Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. today launched two lower-end midrange 3PAR storage arrays and a new big data and archiving platform in hopes of reversing its declining storage sales.
HP is extending 3PAR, its one successful storage platform, to cover the lower end of the midrange through the enterprise. The new systems are also available as all-flash arrays, and HP is also offering a migration path from its aging enterprise virtual arrays (EVAs) to 3PAR.
The new HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage 7000 series includes the 7200 and 7400 models. The other new product is the HP StoreAll Storage system for unstructured data. HP also enhanced its StoreOnce 2000 and 4000 backup deduplication disk target appliances.
The announcements kicked off the HP Discover 2012 user show in Frankfurt, Germany, this week.
Craig Nunes, vice president of worldwide marketing for HP storage, said the vendor is looking to collapse its storage platforms to alleviate confusion.
"We want to give customers one architecture to address all the challenges of say, primary storage, [which] includes services from low to high across block storage, solid-state and disk drives," Nunes said. "And we have one architecture for information retention and one for information protection."
In keeping with its rebranding of storage platforms, the 3PAR family becomes HP 3PAR StoreServ, and the 7200 and 7400 models are at the low end of the midrange. The 3PAR platform previously ran from the high end of the midrange through the enterprise.
The StoreServ 7200 is a two-controller system with up to 144 hard drives and 120 solid-state drives (SSDs). It has 24 GB of cache, from four to 12 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) ports, and four optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports. The starting price is $20,000 for 2.4 TB of capacity.
The StoreServ 7400 comes with two or four controllers with 240 hard drives per controller and a total of 240 SSDs. It has 32 GB of cache, four to 12 8 Gbps FC ports, and four 10 GbE ports per controller. Pricing starts at $32,000 for 2.4 TB.
The new arrays will compete with midrange systems, such as the EMC VNX 5000 series, NetApp FAS3200, Hitachi Data Systems Unified Storage, IBM StorWize V7000 and Dell Compellent.
The all-SSD 3PAR StoreServ 7000 array lets customers run up to 240 SSDs, which HP claimed can support 320,000 IOPS. HP unveiled a new Priority Optimization quality of service feature that lets customers segment applications on any 3PAR model and assign a number of IOPS to each application. Applications can also be separated by tenant, with several applications running under one tenant.
For customers who want file services on 3PAR systems, HP supports Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 with StoreServ 7000 back-end storage.
HP isn’t down to one primary SAN platform, even with the 3PAR expansion. It still has the StoreVirtual Storage (previously LeftHand) iSCSI SAN on the low end, and sells Hitachi’s enterprise storage arrays for mainframe customers rebranded as the HP XP P9500.
But HP is phasing out its oldest storage platform, the midrange EVA. Nunes said HP is offering EVA customers a "pain-free and risk-free way to grow into the StoreServ 7000." The 7000 includes Online Import software that lets customers import data to the 3PAR system from EVA's Command View management interface. The StoreServ 7000 has also adopted EVA's Smart Start application to deploy the system.
"The message to our 100,000-strong EVA customers is that this StoreServ platform is everything you would want in a next-generation EVA," Nunes said. "It has all the right capabilities for our EVA base, and the look and feel of what they're used to."
He said there will be no more EVA platform releases, although HP will have more EVA software releases and continue to support EVAs in the field. "There are no plans to end-of-life EVA through 2013," he said. "We still have engineers focused on the platform."
Arun Taneja, president of the Taneja Group consulting firm, said the move to discontinue the EVA is overdue. "EVA got old and tired," he said. "Once HP bought 3PAR two years ago, it was obvious that they would be bringing 3PAR technology down to the midrange and taking EVA out. 3PAR is the 21st-century version of what EVA was for the 20th century."
The 3PAR StoreServ 7000 systems will be available Dec. 14.
HP's new file and object platform combines its Ibrix scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) with new internally developed object storage. The firm's Nunes said the system can scale to more than 1,000 nodes and 16 PB, holding billions of objects and files in one namespace.
The system has a REST API so customers can access it as object storage. HP-developed Express Query handles index offloading, metadata tagging and search. HP claims Express Query can search petabytes of data in seconds or minutes.
HP also integrated its Autonomy Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) content management software on the StoreAll.
Nunes said StoreAll is designed as an eventual replacement for the Ibrix X9000 used for large file applications in markets such as high-performance computing and media and entertainment. "We're telling Ibrix customers 'if you’re looking to upgrade, upgrade to the StoreAll platform,'" he said.
StoreAll Storage will be available Dec. 20 at a starting price of 91 cents per gigabyte.
HP upgraded its StoreOnce 2000 and 4000 backup appliances for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and remote offices, increasing performance while adding support for StoreOnce Catalyst software that has only been available on the larger StoreOnce 6000.
StoreOnce is HP's only disk backup deduplication product. It has discontinued the VLS virtual tape library (VTL) that it sold through an OEM deal with Sepaton.
Will it be enough to save HP storage?
By extending 3PAR and adding object storage to its portfolio, HP is trying to jump-start its sluggish storage sales. HP has lost storage market share -- mainly to EMC -- over each of the last four quarters according to IDC’s storage tracker numbers. That doesn’t include the most recent quarter, in which HP's storage revenue declined 13% from last year. 3PAR revenue has steadily grown since HP acquired it for $2.35 billion in 2010, however. HP reported a 60% year-over-year increase in 3PAR revenue last quarter.
Of course, struggling storage sales is only one problem HP faces today. Declining PC sales and its fraud charges against Autonomy are bigger issues, but analyst Taneja said he expects HP's storage fortunes to pick up with its latest releases.
"It's surrounded by a lot of other negative HP garbage, but when I look at HP's storage I see this as a strong statement," he said. "It's like, 'I'm coming at you, here's my portfolio, I'm going to duke it out in the market now.' For the first time in almost two decades HP has a portfolio across the board on data protection, primary storage and archiving. Its storage portfolio is stronger and more consistent [then] I've seen before."