Hardware Today: Storage Explosion to Disk Array Boom Page 2

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Oct 17, 2005


HP

HP cites the key trends in the disk array market as being: grid-enabled storage solutions, support for iSCSI and 4 GB FC infrastructures, smaller form factor hard disk drives, and SAS drives. Accordingly, during the past six months, HP has made significant announcements in the high end, midrange, and entry array spaces. For enterprises, the company launched the HP StorageWorks XP10000 Disk Array. The XP10000 delivers virtualization technology that provides external storage device support to enable tiered storage up to 16 Petabytes. Array partitioning eases provisioning, while array-to-array local and remote data copying enables multisite disaster tolerance. Its has a cache of up to 128 GB, up to 1,152 disk drives, supports RAID 1 through RAID 6, and its maximum sequential performance is 8 GB per second.

HP also introduced its StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) in its midrange products. This series includes the EVA4000, EVA6000, and EVA8000, which feature anywhere from 56 to 240 drives. The new EVA products come with related management and replication software, new multipathing products and support, and complementary solutions for high-performance network file serving, data backup, and fast recovery for Microsoft Exchange environments.

The small business market is the third area to which HP is devoting much attention. It recently launched the HP StorageWorks 1510i Modular Smart Array for SMB customers and departmental and remote offices. The MSA1510i, an iSCSI interface based 2U controller unit connects to both HP StorageWorks Serial ATA (SATA) and SCSI disk enclosures. It has a maximum capacity of 24 TB for up to 96 drives.

"The MSA1510i is perfect for less-expensive storage solutions using SATA enclosures to store data that doesn't require a high degree of I/O performance and/or is viewed as non-mission-critical to business operations," says Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for StorageWorks SAN Division.

Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) continues to polish its TagmaStore platform. At the top of the line sits the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (USP). Its embedded virtualization layer can manage up to 32 petabytes of internal and external storage, logical partitions across internal and externally attached storage, and storage-agnostic remote copy that simplifies business continuity.

The midrange is highlighted by TagmaStore Network Storage Controller (NSC). It takes most of the features of USP, such as a parallel crossbar switch architecture for high availability and multitasking; a large-scale controller-based virtualization layer; logical partitioning; and storage-agnostic replication — in a, rack-mounted, modular form factor. For example, the NSC55, which has a capacity of 5 TB, carries an entry list price of approximately $150,000.

"The TagmaStore Network Storage Controller brings high-end enterprise functionality and performance to the broader midrange market and midsize businesses," says Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist at Hitachi Data Systems.

Like most vendors, HDS is expanding its SMB products. The TagmaStore Workgroup Modular Storage (WMS) and Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) are aimed at both SMB and tiered storage in a multitiered environment. It includes cache partitioning, RAID 6, up to 512 attached hosts, a raw capacity of 42 TB, and a maximum mirrored cache of 2 GB. HDS' low-end SATA-only WMS100 has an entry price of just under $20,000 for 1.5 TB (scales up to 42 TB). With an entry point of 5 TB, the AMS200 carries an entry list price of $40,000.

Sun Microsystems

The big news from Sun these past few months is the acquisition of StorageTek, a company very strong in tape hardware, including tape libraries and autoloaders. The acquisition driver? The race to become the leader in the nascent information lifecycle management space. Sun's recent high-end work centers around the StorEdge 9985 system, a scaled-down version of the StorEdge 9990. Both models offer high-end data center customers controller-based storage virtualization to simplify storage consolidation and create a tiered storage infrastructure. It also includes resource partitioning to better manage service-level agreements and the replication technology for better business continuity planning.

For the midrange segment, Sun enhanced its StorEdge 6920 system. It supports advanced copy services and intelligent tiered storage and manages heterogeneous storage systems. It also includes Sun StorEdge Data Replicator software to protect data from outages and disasters.

"With the ability to manage external storage systems, the StorEdge 6920 allows customers to tier and manage heterogeneous storage systems creating an intelligent storage network," says Kathleen Holmgren, vice president, disk systems business, data management group, Sun Microsystems.

In the entry space, Sun has shaken up the Sun StorEdge 3500 lineup. The 3320 array is two-and-a-half times faster than Gigabit Ethernet and 3.2 times faster than 1 GB Fiber Channel arrays. It is intended as a storage complement to new Sun Fire X64 servers.

Active Market

What can be expected in the disk array market in the coming months: Stay tuned for lots of announcements as vendors jostle for position. This extreme activity is being driven by several factors.

In addition to the obvious high growth in data storage, HDS' Mikkelsen sees convergence as key.

"The disk array market is converging into a single entity," he says. "Enterprise and modular used to be defined as Fortune 1000 and midrange, respectively. Now each group will have a mixture of both classes of storage to match their application-specific needs and help them efficiently manage their storage resources."

Meanwhile, continued downward pressure on prices is making storage more attractive for a wider range of customers.

"The entry-level array market, specifically segments with storage systems priced below $15,000 is expected to see large growth in the coming years," says Sun's Holmgren. "Regulatory compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and other business demands are driving storage and data retention requirements exponentially, while IT budgets are constrained."

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