HP StoreVirtual VSA Stakes Its Claim as Best Virtual Storage Appliance

Virtual storage appliances (VSAs) are emerging as an ideal way for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) to keep their storage hardware costs under control while retaining the benefits that networked storage systems have to offer. But as VSA offerings proliferate, determining which vendor’s VSA solution is the right one for an SMB to adopt becomes more difficult. Helping to make that decision easier is the latest series of enhancements that HP adds to its StoreVirtual VSA making it arguably the best VSA solution available today.

VSAs are emerging as a popular alternative for SMBs to take advantage of the best of what server virtualization and solid-stage technologies have to offer. Rather than having to deploy external, physical SAN storage switches and storage arrays, as SMBs virtualize their servers they instead use a VSA to virtualize storage internal to the physical server that then allocates that capacity to the virtual machines (VMs) on the host.

This approach gives internal storage access to many of the same software features found on external storage arrays such as thin provisioning, replication, snapshots and storage clustering. Further, as solid-state storage continues to be more widely adopted and finds its way onto physical servers, VSAs enable SMBs to use that capacity more efficiently and cost-effectively while delivering higher levels of performance to virtual machines (VMs) than what they could get from an external storage array.

Features like these explain why HP alone has distributed over 150,000 HP StoreVirtual VSA software licenses since it first became available in 2007 (then known as LeftHand Networks).  This also explains why more hypervisor and storage providers like FalconStor, NetApp, Nexenta, Red Hat, and even VMware now offer their own versions of VSA software.

But as the number of VSA choices continues to grow, SMBs are faced with a choice: Which one is best suited to use in their virtualized environment?

Based on the features it already offered and the new features it now adds, the HP StoreVirtual VSA makes a strong case for being the right answer to that question. Even prior to today’s announcement, the HP StoreVirtual VSA already supported the following list of enterprise storage software features to include:

  • Application integration
  • Network RAID
  • Multi-site HA (high availability)
  • Peer motion
  • Remote copy for DR
  • Storage clustering
  • Thin provisioning

Today’s announcement adds to its existing capabilities in the following ways:

  • Aligns VSA support warranty with server support warranty. As VSA software is typically implemented at the same time as when server virtualization and a new server is deployed at an SMB’s shop, it only made sense for HP to align the support contracts for both the VSA software and the server hardware so that is what HP did.
  • Integration with Veeam Backup and Replication software. The nature of backup and restore changes almost completely once server virtualization is implemented. However most SMBs fail to recognize just how much it changes. So to ensure backups complete successfully in these newly virtualized SMB environments, HP now integrates the StoreVirtual VSA’s underlying LeftHand SAN/iQ OS software with Veeam Backup and Replication so that Veeam can access the snapshots taken by the LeftHand OS and utilize them for recoveries.
  • New StoreVirtual Multi-packs for remote office and public cloud deployments. Just because SMBs are implementing VSAs still does not necessarily mean they want the day-to-day technical responsibilities of managing their storage or the new software features to which it gives them access. They still prefer it is done by either their main data center (if they are a remote office) or by a third party cloud provider.

By HP making Multi-packs available, enterprises and cloud service providers may economically obtain as many licenses as they need for the remote offices or SMB clients. Then as they deploy the individual VSA licenses to their respective SMBs, SMBs get the full set of storage features they want with the ability for those features to be managed remotely. Further, SMBs may even get the option to remotely recover their VMs at their organization’s central data center or at their cloud service provider’s site using the StoreVirtual VSA’s Remote Copy feature.

VSAs are emerging as a preferred and even optimal way for SMBs to implement and manage storage in their newly virtualized environments. It gives them access to storage features that are normally only found on an external storage arrays while enabling them to consolidate their server and storage hardware.

But with a growing number of VSA software solutions on the market, they need to make a decision as to which option is the best one. The fact that HP has been shipping a VSA solution longer than anyone else, has a set of storage software features that no one else offers and now improves upon those features with this latest release really should make it very easy for SMBs to realize that HP does more than just offer a better VSA solution than its competitors. It offers the best one.

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