HP Storage Server Meets Growing Storage Needs

Review: The StorageWorks 1200 All-in-One system is a good fit for companies with limited IT expertise.

The latest addition to Hewlett-Packards entry-level storage lineup, the StorageWorks 1200 All-in-One system brings expanded capacity options to budding IT shops with growing storage needs.

HPs All-in-One product family focuses on reducing the cost and complexity of moving to SANs (storage area networks) for small and midsize businesses accustomed to DAS (direct-attached storage).

eWEEK Labs exclusive tests of the 1200 All-in-One show that its combination of flexibility, ease of use and low cost makes it a compelling choice for organizations with rising storage requirements but limited budgets and IT expertise.

The 2U (3.5-inch), 12-disk 1200 All-in-One is based on HPs ProLiant DL320s server and is priced starting at $5,000. It comes equipped with 3TB, 6TB or 9TB of SATA (Serial ATA) storage; 1.75TB and 3.6TB SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) configurations are also available.

HPs 5U (8.75-inch) 600 All-in-One offers less raw storage—just 3TB SATA or 876GB SAS capacity—but it does offer dual-processor support and more expansion ports, making it more scalable.

eWEEK Labs tested a 1200 All-in-One system equipped with a dual-core Intel Xeon 3060 2.4GHz processor; 1GB of RAM; and 12 250GB, 7,200-rpm SATA hard drives totaling 3TB. In this configuration, the 1200 All-in-One costs $8,759.

The 1200 All-in-One runs Microsofts Windows Storage Server 2003 Release 2, which provides NAS (network-attached storage) functionality with CIFS (Common Internet File System) and NFS (Network File System) support, in addition to iSCSI initiator support for Microsoft, Linux, BSD, AIX and Solaris clients. Network connectivity comes from dual redundant Gigabit Ethernet ports.

HP has also included its own tools to streamline configuration and administration for users setting up a storage appliance for the first time. For example, the Rapid Startup Wizard launches automatically when the 1200 All-in-One is started up for the first time to assist with basic initialization tasks such as setting up an administrator account and inputting basic network settings.

With basic setup out of the way, HPs All-in-One Storage System Management program provides the primary interface for day-to-day tasks such as creating shared folders, setting up iSCSI targets and scheduling snapshots. To get the ball rolling quickly, wizards guide administrators through hosting a Microsoft Exchange server, SQL Server database or user-defined application with the 1200 All-in-One.

Under All-in-One Storage System Management, hands-on storage management is easily accessible. Administrators create and delete arrays and LUNs (logical unit numbers) using the Array Configuration Utility. A panel on the right side of the screen displays FAQs to guide users by defining terms and explaining the consequences of certain actions. All-in-One Storage System Management also has built-in Windows Disk and Volume Management tools for initializing new disks and creating partitions.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about HPs new disk-based backup and recovery system for SMBs.

Logical drives created from user-generated arrays can be customized by size, RAID type (RAID levels 0, 1+0, 5 and 6 are supported), and stripe size (between 8KB and 256KB). RAID 5 arrays require at least three disks, while RAID 6 arrays call for at least four disks. Previously created logical drives can be migrated to a different RAID type or stripe size without affecting existing data.

Further bolstering data protection is support for DFS (Distributed File System) replication and snapshotting (up to 512 per volume).

According to HP officials, an upcoming patch will add support for Microsofts Exchange 2007 (current systems include only wizards for Exchange 2003) and 64-bit hosts, as well as management support for HPs DAS enclosures, including the Modular Smart Array 20, 30, 50, 60 and 70.

Technical Analyst Victor Loh can be reached at victor_loh@ziffdavis.com.

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