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Hewlett-Packard has introduced new shared storage solutions based on LeftHand Networks’ products that HP says will improve reliability and reduce costs by simplifying server virtualization deployments.

Ben Bolles, product manager for HP/LeftHand Networks says solution providers deploying virtual environments often overlook customers’ increased storage requirements, which can lower levels of data availability and decrease utilization rates, he says. Even if customers do allocate enough storage space initially, as their business grows, they may not be able to scale up effectively.

HP’s new LeftHand P4000 SAN solutions address these issues via a scale-out architecture that provides data replication and automatically balances data volumes across all storage resources. The solution also allows administrators to deploy shared storage within virtual server environments using existing infrastructures.

Analysts predict the iSCSI SAN market will grow by 25 percent through 2013, driven mostly by server virtualization. Bolles says HP’s LeftHand P4000 SAN solutions will allow solution providers to address common pain points customers have when deploying virtualization and associated storage, while reducing the costs of managing and expanding their storage infrastructures.

Bolles also says the new solutions, the P4300 ‘Starter SAN’ and P4500, will allow LeftHand better penetration in the rapidly growing virtualization and storage market and will offer a broader portfolio for solution providers.

“We’re taking the SAN solutions we offered and getting them out to more solution providers through HP channels,” Bolles says. “When we were operating as LeftHand, we could reach about 30 percent of the worldwide market, and now we can address most of the other 70 percent,” he says.

The P4000 incorporates enterprise-class features like clustering and pooling, high availability, thin provisioning, snapshots and remote replication for solution providers serving the SMB and midmarket, says Bolles.

“The P4000 solutions are geared towards SMBs starting out their virtualization deployments, where LeftHand has a lot of success,” he says. “Working as part of HP, we’re making sure these solutions are fully integrated into their portfolio, but we’ll keep our existing deal registration process,” Bolles says. LeftHand will continue to offer exclusive opportunities for partners that sell LeftHand products and solutions, Bolles adds.

A major way HP is integrating LeftHand’s technology is through a new SB40c Storage Blade, says Lenore Adam, HP’s product manager, Blade systems.

“We’re leveraging LeftHand technology to do things we couldn’t do before, like integrating high-availability, scalable storage within a blade enclosure,” Adam says.

The new HP StorageWorks SB40c with P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance Software bundle delivers a scalable SAN that can be deployed within the HP BladeSystem infrastructure and expanded across multiple blade enclosures to meet high growth storage needs, Adam says. With this technology, HP is taking a different approach to how customers scale up their storage and integrate blades and virtualization.

“When customers have transitioned to blades in the past, they lost their ability to do much with direct attached storage,” she says. “Most of the data that resided on storage directly attached to servers had to be moved to an external SAN, which was time consuming and costly,” Adam says.

The SB40c offers a simple way for solution providers to simplify integration of direct attached storage with a SAN while increasing capacity and easing administration, she says.

The HP LeftHand P4000 SAN Solutions also leverages VMware’s vStorage functionality and integrates with VMware Site Recovery, Bolles and Adam say. This can make it much simpler for solution providers to deliver a comprehensive virtual server and storage solution for customers.