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HP VSA rebranded, expanded

HP renames its virtual storage appliance StoreVirtual VSA, expands its server support, pumps up capacity and adds snapshot capability.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) today rebranded its virtual storage appliance (VSA), expanded its server support and capacity, and lowered the starting list price.

The virtual storage appliance is now known as the HP StoreVirtual VSA, and it can be deployed on any x86 server connected to heterogeneous storage while supporting a mix of VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. HP first launched the virtual appliance in 2007 as the LeftHand P4000 VSA.

The HP VSA resides as a virtual appliance on the server and is sold as a software kit that gives customers the flexibility to choose any server and hypervisor platforms. HP claims it has distributed more than 150,000 VSAs in four years.

With the new name, HP is also allowing the VSA to run on any server. Previously, it supported any server that was certified by VMware or qualified by Microsoft for Hyper-V.

“We love HP, but there are other servers out there,” said Craig Nunes, HP’s vice president of storage marketing. “Servers on the market have become much more powerful, with a lot of automated infrastructure. [The HP VSA] can use storage inside the servers, such as solid-state drives and hard disk drives, but it’s not limited to storage inside the server. LUNs can be provisioned from a storage area network. This is a storage virtualization play.”

Nunes said the HP StoreVirtual VSA is positioned for SMBs, remote offices of large organizations and cloud providers.

HP also has increased the storage capacity from 10 TB per VSA to a minimum of 32 TB on the StoreVirtual. Also, each VSA supports two CPUs per VSA, and several VSAs can be deployed per server. The enhancements will be available early next year.

“As servers are deployed with more SSDs, people use VSA to pool storage across servers,” Nunes said.

HP has introduced a three-year support license per VSA and a multi-package that offers up to 1,000 licenses of VSA. Previously, the VSA was sold with a one-year support contract. The price for a standalone VSA was reduced from $4,500 to $3,500.

HP StoreVirtual VSA customers can use the HP Peer Motion federated storage software to move data across heterogeneous servers, hypervisors and data centers, as well as between virtual and physical storage platforms.

HP also has partnered with Veeam Software so its backup and recovery software can take advantage of VSA snapshots. Veeam SANsnap Restore, co-developed by HP and Veeam, lets administrators recover VMs and their data directly from LeftHand and StoreVirtual VSA snapshots. The vendors claim SANsnap Restore allows snapshots with little impact on product systems.

Mark Peters, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said HP has put a lot of focus on its higher-end 3PAR storage systems and may have overlooked the value of the VSA until now. He said. HP’s agnostic approach to deploying storage appliances “is laudable and a sensible thing to do.

“It is rare to see that coming from a vendor that has its own platform. It will be interesting to see if the greater HP absorbs and embraces this,” Peters said.

HP was the first to the market with a VSA five years ago, but software and hardware vendors have followed. NetApp in June launched its Data Ontap Edge VSA for remote offices. Other VSAs include DataCore Software’s SANsymphony, the Open-E Data Storage Server and Nexenta’s NexentaStor VSA. 

VMware included a vSphere Storage Appliance in vSphere 5 a year ago, but that product is limited to sharing VMDK files across three hosts and is not considered a competitor to the other VSAs in the market.

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