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HP launches new 3PAR storage array, federated storage

HP brings out a new high-end 3PAR storage platform and adds Peer Motion federated storage, which lets customers non-disruptively migrate data between 3PAR arrays.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. today upgraded the 3PAR storage array platform that it acquired a year ago for $2.35 billion and launched HP Peer Motion federated storage software for moving data non-disruptively between systems.

The new HP P10000 3PAR Storage System includes the V400 and V800 models that replace the T Class at the high end of the 3PAR line. The V800 scales to 1,920 drives and 1.6 PB raw – doubling the capacity of the current T800. The V400 and V800 support Fibre Channel (FC), SATA and solid-state drives (SSDs) out of the gate, with support for 2.5-inch SAS drives planned for 2012.

HP director of storage product marketing Sean Kinney described Peer Motion as “distributed volume management across homogenous systems using peer-to-peer communication. It enables data movement across like storage systems, and you can do it on any 3PAR system.”

HP Peer Motion appears to be an answer to EMC Corp.’s Vplex that launched last year. EMC this year added the ability to asynchronously replicate application data over thousands of miles between two data centers. HP doesn’t have that distance capability yet.

Peer Motion enables customers to migrate data from retiring arrays to new systems without downtime within a metro area. It also enables federated thin provisioning, which moves application data to systems with available capacity if an array is full.

Kinney said HP’s LeftHand iSCSI SAN platform already supports federated storage through its SANiQ software, snapshots and remote replication. Peer Motion is a separately licensed application for the P10000 3PAR line.

Evaluator Group analyst John Webster said this type of feature will soon become “must-have” for enterprise storage arrays, although only EMC and HP have it now. “EMC was the first to step forward, and now others are responding,” he said. “Federated storage lets you move applications without disruption. It becomes something you can do in an automated way for disaster recovery [DR], but you can also think of it as letting an application follow the sun if you’re a global company.”

HP executives consider 3PAR their flagship storage platform, spanning the midrange through enterprise segments. The vendor continues to sell its enterprise XP9000 series built on technology from Hitachi and its EVA midrange family, but HP reported that 3PAR system revenue has doubled over last year when 3PAR was an independent company. Overall, HP storage revenue grew only eight percent year-over-year last quarter, which makes it clear that its storage future is built around 3PAR.

HP’s 3PAR success prompted EMC to come out with a VMAXe Symmetrix system to compete with 3PAR and IBM’s XIV among enterprise storage arrays that aren’t targeted at mainframe connectivity.

Webster said he expects HP to get rid of its XP9000 and EVA lines -- and concentrate on the 3PAR family. “3PAR is growing at a rate of 100 percent per year as an HP property, so it seems to me like the battle’s on against EMC and NetApp,” he said.

Kinney pointed out that HP has also made 3PAR storage a key piece of other HP services and bundles, such as its VirtualSystem and CloudSystem offerings. He added that 3PAR will continue its T Class platform for about a year and retain its F Class midrange 3PAR family.

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