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By | Chris Mellor 27th September 2010 14:49

HP slaps P9500 label on HDS' VSP array

Oh, it's smaller than I expected....

HP has announced the P95000, its OEM version of Hitachi's VSP replacement for its top-end USP-V array. Yet the P9500 is smaller than HP's shipping version of HDS' predecessor, the USP-V.

The XP24000 is HP's version of the USP-V high-end array, The P9500 is based on the latest development of that technology announced today as the VSP (Virtual Storage Platform) by Hitachi Data Systems, but it does not have the capacity to replace or even match the XP24000.

The P9500 can scale from five disk drives in a single cabinet to 2,048 drives in six industry standard, 19-inch racks. But it uses 2.5-inch disk drives which provide a maximum capacity of 1PB, using 500GB disks, compared to the XP24000's limit of 2.26PB using 3.5-inch drives.

By way of comparison, EMC's V-MAX can have from 48 to 2,400 drives.

The P9500 supports either solid state drives (SSDs) or 2.5-inch SAS hard disk drives. The usual 3.5-inch hard disk drives are no longer supported - a move that improves array I/O performance by increasing the number of spindles per rack enclosure. HP says this means the P9500 has "double the power efficiency and I/O per square foot in half the space" compared to competitive 3.5-inch disk drive arrays and the XP24000.

The P9500 can deliver more than 100,000 IOPS from a single cabinet. HP suggests many customers will be able to satisfy all their primary storage requirements from a single rack through the SSD and 2.5-inch HDD combination.

HP says the P9500 is a part of its Converged Infrastructure strategy - how could it not be? The company also says the P9500 has a standards-based architecture, using X64 processor-based controllers, and a user-centric design plus application-level quality of service controls; a nod to Pillar Data's Axiom system. It claims the P9500 doubles power efficiency and holds the same amount of data as the XP24000 in half the floorspace.

The P9500 features an Application Performance Extender (APEX) and P9000 Smart Tiers. APEX enables mission-critical application data and data for other business applications, such as virtual machine files, to be stored simultaneously on the P9500. The mission-critical data can get its required bandwidth and latency threshold requirements met, without access to the less important data screwing that up. There is a form of quality-of-service (QOS) partitioning going on here.

Smart Tiers moves what HP calls small chunks of data automatically and non-disruptively between different tiers of P9500 storage, from SSD to the 2.5-inch disk drives, to balance access performance and storage cost.

Extra disk capacity can be added to the P9500 without any downtime and system changes can also be implemented without taking the P9500 offline. Customers can have "pay-as-you-use" licensing with short-term usage paid for by metered charges instead of by buying a perpetual license.

The Remote Web Console is claimed to lower management time by 40 to 60 per cent.

Positioning matters

HP's current XP24000 is its biggest and baddest array, with one to five frames, nine to 1152 disk drives, up to 512GB cache, 224 Fibre Channel ports, 112 ESCON and 112 FICON ports. The P9500 does not and cannot replace it.

The XP20000 is the next biggest HP array and is a one to two-frame system with up 472TB raw storage. The P9500 appears to fit between it and the XP24000.

HP's P4000 (LeftHand) iSCSI arrays come in P4300, P4500 and P4800 variations, scaling capacity as the numbers get bigger. We reckon the P9500 is an early stake in the P9000 product ground and that there are more models to come. We are looking for a P9000 system that can replace the XP24000, and that means more of everything the XP24000 has in terms of disk, SSD, cache and port capacity - perhaps a P9800 is to be expected.

We think the P9500 will fit above the InServ arrays that HP bought with its 3PAR acquisition.

It will also fit above the mid-range EVA arrays. The Register understands two forthcoming generations of the mid-range EVA array, to be known as the P6000, were shown in a non-disclosure booth at this week's Oracle Open World event in San Francisco.

Mark Twomey, EMC's Champion for Backup Recovery Systems in Dublin, said: "A company with no CEO buys a mid-range storage company with no revenue and has to OEM an enterprise storage product with no innovation. That tidily sums up HP’s activities over the past few weeks.

"What we see in the Hitachi OEM’d P9500 is a very backward-looking design statement, this is monolithic system design circa 2005. There isn’t an inkling from anything here that the P9500 was designed for the Private Cloud concepts being adopted by customers and productised by VMware and the like.

"HP overpaid to the order of hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the rusting hulk that is the EVA with the mid-range 3PAR offering. A product of Hitachi’s glacial development cycle, the P9500 enterprise storage platform isn’t a rusting hulk, [but] its dated ideas are simply not relevant to what’s going on today."

HP has also enhanced its HP-UX 11i v3 and Serviceguard Solutions Portfolio for its Integrity product to simplify computing and improve system resiliency.

The P9500 Disk Array is available world-wide, with list prices starting at approximately €350,000 for a complete system. ®

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