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Riding the thoroughbred of its own innovation, HP has announced new enterprise-grade products from its StorageWorks unit, unveiling the news at the HP Technology Forum in Las Vegas. New software, StoreOnce, is being rolled out to roll back the need for more petabytes of storage capacity. VP of Marketing, Strategy and Operations Tom Joyce said HP's "engine of innovation" with StoreOnce is HP Labs, where the software was developed.

Joyce, who joined HP from EMC over the past year, invoked the name of HP's stoutest storage rival several times while describing storage solutions that apply integrated de-duplication practices to arrays and blade-based storage devices. Joyce said that the competition's point products for dedupe "aren't designed to together," selling the new integration of network, server and storage mantra of HP. Moving stored data to another datacenter introduces extra steps to "unduplicate, move, and then deduplicate it again," Joyce said. "It's complex and not easy to manage."

StoreOnce operates with HP-UX as well as Windows and Linux -- but thinking of the software as environment-based misses the point. It's built for storage appliances to use, processing data that streams over a network. (HP's Unix needed to be checked by a press rep before Joyce could affirm the environment is supported. Linux and Windows needed no such checking.) StoreOnce is a migrator's benefit, if the site can justify backup service to hundreds of desktops. But its benefit soars if a site is moving from traditional tape and offsite archival practices, like so many 3000 shops have used over the years.

Joyce said that eliminating IT sprawl was the goal of the HP storage releases, but that sprawl is defined in terms that might overwhelm a modest sized 3000 shop. A new StorageWorks P4800 BladeSystem SAN can start configured small and grow, he said, but small in this definition is $20,000 per storage node. StoreOnce and the new BladeSystem SANs are part of HP's Converged Infrastructure, "hardware and software architecture that scaled to support thousands of virtual desktops. HP's release noted that the storage solution supports 1,600 users at 50 percent less cost and 60 percent less space than traditional client virtualization implementations."

Joyce said the new releases offer de-duplication "baked in" to the products, rather than added on with virtualization libraries. De-duplication is a concept as old as the initial HP deadline for leaving the 3000 market, starting in 2006. The concept reduces large amounts of backed up data which can chew up disk space. Software algorithms use hashing to tell whether backed up data is unique. HP says its dedupe reduces storage needs by at least a factor of 20:1. HP says its solution is twice as fast as a comparable EMC product, too.

HP introduced its first dedupe solution in 2008. At that time, dedupe was being offered integrated with a HP StorageWorks disk-to-disk D2D system, or in software. But every such analysis of what not to back up can slow down backups, something that Joyce said HP needed to improve upon. HP's StoreOnce is built to solve the problem while it works with both the D2D and EVA storage units. What's more, HP will be able to integrate storage arrays from EMC, NetApp, Sun and IBM in its newest EVA Clusters. The vendor is not about to let a competitor's storage create what it calls "islands of storage." 

Storage at HP has become a dominant business in the company's enterprise sector, riding the kick-start of advanced Compaq solutions integrated as part of the 2002 merger. Joyce said that dedupe solutions are one of the top two sparks for the business, the other being iSCSI devices. EVA is probably overkill for the majority of the 3000 market looking at migration storage solutions, starting at $63,600 for a base unit without drives; the cluster can be as big as 2 petabytes and contain 2,000 drives.

The and D2D2500 D2D4000 systems are more in line with the average storage needs for the SMB customers the 3000 has served, priced from $4,600 for 2 TB to $17,000 for 4TB of capacity. A new $93,000 D2D4312 extends the capacity to 48 TB. The integration means the arrival of StoreOnce, suited for the D2D devices, delivers more immediate benefit for small shops.

HP's building storage solutions that scale far larger than the needs of even a half-dozen servers, its hardware and software built to serve multiple operating environments and systems through CommandView browser interfaces. Channel partners have these dedupe solutions in house for testing this month, Joyce said, establishing what he called "proof-points" on the new technology. With StoreOnce, "this is one where we think we can lead the market."