HP Trickles Down High-End Features into Midrange Storage

The world's largest IT company isn't creating anything particularly new, but it is making available high-end storage features that weren't available for midrange systems in the past.

Hewlett-Packard is going in storage where many systems makers have trod before. The difference is that this is "The HP Way" of building and selling storage systems.

Literally, the company is going by the book, so to speak, by not necessarily innovating, but in acquiring the best IT it can get its hands on and setting a general course that will satisfy its myriad customers of all sizes, sectors and locations.

In this case, we're talking about so-called "converged" storage. Cisco Systems, Dell, IBM and a few others have been marketing these new-gen systems-in Cisco's case, for more than two years-that put more and more functionality into 1U and 2U rack-mounted servers and storage arrays.

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At its Discover conference this week in Las Vegas (which continues through June 10), HP introduced a long list of new data center-related products and services, most of which are preceded by the term "converged."

The Hot Word Is 'Converged'

It's like the whole IT world is falling in upon itself, which is the actual definition of the word. What it really means is that IT hardware continues to get bigger (in terms of capability), faster and better, as it has for three generations-while also getting physically smaller, denser and less power-hungry at the same time.

A dichotomy? Certainly. But that's the story of IT in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. So what follows here is a listing of the major new storage products from HP. If you want a good look at Discover conference news about energy-efficient servers, virtualization and cloud strategy, see stories written by eWEEK's Jeff Burt.

HP has refreshed its 10-year-old flagship EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) midrange storage array lineup, which has about 100,000 units currently deployed, HP Vice President of Storage Marketing Tom Joyce told eWEEK. The company also introduced new 3PAR- and IBRIX-based arrays, which came from acquisitions during the last two years.

"This will be the fifth generation of the EVA, so it's been a very successful line for us for a long time," Joyce said. "We've been saying that we're committed to it for the markets that it serves, so this is the proof in the pudding."

The newest EVA is the P6000, which includes thin provisioning and dynamic LUN migration software along with 8G bit Fibre Channel, 10G bit iSCSI and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) support.

The most important new feature added to the EVA is indeed thin-provisioning, which is not a surprise because this is exactly the strong point that 3PAR brought to HP when it was acquired in a bidding war with Dell in September 2010. The trickle-down in storage features took several months, but it's now available.

It's well-known that several competing systems providers have already offered TP for months-or even years.

HP also is introducing iSCSI connectivity in the EVA, which has been cable-bound to Fibre Channel all these years. iSCSI certainly isn't news unto itself, but it is in this instance; many of the EVAs have been churning away for years in data centers with their FC networks and haven't needed a connectivity upgrade. iSCSI in this product simply gives users another choice if they are in the process of upgrading.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...