Virtualization Arrives for HP SANs

By Judy Mottl (Send Email)
Posted Nov 7, 2008

HP plans to debut a new storage virtualization platform by December that promises to simplify management and reduce costs associated with storage area networks (SANs).

The OEM built a SAN platform that promises easier storage management at a less expensive price.

The HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) lets IT teams pool storage capacity across heterogeneous systems, provides centralized management, more efficient resource allocation while also reducing storage costs, according to HP.

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"Storage virtualization is a key component of a virtualized IT environment that is flexible, efficient and easy to manage," Bob Wilson, executive vice president of the storage platforms division at HP said in a statement.

The news comes as virtualization technologies expand beyond the server environment parameter. The technology unifies storage systems into a large pool that keeps track of where information is located, allowing a number of storage devices to be managed as a single device.

Benefits range from consolidation and better data protection. TheInfoPro research firm reported earlier this year that 35 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises are using storage virtualization and plan to expand their investment during the next two years. It is expected to hit 50 percent by 2009 -- a 400 percent spike since in adoption since 2005.

The SVSP platform builds on virtualization technologies that HP's StorageWorks portfolio already offers. One is HP's Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) that virtualizes disk drives.

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The new piece extends scale-out virtualization across SAN heterogeneous storage and introduces network-based block storage virtualization.

One industry expert said it will help enterprises manage and move data across different storage systems and bring greater efficiencies into play.

"This should be a welcome addition as users can finally aggregate, consolidate as well as transparently manage and move data across different systems," Greg Schulz, senior analyst, StorageIO, told

HP joins a full deck of vendors offering storage virtualization tools, including FalconStor's IPStor, DataCore's SANsymphony and EMC's Invista.

HP said its approach differs from competitors as SVSP provides a split-path architecture that separates data flow from management processes. That means processing power needed for data path workloads can scale independently from what's needed for management.

"This lets it deliver superior performance and greater scalability than traditional virtualization architectures," a HP spokesperson told

An entry-level 4TB configuration will be priced at $43,900.

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