HP Adds Hybrid Fibre Drive to Storage Diet

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HP Monday announced it has struck a balance between quality and cost with a new hard disk drive (HDD) that splices the performance and reliability of Fibre Channel technology with the lower cost parameters of iSCSI .

Co-developed with HDD maker Seagate, the hybrid disk drive — dubbed Fibre Attached Technology Adapted — combines lower cost disk drive technology with a Fibre Channel interface. Fibre Channel is traditionally employed in high-end enterprise environments and is often
costly, but HP has found a way to offer its Fibre functionality on the cheap.

According to Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for HP’s online storage division, the new drives are geared to help customers shuttle data between low-cost and high-performance disk drives within a single storage system.

Fitze told internetnews.com the hybrid drive is designed for Fibre Channel environments and storage area network (SAN) deployments
where abundant storage and lower price per gigabyte are more important than access time. The drive allows users to store and access less critical or infrequently used data without the higher cost associated with Fibre Channel drives.

“This is for any company that is struggling with the explosive growth of data and is looking for a more cost-effective way to store their data but doesn’t want to sacrifice the reliability they’re accustomed to and doesn’t don’t want to spend as much money on storing data if it’s less frequently
used,” says Fitze.

In this day and age, that pretty much describes every business. But one example is that of a hospital storing patient records. If a patient’s file is not currently being used, it can be shuttled to less costly storage, or when in use, moved to more functional storage with the new HP/Seagate drive.

The drive is a product of an ongoing trend in the storage sector to give customers enterprise-class capabilities at lower price points. One of the ways to do that is by creating a scenario where data center managers can move data from high-cost storage, such as Fibre Channel, to lower cost storage technologies, such as iSCSI.

HP, IBM , EMC , VERITAS Software , and others are all working toward this goal for customers.

Fitze says the Fibre Channel interface allows the new drives to be plugged directly into HP StorageWorks EVA Fibre Channel drive enclosures, which provide dual-ported data paths all the way to the drives to help businesses avoid downtime that comes with single-ported Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) disk drives.

Moreover, HP’s new hybrid drives do not require customers to convert from a Fibre Channel to a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) or a parallel ATA (PATA) interface, saving time and money.

Available in July, the Fibre Attached Technology Adapted drives will offer capacity up to 250GB with a dual-port, 2Gb/second, Fibre Channel interface.

In related news, HP moved to beef up its SAN provisions with new software geared to improve SAN fabric interoperability. The HP StorageWorks SAN director
2/128 B-series switch provides the high availability and high performance features required in data center SAN implementations.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based systems vendor also reported its IP Storage Router 2122-2 now supports the Fibre Channel Internet Protocol (FCIP) along with iSCSI to help customers link disparate servers to storage networks.

Story courtesy of Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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