HP pondering storage blades to cut arrays out of the data centre

Hewlett Packard has begun to contemplate blade storage architectures that the company feels could replace dedicated storage arrays.

Hewlett Packard (HP) is considering a future in which storage arrays become a thing of the past, replaced by storage blades, storage devices using the same form factor and "plug and play" mentality adopted by blade servers.

Jim Wagstaff, Vice President and General Manager of HP's StorageWorks Division for Asia Pacific and Japan yesterday told SearchStorage.com.au that "We have had the discussion internally. If you take blades to the nth degree, why have an array dedicated to storage?

"The blades could become the arrays and at that point you question the need for specialised engineering around storage."

Wagstaff feels that customers will appreciate blade/arrays placing "... everything in a single chassis is better for manageability," and "there is a cost advantage for a complete bladed solution

Wagstaff said HP is not yet developing such technologies, but would say that "We are going to see products over the next 18 months that have multiple terabytes in one chassis."

Such devices will not, however, replace other types of storage array. "For connectivity and virtualisation purposes there is a need for dedicated storage outside the chassis," he says. HP does, however, "aim to get all of our [storage] form factors onto a blade," expanding beyond the company's current NAS blade and tape blade.

For the foreseeable future, the company is more focussed on midsized companies, which it sees as the hotspot in the storage market. To meet their demand for storage, the company last week released its new StorageWorks 2000 Modular Smart Array, an iSCSI and/or Fibre Channel array priced from $US5000 and due to on sale in March.

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