HP announces storage blades, bigger VTL

Hewlett-Packard Co. is announcing Tuesday what it said was its first dedicated storage blade for its BladeSystem c-Class enclosure product line, which will give users access to up to 876GB of storage.

The Palo Alto, Calif. company said it is also beefing up the capacity of its virtual tape library and enhancing a starter kit so users can set up a SAN in 20 minutes.

The HP StorageWorks SB40C storage blade, intended for file and print applications, mail and messaging, video streaming and small databases, is a direct-attached storage (DAS) blade that provides more storage than HP's existing server blades, said Steve Gillaspy, group manager of BladeSystem for HP.

The BladeSystem c-Class enclosure, announced in June, holds up to 16 blades, either server or storage, he said. Each storage blade can support up to six 2.5-in serial-attached SCSI drives of up to 146GB, meaning that each storage blade can support up to 876GB, he said.

Users install a storage blade by plugging it into an enclosure that already has a server blade in it, and the server blade automatically sees the additional drives and starts an array configuration application that lets the user set up the array, including defining support for RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 6, Gillaspy said.

The storage blade gives organizations that are using HP servers with DAS a way to upgrade and consolidate their servers without having to migrate to network-attached storage (NAS) as well, said John Webster, an analyst for Illuminata Inc., in Nashua, N.H. Users don't always want to migrate to NAS because just replacing servers with blades is a big enough step, he said.