Hewlett-Packard adds Ibrix-based network-attached storage, upgrades storage virtualization

HP addresses virtualization with new NAS platform based on Ibrix file system, an upgrade to its SVSP storage virtualization platform, and Hyper-V Live Migration support.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. today launched a network-attached storage (NAS) platform based on software acquired from Ibrix. The new platform is part of a rollout of HP storage virtualization and server virtualization products.

The StorageWorks X9000 Network Storage System is driven by the Ibrix Fusion cluster file system HP picked up in the July acquisition. The X9000 family consists of three systems, which all manage data under one namespace with automated tiering.

HP also upgrades its SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP), and added support for Microsoft Hyper-V Live Migration to its Cluster Extension EVA software.

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HP's new file storage platform

The StorageWorks X9300 Network Storage Gateway is a two-unit rack-mounted NAS head that fronts HP storage as well as EMC Corp. Clariion and Dell EqualLogic SANs. The gateway has Fibre Channel, iSCSI, InfiniBand and SAS connectivity options.

The X9320 is an appliance based on HP ProLiant servers and MSA storage. It supports SAS and SATA drives.

The X9720 is built on the Extreme Data Storage platform that HP launched last year based on software acquired from PolyServe in 2007. The 9720 runs on HP BladeSystems with SAS JBODs, and scales to manage petabytes of data.

HP's marketing director for unified storage Lee Johns said the X9720 is a "logical replacement for the Extreme platform," adding HP will continue to sell PolyServe software with its EVA storage for use cases such as high-performance computing and Microsoft SQL consolidation.

"They've moved this out quickly," IDC analyst Rick Villars said of the Ibrix-based platform. "Sometimes these things slow down after mergers, but they've moved fast on this. PolyServe is still useful for things like database archive, but they're shifting toward the Ibrix platform for more content-centric workloads."

StorageIO analyst Greg Schulz said he would like to see HP make the X9000 a completely open platform. So far, only the gateway supports other vendors' storage and that support is limited to two vendors.

"This is a step in the right direction. They can push further into bulk storage market now but they still need to open it up more," Schulz said. "They need to support other software and position it as an open storage platform."

SAN virtualization

HP sells its SVSP storage virtualization product through an OEM deal with LSI Corp., but Johns said HP co-develops a version of the device specifically for its storage. SVSP 3 has greater integration with EVA's Command View management software, lets customers configure EVA LUNs through the SVSP and automatically creates SVSP storage pools from capacity provisioned across multiple EVA systems. HP also doubled the capacity of SVSP to 2 PB.

"That's HP's diamond in the rough," Schulz said of SVSP. "This gives them rapidly deployable virtualization platform for data movement, data migration, load balancing, high availability and disaster recovery. It's a huge opportunity for HP to protect their installed base and gives them a path to leverage their technology as a storage pool."

Greater Hyper-V support

HP also supports Microsoft's new Live Migration for its Hyper-V hypervisor with its Cluster Extension automatic failover software for EVA.

HP's announcement comes a day after EMC Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and VMware Inc. made their VCE product alliance official, but Johns said HP will not favor Microsoft's Hyper-V because of VMware's deepening technology relationship with HP rivals EMC and Cisco. (EMC owns a controlling interest in VMware, and Cisco is an investor in the server virtualization company).

Johns said HP is hypervisor agnostic. "We will support multiple virtualization vendors on our platform," he added.

Considering HP already has a huge VMware installed base, it's unlikely to make any sudden shift to Hyper-V.

"I wouldn't be reading into this that HP is not going to support equivalent functionality in VMware," Villars said.

The X9300 and 9320 will be available in mid-November and the X9720 will be available in January. HP says the starting list price for the X9000 family will be $1.50 per gigabyte. SVSP 3 is available with a starting price of $31,032 for a 1 TB configuration and an SVSP VM license. Cluster Extension EVA software with Hyper-V Live Migration will be available in late November for a list price of $5,280.

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