Hi Folks –
Last year, I blogged about HP’s StoreEasy Storage line running Windows Storage Server 2012. I’m pleased to announce that HP has enhanced its StoreEasy Storage family with:
- Support for Microsoft’s latest storage operating system—namely, Windows Storage Server 2012 R2—across the entire StoreEasy Storage lineup.
- A new network configuration wizard within the Initial Configuration Tasks (ICT) application that simplifies deployment.
- A new dashboard that displays capacity utilization, performance, health information, and more.
Now let’s take a closer look at what’s new in each of these areas…
Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Now Supported
Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 is now supported across the entire StoreEasy Storage family, which consists of two model lines:
- HP StoreEasy 1000 Storage — designed for small businesses, branch offices, and workgroup environments. These models are available in 1U, 2U, and tower form factors.
- HP StoreEasy 3000 Gateway Storage — designed for medium to large businesses and branch office SAN environments. These models are available in 2U and half-height blade form factors.
Comprehensive info on all models can be found in the HP StoreEasy Storage Family data sheet.
HP StoreEasy 1000 Storage Series
HP StoreEasy 1000 Storage models are delivered with Windows Storage Server 2012 preinstalled as turnkey, ready-to-deploy systems. Here are key specs from the data sheet:
Here are some pics of these models, starting with one of the StoreEasy 1440:
Here’s a pic of the StoreEasy 1540:
Here’s a pic of the StoreEasy 1640:
HP StoreEasy 3000 Gateway Storage Series (Rack-mount model)
HP StoreEasy 3000 Gateway Storage models are delivered as a completed hardware and software package. After you’ve picked the model you want, you’ll need to choose the appropriate HBA for connecting to your disk array or SAN. Here are key specs for the 2U rack mount model from the data sheet:
HP StoreEasy 3000 Gateway Storage Blade Series
HP also offers a StoreEasy 3000 Gateway Storage Blade series, which is designed for HP BladeSystem c-Class servers. Here are the key specs from the data sheet:
Powerful Storage Features
The HP StoreEasy Storage Family data sheet does a great job calling-out key features and capabilities that you get with HP StoreEasy storage running Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. Following is a partial list from the data sheet (bolded and/or italicized text is mine—used to highlight/clarify features mentioned):
- Increase capacity by up to 50–60 percent with non-intrusive granular data deduplication. (Microsoft testing shows a 30-50 percent in storage efficiency when deduplicating home directory shares; up to a 50 percent increase for group file/collaboration shares; up to a 70 percent increase for software deployment shares; and up to a 90 percent increase for VHD libraries. Don’t forget that Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 adds the ability to deduplicate live VHDs for VDI workloads.)
- File sync and share feature enable mobile workers to access their files from anywhere. Provides corporate data controls including data encryption, data wipe, user lock screen password enforcement, file classification, and storage quotas. (This refers to the new Work Folders feature in R2.
- Use advanced data management to automatically improve use of resources, comply with data retention policies, and enhance protection of sensitive files. (This refers to File Classification Infrastructure.)
- Consolidate multiple workloads and IT services in a single platform with included support for a broad range of file access protocols, Microsoft Hyper-V and SQL Server application storage, iSCSI block access, and IT infrastructure services such as print, Domain Name System (DNS), and DHCP.
- Reduce your branch office WAN usage with Hosted BranchCache, automatically caching frequently accessed corporate data center files.
- Install and run endpoint protection—such as an antivirus—on the system itself, reducing the cost and complexity of connecting to an external endpoint protection server. (Many other storage appliances require a separate server to run your antivirus software. Appliances running Windows Storage Server enable you to run leading antivirus software on the same system.)
- Prevent loss of user data with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), providing online snapshots and support for agent-based backup software.
- More securely transfer user data with SMB3 encryption and signing, file system encryption, and BitLocker Drive Encryption (which requires an optional Trusted Platform Module)
- Simplify your storage provisioning tasks with improved file system self-healing and online analysis. (This refers to the improvements to NTFS we made in R2.)
It’s clear that HP sees a lot of value in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 features and capabilities!
New Network Configuration Wizard
Beyond building storage solutions that enable customers to get the most out of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, HP is adding its own unique ”secret sauce” to deliver additional value. One such extra is a new Network Configuration Wizard, which integrates with Initial Configuration Tasks (ICT) in the OEM Out-of-the-Box Experience (OOBE) to simplify installation and prevent errors with single and multi-node system setup, including teaming and VLANs.
- During the OOBE, the Network Configuration Wizard adds a few more steps to the ICT tasks.
- After the steps are completed, the wizard runs a network validation test.
- If issues are detected, the wizard provides guidance to help find the cause of the errors.
- Administrators can go back to the ICT tasks later and rerun just the networking portion, if desired.
Here are a few screen shots provided by HP:
New HP StoreEasy Dashboard
The new HP StoreEasy Dashboard consolidates all key status information in a single interface, enabling the IT generalist to easily monitor capacity utilization, performance, and system health. This reduces the need to navigate multiple tools and interfaces and is another way that HP is differentiating its Windows Storage Server offerings from those of other vendors.
The dashboard also enables HP partners to enter information for display. For example, the popup window for low-capacity alerts (see below screenshot) can show partner contact information, enabling the partner to generate future revenue. And as we all know, there’s a decent margin on add-on storage capacity.
A few more screen shots!
The HP StoreEasy Dashboard is scheduled for release in mid-May 2014 and will be provided as a separate download.
It’s great to see that HP is not only refreshing its StoreEasy Storage product line to support Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, but that the company is also including its own valuable additions to help companies get the most out of its StoreEasy Storage appliances and gateways. If you think that a StoreEasy system may be right for you, you can check them out at HP Discover 2014 (June 10-12 in Las Vegas). HP will also be demoing the StoreEasy Dashboard at the conference.
Scott M. Johnson
Senior Program Manager
Windows Storage Server