VMware® VMmark® has quickly become a performance benchmark to which many organizations turn to quantify how many virtual machines (VMs) they can realistically expect to host and then perform well on a cluster of physical servers. Yet a published VMmark score for a specified hardware configuration may overstate or, conversely, fail to fully reflect the particular solution’s VM consolidation and performance capabilities. The HP ProLiant BL660c published VMmark performance benchmarks using a backend HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 all-flash array provide the relevant, real-world results that organizations need to achieve maximum VM density levels, maintain or even improve VM performance as they scale and control costs as they grow.
Delivering always-on application availability accompanied by the highest levels of capacity, management and performance are the features that historically distinguish high end storage arrays from other storage arrays available on the market. But even these arrays struggle to easily deliver on a fundamental data center task: migrating data from one physical array to another. The introduction of the storage virtual array feature into the new HP XP7 dramatically eases this typically complex task as it facilitates data consolidations and migrations by migrating entire storage virtual arrays from one physical array frame to another while simplifying array management in the process.
ITaaS is the new Holy Grail with 75 percent of IT managers saying ITaaS aligns with their organization’s philosophy and needs. Accustomed to living in a world where each application had dedicated servers, networking and storage, ITaaS eliminates this issue. It aggregates these resources into a common pool that is accessible by all virtual machines (VMs) and their hosted applications that may be owned by multiple different departments or even different organizations. These resources may then be allocated to them at any time.
Flash memory technology can deliver transformative application performance improvements that lead to results that matter to business—like faster decisions and the ability to serve more customers more quickly. But the cost of flash memory arrays and the technical know-how required to integrate them into the data center have thus far put them out of reach of many small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).
Hybrid storage arrays utilize dynamic data placement in a storage pool that combines flash memory and HDDs to deliver the exponential improvements in storage performance associated with flash memory arrays at a cost that makes sense to a broader range of organizations. Now HP has introduced a preconfigured hybrid storage appliance specifically designed for SMEs–the HP StoreVirtual 4335–that enables smaller IT departments to deliver the performance boost businesses want while also giving lean IT departments what they need–affordable technology that just works.
The promises of storage consolidation and simplified management are attracting many midsized organizations to converged storage systems. But standardizing on a single storage platform can result in unexpected trade-offs – such as their need to compromise on certain features or sacrifice performance. Using the new HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller, organizations can trade up to the benefits that converged storage systems have to offer without needing to trade-off on either features or performance.
Converged storage systems are nothing new. They offer both file (CIFS and NFS) and block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) storage networking services and can support multiple tiers of storage with the largest of these systems scaling to hold petabytes of data. What is new is their sudden allure to midsized enterprises with three factors driving their increased interest in these systems
OpenStack has caught the fancy of enterprise data centers (EDCs) as they look to move their virtualized applications in and out of the cloud. However when it comes to storage and enterprise storage in particular, OpenStack still lacks a number of block-based storage capabilities which it must offer in order for enterprise data centers (EDCs) and service providers to view it as a viable cloud option. The availability of OpenStack block storage services in HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage alleviates these concerns as they pave the way for EDC OpenStack adoption.
The value of HP 3PAR StoreServ’s mesh active controller architecture and its ALUA support come into focus as enterprises look to deliver a “higher” form of HA. Since the HP 3PAR StoreServ does not need ALUA to identify the best or “active” path to the backend LUNs on a single array as all of its LUNs are “Active” on all of controllers, HP 3PAR StoreServ repurposes ALUA to deliver a “higher” form of HA.
Business continuity planning (BCP) is already a mainstay at many midsized enterprises. An AT&T 2012 online survey of IT executives from organizations throughout the United States found that over 80% of them, to include businesses with revenues of no more than $25 million, have BCP in place. The ready availability of cloud technologies means that almost any size enterprise can realistically implement and maintain this environment – potentially more affordably and easily than BCP. Yet to achieve this higher form of HA for all of their applications requires they first put in place the right set of technologies.
Flash’s high performance and low power consumption makes it almost an inevitable replacement for hard disk drives (HDDs) as a primary storage technology. Yet deploying flash on storage arrays throughout the data center is more than a technology choice; it is becoming a “bet the farm” type of decision. In this second part of my two-part blog series, I examine how the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 delivers the underlying technologies that an all flash array requires and complements them with a mature, proven architecture which makes selecting this HP storage system an easy choice.
Many analyst firms have for a number of years acknowledged that flash will rise to prominence in corporate data centers and likely replace HDDs as the primary storage technology in production storage arrays. As far back as 2009, the Gartner analyst group described flash as “one of the most important technologies in future data centers.” More recently in 2012 the analyst firm IDC forecast that worldwide solid state disk (SSD) shipments would increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51.5% from 2010 to 2015.
There is no dispute that whether one operates in the physical or virtual world, neighbors impact one another when sharing the same resources. However unlike the physical world where unwritten ground rules exist that govern such interaction no such rules exist in the virtual world. This is why organizations want some assurances that virtualized mission critical applications get the resources they need when they need them. Using HP 3PAR StoreServ’s Priority Optimization software, virtualized mission critical applications get access to the resources they need when they need them.
Corporate interest in data encryption grows with each passing day as companies fret over third party attacks and stricter regulations. But a set of data that organizations may fail to encrypt – and which may be the easiest to access – is data stored on storage system hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs). By using encrypted drives on the HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, organizations close this security loophole while ensuring data stored on these drives remains safe from prying eyes.
Deduplicating backup appliances have revolutionized backup. They work with most backup software, increase backup success rates, shorten backup windows, reduce backup storage footprints and help centralize data protection. But these appliances sometimes exceed the budgets and capabilities of remote and branch offices (ROBOs), small and midsized businesses (SMBs) and service providers to install and support them. The HP StoreOnce Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) brings deduplication to these size offices in a new virtual form factor that better fits their specific needs.
The allure of client virtualization is the promise that it can deliver a robust corporate desktop experience to any user at any time or place using any device. The reality is that to date client virtualization deployments pretty much required rocket scientists to configure, implement and manage them, especially when it came to the underlying storage architectures upon which they are based.
When it comes to hosting Microsoft Exchange 2010, small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) have many if not all of the same performance requirements of a storage system that hosts Exchange that large enterprises have. What these smaller companies do not possess are the deep pockets that enterprises have and which are typically needed to acquire such a storage system. Using the latest midrange HP 3PAR StoreServ 7400 storage system, these organizations can get the storage performance attributes that they need while staying within their budget constraints.
Enterprises are looking for better returns on IT investments, including dramatically increasing the ability to respond to changing business requirements. They want cloud service provider-like flexibility, performance, and security even when they don’t have service provider-sized budgets.
More enterprises than ever are ready to take the next step in their virtualization journey by virtualizing mission critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange 2010. Yet taking Exchange 2010 virtual in enterprise environments involves much more than simply hosting Exchange on a powerful server and then hoping that the underlying storage is up to the challenge.
Fitting “enterprise” storage systems into small and midsized businesses (SMBs) requires they deliver all of the features without the up-front capital or ongoing management costs. To date, that has rarely been the case with SMBs either needing to make trade-offs in cost or ease of use to get the storage system they need. That changed earlier this month with HP’s introduction of its HP StoreEasy and StoreVirtual that bring into SMBs the storage system efficiency, security, reliability and availability once previously only reserved for enterprise storage products.
Many businesses are allocating a portion of their IT budgets to Big Data analytics projects. At the same time, a certain amount of technology spending is necessarily tied to risk management and compliance because a failure to meet minimum eDiscovery and legal hold requirements can have disastrous consequences. While these twin priorities often compete for funding, it is now possible for an enterprise to adopt a single core technology to address both their data analytics and compliance requirements and double their bang for the buck in the process.
Business leaders recognize that residing within the data that they already collect and store there are real opportunities to improve business decisions, products and services. According to recent Forrester survey of CIO’s, 72% of all respondents identified the need to make more informed business decisions as the top driver for enterprise information/data projects. This drove vendors to invent billions of dollars to create solutions that address this need and we are now starting to see those efforts bear fruit.
A good example is HP’s acquisition of Autonomy last November. At the time of the acquisition Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, observed that “The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments. Autonomy significantly increases our capabilities to manage and extract meaning from that data to drive insight, foresight and better decision making.”
The key intellectual property that HP acquired in the transaction is Autonomy’s IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer). IDOL utilizes hundreds of data analysis algorithms, many of them patented by Autonomy, to understand the meaning of information in place and make sense of 100% of all stored structured and unstructured data, to include audio and video.
In speaking with Stephen Spellicy, Director of Enterprise Data Protection HP Information Management about the IDOL technology, he said, “IDOL literally automates the analysis of all that data by providing a full contextual index. Using IDOL, you can then search and find everything from keywords to concepts to things that are kind of around the concept of what you’re searching for that may be mentioned or inferred–even within audio and video files.”
HP will undoubtedly bring Autonomy technology to market in many ways, but one of its first moves was to integrate Autonomy IDOL and HP Data Protector. This integration will create additional value for the thousands of enterprises that have already licensed both Autonomy IDOL server technology and HP Data Protector (DP).
HP moved Data Protector into the Autonomy portfolio which freed its software engineers to begin working to enable Data Protector to leverage IDOL almost immediately after the acquisition was completed. The first release of this IDOL enabled Data Protector was released in June 2012 which provided:
- An integrated solution with the ability to leverage Autonomy’s intelligence to index data within the Data Protector repository. This expands the information pool available to the whole ecosystem of applications that know how to use the index, such as the common IDOL search interfaces available in the Autonomy portfolio.
- Restores based on IDOL Server’s full content search rather than DP’s more limited restore-by-query function.
Initial use cases for Autonomy IDOL/HP Data Protector integration include eDiscovery, legal hold, and early case assessment. A related use case is locating data that an enterprise’s retention policies say should have been purged, but was not. The enterprise may then subsequently use the search results to identify data that could be candidates for elimination from their archives.
As the following screen shot demonstrates, search results include the exact location of the data within the Data Protector repository from a media server perspective. This facilitates retrieval of the information by the storage administrator.
As enterprises mature in their use of DP and IDOL they will grow their ability to apply these technologies to additional use cases that directly target improved business decisions and product or service improvements. One of the most important ramifications of this integration is that HP Data Protector 7 with IDOL provides the critical technology underpinnings for enterprises to achieve both compliance and big data analytics using a single product.
The subsequent August 2012 release of HP Data Protector 7 Update 1 focused on extending these capabilities into cloud environments by integrating DP with VMware vCloud Director. This gives enterprises a scalable approach to realize the benefits of cloud-based virtual data center environments in a way that is fully covered by their current data protection and compliance technologies. This should enable enterprises to accelerate their cloud adoption plans.
Enterprises implementing IDOL with DP7 can expect to achieve the following results:
- Reduced risk of data loss across physical, virtual, and VMware vCloud Director-based environments.
- Reduced legal exposure from non-compliance with records management/data retention policies.
- Reduced cost and time of eDiscovery and Legal Hold research and compliance.
- Increased opportunity to unlock value of data to innovate product or service.
Businesses everywhere need to comply with a myriad of regulations and are forced to spend money on technologies that help them meet those requirements. However if businesses get more value from their existing data stores and even drive new revenue or business, that is the real kicker. For those organizations already using HP DP7 with this new IDOL integration, as well those evaluating its deployment, HP DP7 opens the door to achieve this objective.