HPs StorageWorks Grid Approach Makes Data Dynamic

Hewlett-Packard's strategy, which aims to increase agility, turns static, stored data into dynamic information assets by delivering information services in real time.

Hewlett-Packard has unveiled its storage grid architecture strategy—an approach that company executives claim is faster and more efficient than comparable products and systems on the market today.

The solution, called the HP StorageWorks Grid strategy, promises to turn static, stored data into dynamic information assets by delivering information services in real time. By doing so, HP promises better data accessibility and greater business agility.

The StorageWorks Grid stores information across individual "smart cells," which form a modular infrastructure that adapts to deliver information in real time, Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina said in a conference Tuesday.

The strategy has merit, said Joseph Zhou, senior analyst for enterprise storage solutions at D.H. Brown Associates Inc., an IT research firm based in Port Chester, N.Y.

The value of a storage grid lies in the high-level intelligence embedded into the platform, he said, adding that because the intelligent platform is self-contained and self-tuned, it can provide around-the-clock availability and optimal performance with minimal manual intervention.

It also will distribute storage resources to all applications and users on demand to eliminate the overprovisioning of resources, he said.

"There are solutions offering a single panel of glass as a management portal that allow simplified access to numerous storage objects that must be managed, whereas HPs StorageWorks Grid offers a single system image that presents a single object to manage," he said.

"Its designed to simplify and automate tasks rather than mask the complexity [you would get] in a conventional network storage environment with management software."

/zimages/4/28571.gifHP has scaled up StorageWorks for Linux. Click here to read more.

NetBank Inc., an Atlanta-based Internet bank, is about to take delivery of the StorageWorks Grip architecture. The company aims to facilitate a rapid response to data requests spurred by the need to satisfy compliance and legal demands, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires that companies disclose relevant financial performance information publicly.

"Recently, one of our business units requested us to produce all e-mails for a specific period of time containing any of about 20 keywords," said Chip Register, chief technology officer at NetBank. "In a traditional environment, we would have had to find the backup tapes and more than likely, wed find that we had changed software providers or backup devices somewhere during that time period, making the task even harder. It would have taken hundreds of hours to satisfy that request."

With this system, Register said he thinks the same process will take a matter of minutes. To make it work, Register will install the grid system between both internal and external inbound traffic and the companys Exchange server.

That way, a copy of every e-mail communication will exist on the HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS), a separate storage appliance based on the StorageWorks Grid and smart-cell technology. A second copy will exist on the Exchange server. After 90 days, the copy on the Exchange server will be deleted. After that point, the e-mail will exist only on the RISS system.

Over the next year, HP plans to build on its initial StorageWorks Grid-based system, introducing a variety of related solutions, including block-serving smart cells, downloadable smart-cell functionality, integrated heterogeneous array controllers and grid-based management.

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