Hewlett-Packard made a point last Aug. 28 with its bidding battle with Dell to win the hand of utility storage maker 3PAR. The high bid was $2.3 billion, so it was not exactly an investment to shrug off as simple collateral damage.
And that point was this: 3PAR is a new-age storage company with the IP we want, no matter what. Dell, which eventually acquired Compellent a few months later to satisfy its own storage modernization requirement, found that out firsthand.
It's taken six months, as one might imagine, but HP has integrated 3PAR's goods and services into its own product line and is using them to modernize its cloud-building initiative.
3PAR, though a smallish company, was well known in the industry for its high-quality, scale-out capacity and thin-provisioning, automated storage tiering, data deduplication, and general virtualization-ready capabilities.
The integration of 3PAR not only helps HP expand its customer base, but it also has brought about a newly augmented storage system, the P4800 SAN (storage area network), which fits directly into HP's blade system architecture.
There's a new backup system that's ready for prime time. Finally, HP is also rolling out a completely new StorageWorks system dedicated to the beastly Microsoft Exchange 2010 e-mail apparatus.
3PAR's wares were not totally optimized for HP's Unix-based operating system, HP/UX, so the engineers had to get right to work on it. It's now a thing of the past, Lee Johns, HP's product marketing director for StorageWorks, told eWEEK.
"We've also integrated 3PAR with our HP blade system matrix and cloud system offerings. What this means is that you can now leverage 3PAR [with its scale-out utility features] as part of the end-to-end provisioning capability of those products," Johns said.
HP also has certified 3PAR's arrays with its high-end X9000 network storage gateway-which, too, is the result of a previous acquisition, IBRIX.
"What this does is give users a scalable NAS system and [the ability] to use 3PAR storage as the backend store but retain the characteristics of that 3PAR storage. [The X9000] doesn't consume it and hide it," Johns said.
Simplifed Management Controls for Converged Systems
HP also has simplified its data-management controls and built them on converged storage, server and networking platforms to provide clients with unified management, said David Scott, senior vice president and general manager of StorageWorks. Scott was CEO of 3PAR prior to the acquisition.
"Our clients tell us their journey to the cloud will be one of the most critical transitions for them this decade," Scott said. "The integration of 3PAR with Converged Infrastructure is ahead of schedule."
The P4800 G2 SAN is built inside an HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosure and eliminates the need for external storage networking, Johns said. It uses common management tools across server, storage and networking elements, he said.
It runs SAN/IQ 9.0 software with enhanced support for VMware vStorage API for Array Integration. This accelerates VMware functions such as cloning by up to 95 percent while cutting the load on VMware ESX servers, Johns said.
HP's D2D4324 Backup System enables users to back up as much as 1.4 petabytes of data with only 96 terabytes of raw disk capacity, Johns said. The new system features StoreOnce deduplication technology home-developed in HP Labs.
Finally, HP's new E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 integrates servers, storage, operating system software and Exchange 2010 configuration wizards into a single, converged package.
HP said its pricing and product availability is as follows: The HP P4800 G2 SAN starts at $148,000 and is available immediately. The HP D2D4324 Backup System starts at $149,999 and is also available immediately. The new E5000 series is available immediately; the E5300 with 500 mailboxes starts at $35,900, the E5500 with 1,000 mailboxes starts at $41,400, and the E5700 with 3,000 mailboxes starts at $68,500.