HP has a heritage of meeting storage demands on various platforms and with a choice of QOS. In this piece we evaluate the current approach to storage hypervisors.

HP’s messaging promotes the concept of federated storage, rather than storage hypervisors which we have focused on recently (Storage hypervisor Study, Hypervisor Essentials, Virtualisation futures, Dell, EMC, HDS, DataCore, FalconStor, NetApp, Virsto, IBM). In fact HP had a storage hypervisor offering named SVSP (StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform) which was discontinued in 2010. Instead HP’s federated storage is said by HP to be beyond storage virtualisation. HP’s philosophy is based on self-governing, peer based arrays instead of a locating control in a SAN virtualization layer. The company defines it as the delivery of distributed volume management across self-governing, homogenous, peer storage arrays. Those array peers cooperate spanning multiple storage resources. Ie. not dissimilar to what we describe a storage hypervisor approach, however the HP version is currently homogeneous on 3PAR arrays.

The HP federated storage vision
What HP has laid out is better described as a vision or a roadmap for how customers design their storage. The inclusion of self-governing storage controllers implies some degree of autonomy, and although HP refer to those as homogeneous this does not necessarily mean that customers would be restricted to homogeneity. What customers in general need is tiered storage which is load balanced automatically. All the bells and whistles on snappy movement of data are required as well as well as full choice on data protection schemes. Add to that managing data in separate locations even at long distances and we have the promise storage designed for the Cloud. 3PAR on which much of this HP vision is based, established itself as a provider for service providers with the ability to control performance in multi-tenancy workloads.

Storage hypervisors and HP
The HP federated vision is ambitious and not trivial to deliver. But although HP is alluding to its storage underpinning virtualised server workloads, this is an area where customers are already looking for orchestration between server compute and storage compute. That idea of heterogeneous storage pools controlled across many tiers is essentially what we see under the banner of a storage hypervisor. Expand that with server/storage orchestration and we have the vision of intelligent cloud ready virtualised storage. We believe that the vendors will eventually all have to deliver this to their customers and we expect marketing messages in the medium term will flourish articulating ways of achieving this. We anticipate that HP’s roadmaps will broaden their reach from the homogeneous model into one that is more heterogeneous.

Picture credit: circles by wasabemonster

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