HP Boosts NAS Offerings, Joins iSCSI Party


HP Monday triggered across-the-board improvements to its network-attached storage (NAS) portfolio and joined the iSCSI party by introducing software that enables server and storage connectivity to Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs) across an Ethernet network.

According to Mark Nagaitis, director of product marketing, Infrastructure and NAS Division at HP, the NAS enhancements are a continuation of the Palo Alto, Calif. firm's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture strategy, in which HP firmly believes in bridging the gap between NAS and SAN products, as opposed to treating them as competing architectures.

Nagaitis told internetnews.com the goal of ENSA, which will be hammered home at the ENSA show in Orlando Monday, is to deliver a storage environment based on the customer's business requirements. This, he said, should be "controllable, resilient and extensible."

HP has enhanced the entire HP StorageWorks NAS portfolio by boosting performance, improving connectivity with SAN infrastructure and offering attractive price reductions on certain products. Specifically, the HP StorageWorks NAS b2000, b3000 and e7000 now employ technology from the HP ProLiant family of servers, which provides about a 20 percent jump in performance. HP is also slashing prices in this group. For example, the b3000, which normally retails for $44,000, will now cost $25,000.

NAS Data Path Manager for Better SAN Connectivity

Toward the NAS-SAN fusion track, HP unveiled NAS Data Path Manager, which is multi-pathing software for the HP StorageWorks NAS 8000 that makes connectivity into SAN environments better by allowing path fail-over between host bus adaptors, as well as by providing load-balancing and performance monitoring support.

Though very different approaches, both NAS and SAN, viewed by some in the industry as competing technologies, have strong toeholds in the sector. HP is one firm that is choosing to fuse the technologies to hone as complementary a solution as possible to please a wider variety of enterprise customers. Nagaitis said fusing the technologies will help customers funnel their NAS and SAN environments into a singularly-managed pool of storage resources to maximize return on investments.

"We are protocol agnostic," said Nagaitis, when asked if HP favors Fibre Channel over iSCSI, or NAS to SAN ideologies. "We don't believe in favoring one religion over the other, but we do base our products heavily on these open standards."

He said HP recognizes the pros and cons of all the technologies and finds a way to make them work together to benefit customers.

HP StorageWorks SR2122 iSCSI Storage Router

The iSCSI product is the HP StorageWorks SR2122 storage router. Nagaitis said the device integrates TCP/IP and Fibre Channel connectivity in a single unit, providing block-level data storage and retrieval.

The push for the product, Nagaitis said, is that enterprises can deploy the HP iSCSI storage router to consolidate storage resources, centralize backup, improve the use of storage disks and simplify storage management.

Big businesses seeking to augment existing Fibre Channel SANs can use the router to provide SAN connectivity to isolated servers or servers without internal expansion capabilities. This obviates the need to extend Fibre Channel networking components to these environments.

HP StorageWorks SR2122 comes complete with two Gigabit Ethernet ports for connectivity to standard TCP/IP networks and 2-gigabit Fibre Channel interfaces for connectivity to the SAN. At a slim 1U in size, it features iSCSI connectivity for X86 servers, including HP ProLiant BL series blade servers, as well as HP StorageWorks HSG80 products, HP StorageWorks Modular SAN Array 1000, HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays and all major enterprise backup storage. It retails for $9,995.

HP Monday also announced new and expanded storage services, including new SAN services, in which a SAN certified expert support team is provided to keep SANs up and running twenty four hours a day; a data migration service that allows customers to safely transport their business information across systems; and enhanced backup and recovery services to save data.

This story originally appeared on internetnews.com.

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