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HP brings storage, servers into one rack

HP exec soon expects to see a yottabyte of capacity shipped each year

By Stephen Lawson
May 6, 2008 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - To help IT departments prepare for the coming onslaught of data, Hewlett-Packard Co. today introduced a platform that combines storage and computing in one rack with a single file system and management console.

The HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System (ExDS9100) is designed for businesses facing bigger challenges in storage than in computing. Those include Web 2.0 companies such as photo-sharing and social networking sites, as well as specialized industries such as genetics, oil and gas, said David Roberson, senior vice president and general manager of HP's StorageWorks division.

Demand for storage is doubling every 18 to 24 months, and within five years, Roberson expects to see a "yottabyte year" when the industry as a whole ships 1 yottabyte, or 1,000 zettabytes, of storage capacity. HP is investing heavily in this area because it sees a big opportunity: Enterprises will be putting much of their focus and spending there in the next two years, Roberson said. Currently, 45% of all hard drives in the world, from PCs to data centers, are sold by HP, he said.

Managing many terabytes of storage is far different from taking care of a few hundred gigabytes on a PC, said Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. analyst Mark Peters.

"You reach a point where just the sheer scale of what you're managing becomes the problem," Peters said.

Many vendors are moving toward this kind of system, including IBM, with its recent acquisition of Israeli start-up XIV, and EMC Corp., Peters said. But the ExDS9100 promises to be a good solution because of the care HP is putting into it, he said.

"There's nothing huge, bulk, cheap, easy to use that's already on the market," Peters said.

The ExDS9100 will help companies scale up their storage and computing capacity and more easily manage that capacity, according to HP. Today, in organizations with large amounts of data, it may take several administrators to manage one petabyte of data. HP wants to turn that around so a single administrator can manage several petabytes, Roberson said.

The platform consists of an HP BladeSystem chassis with room for 16 blade servers, in a rack that also accommodates storage controllers and high-density "storage blocks" with as many as 82 hard drives. A base configuration will consist of four blade servers and three storage blocks, with 246TB of storage. Customers will be able to add either type of capacity independently of the other. With two racks, a system can have as much as 820TB of storage capacity.

Applications that access the storage will run directly on the blade servers, taking advantage of HP file-clustering software. This eliminates a tier of software, according to HP. Both servers and storage can be managed through one management console. In addition, the high density of the platform allows for efficient use of space, cooling and power, according to HP.

The ExDS9100 is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter. HP predicted that it will cost less than $2 per gigabyte in a typical configuration.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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