HP Vows Server, Storage Marriage

HP is looking to unify its connections between
server and storage devices with standardized technologies,
the company said.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said it is
trying to differentiate itself from competitors like IBM, EMC and Sun
through by unifying Smart Array serial controllers, storage enclosure (MSA), HP
ProLiant servers, and with Hot-Plug Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and
SATA hard drives.

Currently, a typical server environment requires separate
connection products for networking, storage, interconnects and
infrastructure management.

But recently, companies like HP are moving
to a combination of SAS and SATA architectures to help them have a
clear path for future networks. HP last month said it was integrating its storage management software with server technologies.

HP is adding its Advanced Data Guarding technology to the mix with
industry-standard RAID6 technologies and is calling its
version a “unified fabric.” The company’s strategy is to join
multi-vendor networking, storage and clustering over a single
connection device.

Paul Perez, vice president in charge of storage, networking and
infrastructure for ProLiant servers at HP, said the shift was very
consistent with HP’s Adaptive Enterprise strategy.

“A survey we did with the storage consortiums is that customers
told us they wanted to be transitioned only once,” Perez told
internetnews.com. “In the case of multi-function SAS to manage
networking, iSCSI and clusters, we are patching that into a single
card, a single fabric.”

HP said it worked with partners such as Broadcom and Seagate to standardize the
connection and storage technologies so they could be incorporated into
existing heterogeneous data centers.

“New standards like SAS and unified fabrics are a direct result of
HP’s strategy — inventing technology and then collaborating with other
companies to make industry standards that move the entire IT
infrastructure on a curve that is faster, better and cheaper than
before,” Perez said.

HP’s first multifunction networking adapters — the HP NC370F and
the NC370T for PCI-X bus architectures — are expected to be available
by the end of June. The 12-month plan includes transitioning its
upcoming HP BladeSystem, Integrity, ProLiant and StorageWorks
products.

“We’ll be fully embedded with SAS next spring,” Perez said.

HP said its universal drive approach helps standardize on universal
small form factor drives for SAS and SATA.

With the technology in
place, HP said customers can mix both SAS and SATA drives in the same
serial backplane. And because the drives can be removed and inserted
into another SAS backplane enclosure, HP said the migration takes
minutes, not hours.

Perez said HP would also update its product lines with Remote
Direct Memory Access technology when Microsoft is ready
to ship its next generation of server and storage software that takes
advantage of the specification.

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