Vixel technology into its EVA product family however not this quickly. HPQ has quickly embraced the technology and brought this enhancement to market in record time. The exceptional performance of the EVA should be improved plus HPQ has improved the overall serviceability of the product. An excellent storage subsystem has been further improved. The benefits of a back-end switched topology are significant; linear scalability, improved RAS and a reduction in overall product costs. We believe all the major SAN and NAS suppliers will be incorporating switched back-end topologies in the future.

VA 7410 highlights

The HP Virtual Array 7000 series are second-generation virtual architectures based on a log-structured file system in conjunction with dynamic data redundancy management. The Model VA7410 offers increased performance and additional platform support. The Virtual Array Model 7410, like the Model 7400, is a Fibre Channel (2 Gbps) storage array supporting up to 105 disk drives. The Model 7410 has been architected to operate in a heterogeneous SAN environment. Any combination of the following operating systems can be supported simultaneously: HP-UX, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Linux, AIX, and Solaris. (HPQ stated that NetWare and MPE/iX will be added in the near future.) HP gave the following performance figures for the Model 7410: 440 MB/sec sequential and greater than 40K IO/sec.

Evaluator Group note:

Based on the Hewlett-Packard array roadmap, the VA Series is intended primarily for HP platforms and the EVA is its primary array for heterogeneous SAN attachment. The enhancements are evolutionary and do not signal a change in HP's array strategy. The VA Series is still intended primarily for HP platforms but can now be used in HP accounts where other application servers are present. We can expect a new midrange array, based on EVA technology, that will eventually bring the VA Series to EOL.

Eval Group comments:

This series of announcements from HP StorageWorks are in line with their product roadmaps and are all welcomed additions to its storage networking products and solutions. The VA Model 7410 now offers heterogeneous support and increased performance.

Of most significance are the changes to the Enterprise Virtual Array. The integration of the Vixel 310 Blade improves an excellent hardware platform. The enhancements to the EVA replication software are excellent additions to the management capabilities. The strength of the EVA platform is its management. The management aggregation, allowing multiple virtual arrays to be viewed as a single storage pool, allows the virtual array pool to grow linearly in capacity and performance while managed as a single entity. HP now offers multiple SAN consolidation solutions; the EVA, HP SANLink (StorageApps symmetrical pooling), the XP Series with associated software and in the future they have promised the VersaStor technology. We expect HP to consolidate its solutions in the future.

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This was first published in August 2002

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