[long post 945 wds] HP held their (annual?) HP Tech Days in Fort Collins, Colorado this last week. We had presentations from a number of HP product managers and got to meet a number of new and old bloggers there.
In attendance from the blogosphere were: Alastair Cooke (@DemitasseNZ), Brian Knudtson (@bknudtson), Howard Marks (@DeepStorageNet), John Obeto (@JohnObeto), Jeff Powers (@Geekazine), Rich Schandler (@recklessop), Derek Schauland (@webjunkie), Justin Vashisht (@3cVGuy), and Matt Vogt (@MattVogt).
Craig Nunes VP of Marketing, HP Storage got up and led off the day’s discussion talking about recent results. HP disk storage is up 11% for the quarter, 3par is growing by triple digit growth (
QoQ maybe YoY?) and channel sales are growing by 10%. HP storage is gaining market share, grew 3% for the quarter. Also, HP is #2 is shipped backup appliances (1H11). The current focus for HP storage is in three areas:
- Invest in established platforms, MSA and EVA (with a 100K customers)
- Invest in converged storage aimed at new data centers, 3PAR, Lefthand, IBRIX and StoreOnce.
- Invest in converged systems knocking down barriers between servers, storage and networking with Virtual Systems.
Craig spent most of his time talking about converged storage. HP’s converged storage includes:
- built in autonomic storage automating operations with one pain of glass and an orchestration layer on top to oversee everything.
- scale out storage providing simpler ways to grow storage.
- built on standardized platforms using off the shelf server platform technology
Craig ended up discussing HP’s Virtual System, their response to VCE’s Vblock, NetApp’s FlexPod and Dell’s vStart Bundle. HP’s Virtual System was announced earlier last year and has been doing well in the market.
Brad Katz, Product Manager got up next and talked about Lefthand storage solutions. Lefthand’s portfolio now ranges from the Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) all the way up to a P4800 SAN storage blade with P4300 and P4500 rackmountable storage systems between those two. Lefthand systems provide a clustered, scale-out IP/SAN and NAS storage. Cluster data is striped across all disks in all storage nodes.
The VSA runs as a virtual machine and utilizes any ESX (direct or SAN attached) storage. The P4800 operates as a storage blade in an HP blade server and uses storage in the blade system. The two rackmount systems P4300 and P4500 connect to SAS attached, external disk shelves.
Steve Johnson and Mat Jacoby talked next about the StoreOnce deduplicating backup appliance product line. StoreOnce is an HP R&D Labs home grown, deduplication technology which provides balanced ingest-restore rates and memory efficient deduplication. The current product line spans D2D25xx, D2D41xx, D2D43xx and the recently announced, B6200 backup storage blade.
StoreOnce use a variable block, 4K chunksize and a sparse index which saves on server memory size which both lead to great deduplication rates. Most deduplication functionality is memory intensive making it hard to scale without increasing memory or using different dedupe engines across a product line. StoreOnce’s sparse indexing fixed that issue and as such, can use the same deduplication engine across their entire product line.
Jim Richardson or JR, a 3PAR SE from the start, got up and discussed 3PAR. Early on, 3PAR brought to the market three characteristics that differentiated it from other enterprise storage products:
- Multi-tennancy – today’s cloud service providers and just about anyone running enterprise storage needs to support mixed workloads on shared storage. 3PAR’s ASIC allows data to be placed on any storage node and be serviced at direct access speeds to better support these multi-application environments.
- Thin provisioning – although certainly not the first to support thin provisioning (Iceberg was the first), 3PAR did much to popularize it. Once again the ASIC provides automated support for thin provisioning.
- Autonomic functionality – optimization of storage performance across nodes and tiers of storage was also helped by their ASIC’s ability to transfer data without involving processor interaction. Also 3PAR, tried to take the drudgery out of administration by automatically wide striping and making provisioning easier.
Jim Hankins and Chris Duffy came up next and talked about the X9000 IBRIX storage system. Ibrix has intrinsic scale out NAS support and provides automatic failover across dual processing nodes called couplets. The B6200 backup system (see above) is based on Ibrix technology. Ibrix supports a 15PB single name space that is segmented across cluster couplets. Ibrix also comes in a gateway configuration using shared SAN storage behind it.
Robert Thompson got up and talked about the X5000 Windows Server WSS based NAS product. It is the industry’s first two node file system with active/active clustering in a box. As the product runs Windows Server, one can run Anti-Virus or other server applications directly on the storage and is customer maintainable. Robert pulled out every replaceable unit in the system. Apparently the E5000, HP Storage’s Exchange Appliance is also based on the same hardware. The two servers in the storage system are clustered together using MSCS.
In the afternoon we went on a lab tour and got to see some of HP’s storage and data center cooling technology on display.
On the second day, Mike Koponen got up and discussed HP’s Virtual System (or Vblock competitor) and Aboubacar Diare gave some of his opinions on VMware VAAI & VASA integration from his testing perspective. Finally, Calvin Zito wrapped up the two day event and everyone (except me and a few others) went on a brewery tour.
All in all, we had a good time with HP. Too bad, I didn’t get to go on the New Belgium Brewery tour, perhaps next time.