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HP puts solid state in EVA storage arrays; Storage budgets shrink as capacity grows (news roundup)

Headlines: Hewlett-Packard's new EVA6400 and EVA8400 midrange storage systems offer customers the option of a solid-state drive (SSD) tier zero; research shows data keeps growing while budgets shrink, leading storage administrators to look at new technologies to cope.

Storage channel news roundup for March 5-11, 2009

HP puts solid state in EVA storage arrays

HP tuned up its Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) midrange storage platform today, becoming the latest vendor to support solid-state drives (SSDs) in its arrays and adding management features.

The firm rolled out the EVA6400 and EVA8400 arrays, which replace the EVA6100 and 8100 models. The EVA6400 scales to 216 TB and supports 8 GB of cache; the EVA8400 scales to 324 TB and 22 GB of cache.

HP followed EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Sun with support for SSDs from STEC Inc. The new EVAs will support between six and eight 72 GB Fibre Channel (FC) SSD drives, along with FC and Fibre Attached Technology Adapted (FATA) drives.

Pricing starts at $24,240 for the EVA6400 and at $61,456 for the EVA8400, but that's with controllers only and no storage.

Review HP's partner program checklist here.

Storage budgets shrink as capacity grows

Storage capacity buying decisions these days are influenced by two indisputable trends that have storage admins at the center of a tug-of-war: IT budgets are being slashed or remain flat while data continues to grow.

Data from market research firms and interviews with storage admins underscore how those two factors are influencing buying decisions as the economy continues to struggle.

More storage news
Find last week's storage channel news roundup here.

"We're predicting data growth rates at roughly 25% to 30%, and storage budgets up 3% in 2009," said Brian Babineau, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "People will have to buy smarter, use data-reduction technologies and manage retention wisely to improve utilization."

A survey of Fortune 1000 companies by New York City-based TheInfoPro Inc. late last year found only 32% of respondents expect their 2009 budget to be the same or more than last year.

Read the full story on 2009 storage budgets.

Nashville Red Cross turns to Mozy backup after decentralization

When the American Red Cross returned IT purchasing decisions into the hands of its local Nashville chapter last year, new deals with local vendors helped to cut costs and ensure better support. But managing data backups was a job the local chapter still wanted in someone else's hands, and so it sought out a managed service from EMC Corp. subsidiary Mozy.

The chapter's technology solutions manager, Michael Dodd, said the IT infrastructure, including backups to tape through Symantec Corp.'s Backup Exec software, had been managed via VPN connections by administrators at headquarters in Washington D.C.

Read the full story on the Nashville Red Cross' use of Mozy.

Venture capitalist talks storage, economy and the cloud

The type of technology that shows up in future generations of storage products greatly depends on which startups get funding to develop those products. So recently got together with Justin Perreault, general partner at Waltham, Mass.-based Commonwealth Capital Ventures, to get his take on what the storage landscape will look like in a few years. What technologies are most likely to get funding this year?

Perreault: Good question. [laughs] I might rephrase that as 'Are any technologies likely…?' I'm joking. There's a lot of interest in virtualization, I think, that's ongoing. I think that will be maintained because of its strong ROI and economic proposition. There's a lot of focus around making desktop virtualization real, managing a virtualized environment, lifecycle provisioning of virtualization resources, managing utilization, capacity and efficiency -- all the things the HP OpenViews and [IBM] Tivolis provide for nonvirtualized environments. There are a lot of startups out there chasing various aspects of that. I think there'll be a lot of activity in those areas and some will emerge as winners.

Read the full interview with Justin Perreault.

Cloud forms slowly over data center

IT professionals attending Data Center World this week will hear a lot about budgets, virtualization, green computing and cloud computing -- although not all of those topics are top of mind for those who run data centers.

A survey of some of the 4,300 members of AFCOM -- an association of data center managers that sponsors Data Center World -- found that budget cuts and virtualization are big issues for 2009, but cloud computing isn't yet.

In the survey conducted late last year, 49.4% of respondents said they expected budget decreases this year, and 86.2% of respondents planned to increase virtualization to reduce the number of servers in the data center. Cloud implementation was another story, as 77.3% said they did not expect to increase their use of cloud computing this year.

Check out this cloud computing cheat sheet.

Capacity planning: Users delay top-tier purchases

Storage administrators are bridging the gap between growing storage needs and shrinking or flat budgets by repurposing old hardware and aggressively pushing tiered storage policies to delay capital purchases.

Steve Terrell, senior Microsoft administrator at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business in Columbus, said IT budgets at universities are almost always tight despite global economic factors. He uses Compellent's Storage Center SAN automated tiered storage to cut down on data on the most expensive tier 1 Fibre Channel disk.

While storage continues to double every year, the business school saved approximately $30,000 to $50,000 with its capacity purchase last year because most of it was SATA rather than FC disk. Terrell also estimated that Compellent's thin provisioning and space reclamation features have saved another 30% of the allocated capacity in the array.

Other observers forecast that this focus on storage efficiency will continue to grow as budgets shrink.

Read the full story on how users are delaying top-tier purchases.

Isilon expands with transactional and archive systems

Isilon Systems recently expanded its NAS platform with a primary system for transactional data, an archiving system and a higher-performance addition to its flagship IQ X-Series clustered storage array.

The IQ 5400S contains dual quad-core Woodcrest x86 processors and 16 GB of memory per node, as well as 15,000-rpm SAS disk drives and four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. The Isilon S-Series is optimized for random-access transaction performance, while the X-Series is designed for sequential-access throughput performance.

The IQ 36NL archival node is based on the X-Series, but contains half the processing power of that product line, two Gigabit Ethernet network connections instead of four, and SATA drives. Each 4U 36NL node can hold 36 TB.

The IQ 36000X has four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Like the 36NL, the 36000X node is a 4U device that can hold up to 36 TB, but it contains two quad-core processors and 4 GB of RAM per node.

Pillar adds solid-state disks to Axiom arrays

Pillar Data Systems today made its move into solid-state drives (SSDs) by unveiling an SSD "brick" for its Axiom storage system.

Pillar's Axiom arrays are built using a combination of "brick" capacity nodes and "slammer" compute nodes that scale performance and capacity independently. The new SSD brick will contain 12 64 GB Intel X25-E Extreme SATA SSDs.

Customers must purchase 12 SSDs in a brick. Mike Workman, Pillar's CEO and president, said this is because Axiom arrays already offer up to 96 GB of cache. "To offer a single 32 GB or 64 GB hard drive would be a silly thing for us to do," he said.

Pillar won't divulge pricing and performance details about the SSD brick until closer to general availability in June.

Learn why solid state drives are a good fit for critical applications.

USGA deploys IBM services for disaster recovery

The U.S. Golf Association (USGA) decided to supplement its homegrown tape-based backup tools for data protection a little over a year ago and deployed three IBM services for sending data offsite and maintaining a disaster recovery (DR) facility. But the USGA is not embracing cloud storage services for every application.

Jessica Carroll, managing director of IT for the USGA, said the association uses IBM's Disaster Recovery Service, Remote Data Protection Express cloud backup based on the technology IBM acquired with Arsenal Digital in 2007, and E-Mail Management Express for Microsoft Exchange server failover.

Read the full story on how the USGA uses IBM services.

USA.NET, HP deal brings hosted messaging, collaboration to channel partners

Email hosting company USA.NET, based in Denver, announced it signed a deal with HP to provide services for HP channel partners. The deal means that HP's VARs and integrators will be able to offer USA.NET's hosted messaging, collaboration, email archiving, security and mobility services to their own customers. Interested VARs can go to for more information.

StarWind on the lookout for reseller partners

Storage virtualization vendor StarWind Software is actively recruiting channel partners. The company's iSCSI Target software is designed to work with virtualization solutions such as VMware ESX and VMware ESXi or Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. It also supports server cluster environments with Microsoft Windows Server Cluster for applications such as Oracle, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange.

The company has no professional services staff; it offers lead generation, product training and priority access to tech support as part to its channel partners.

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