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Enterprise Computing: HP Announces Converged Infrastructure Architecture

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Barely a day has gone by since EMC, VMware and Cisco announced their partnership, and now we have a view on HP’s strategy.  Today, HP announce their private cloud offering – Converged Infrastructure Architecture (CIA), putting them squarely head-to-head with the VCE coalition.  So what’s it all about?

HP already offer server, storage and networking infrastructure.  The CIA (nice acronym) brings those technologies together and leverages some of their recent acquisitions.  There are four main “innovations”:

  • HP Infrastructure Operating Environment
  • HP FlexFabric
  • HP Virtual Resource Pools
  • HP Data Center Smart Grid

Looking specifically at the Virtual Resource Pools, there are three storage-related offerings:

StorageWorks X9000 Network Storage Systems Family. This is the technology acquired from IBRIX and is being sold in three flavors; X9300 gateway – essentially a NAS head; the X9320 appliance, using SAS/SATA drives; X9720, the high-scaling model.  What’s nice here is that any and all of these offerings can all exist under the same namespace, with options to rebalance and move data dynamically between nodes.

StorageWorks SAN Virtualisation Services Platform. I have to admit I know little nothing about this product, however it looks like an IBM SAN Volume Controller equivalent, pooling and representing fibre channel storage resources.  I first saw mention of it on Stephen Foskett’s blog about the HP Tech Day (had I been able to make the event, I’ve heard about it in person).

StorageWorks Cluster Extension EVA Software For MS Hyper-V Live Migration. This feature provides support for Live Migration – the equivalent of VMware’s VMotion.


HP is clearly setting out their position to compete head on with the VCE coalition.  What’s interesting is that this first announcement discusses new storage technologies, rather than the existing XP and EVA ranges.  I’d expect these are not going away, but it would be good to understand how they fit in the overall strategy.  Even more telling is the lack of comment regarding integration at the hypervisor level.  Does this mean HP will offer both VMware and Hyper-V?  Note that the first O/S announcement related to Hyper-V support…

IT is moving to the converged model.  We are seeing a ‘”land grab” for the customers hearts and minds and for the large players to entrench their solutions in the data centres of the future.  What’s not clear is where some of the other big players sit.  IBM can do stuff alone; but what about HDS and Netapp?  At the moment they seem left out in the cold.

I look forward to finding out more on these products in the coming months as all the vendor strategies start to pan out.


About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • http://www.synapseninferno.org/ Wolfgang Stief

    The “SAN Virtualisation Services Platform” is most probably the same product, which Sun sells as ADSS. Both are OEM products of LSI Logic Storage Virtualisation Manager (SVM) which came into LSI by acquiring a company StoreAge several years ago. Per “storage domain” they use a minimim of two DPMs (data path module) and two SVM servers for management. Components are redundant, DPMs are some kind of intelligent fabric.

    The DPMs are in the data path, connecting backend fabric (storage systems) with frontend (host systems). Configuration is done on the SVM (out-of-band), which will update some kind of “block translation tables” (my own term) in the DPMs. All common storage features are available of course: snapshots, mirrors, synchronous and asynchronous replication, scripting capability, etc. You won’t need any high level storage software on the storage systems anymore. Just offer “default” LUNs to the SVM/DPM and manage everything else from there.


  • Jason Newton

    An answer to this – Does this mean HP will offer both VMware and Hyper-V?

    Yes, HP Converged Infrastructure is hypervisor agnostic and we are doing deep integration with all major players within this strategy at multiple levels of management, storage, networking, etc.

    In addition, our approach also addresses applications NOT inside a virtual machine.

    Jason Newton
    HP Enterprise Systems & Networking

  • Chris Evans

    Thanks Wolfgang, I will be checking it out.


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