HP recently announced announced their new SAN Virtualization Services Platform (SVSP) which is an appliance with software (oh, excuse me, I mean platform) for enabling various (e.g. replication, snapshots, pooling, consolidation, migration, etc) storage virtualization capabilities across different HP (e.g. MSA, EVA and in "theory" XP) or in "theory" as well, 3rd party (e.g. EMC, Dell, HDS, IBM, NetApp, Sun, etc) storage.
Sure HP has had a similar capability via their XP series which HP OEMs from Hitachi Ltd. (who also supplies the similar/same product to HDS which HP competes with), however what�s different from the XP based solution and the SVSP is that one (SVSP) is via software running on an appliance and the other implemented via software/firmware on dedicated Hitachi based hardware (e.g. the XP). One requires an investment in the XP which for larger organizations may be practical while the other enables smaller organizations to achieve the benefits of virtualization capabilties to enable efficient IT not to mention help transition from different generations of HP MSA, EVAs to newer versions of MSAs and EVAs or even to XPs .Other benefits of solutions like the HP SVSP which also include the IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) include cross storage system, or cross storage vendor based replication, snapshots, dynamic (e.g. thin) provisioning among other capabilities for block based storage access.
While there will be comparisons of HP SVSP to the XP, those in many ways will be apples to oranges, the more applicable apples to apples comparison would be IBM SVC to HP SVSP, or, perhaps HP SVSP to EMC Invista, Fujitsu VS900, Incipient, Falconstor or �Datacore based solutions.
With the HP SVSP announcement, I’m suspecting that we will see the re-emergence of the storage virtualization in-band vs. out-of-band including fast-path control-path aka split path approaches being adopted by HP with the SVSP not to mention hardware vs. software and appliance based approaches as was the case a few years ago.
This time around as the storage virtualization discussions heat up again, we should see and hear the usual points, counter points and continued talk around consolidation and driving up utilization to save money and avoid costs. However, as part of enabling and transforming into an efficient IT organization (e.g. a �Green and Virtual Data Center�) that embodies efficient, productivity in an economical and environmental friendly manner, virtualization discussions will also re-focus on using management transparency to enable data movement or migration for load-balancing, maintenance, upgrades and technology replacement, BC/DR and other common functions to enable more work to be done in the same or less anoint of time while supporting more data and storage processing and retention needs.
Thus similar to servers where not all servers have been, will be or can be consolidated, however most can be virtualized for management transparency for BC/DR and migration, the same holds true for storage, that is, not all storage can be consolidated for different quality of service reasons, however, most storage can be virtualized to assist with and facilatate common management functions.
Here are some additional resources to learn more about the many faces of Storage Virtualizaiton and related topics and trends:
Storage Virtualization: Myths, Realities and Other Considerations
Storage virtualization: How to deploy it
The Semantics of Storage Virtualization
Storage Virtualization: It’s More Common Than You Think
Choosing a storage virtualization approach
Switch-level storage virtualization: Special report
Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
The Green and Virtual Data Center (Auerbach)
Cheers – gs