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HPE StoreVirtual OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

HPE StoreVirtual is #7 ranked solution in top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools. IT Central Station users give HPE StoreVirtual an average rating of 8 out of 10. HPE StoreVirtual is most commonly compared to VMware vSAN: HPE StoreVirtual vs VMware vSAN. The top industry researching this solution is Computer Software Company, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is HPE StoreVirtual?

HPE StoreVirtual storage ensures that organisations can optimise the benefits of server virtualisation with cost-effective high availability and disaster recovery. The iSCSI-based, scale-out storage platform is easy to manage and change – meeting ongoing business demands without creating IT bottlenecks or application downtime. Overcoming the cost and management limitations of traditional storage area networks (SANs), HPE StoreVirtual nodes use storage clustering to form a single pool of resources that enable organisations to buy only what they need today, scaling non-disruptively to meet requirements in the future.

HPE StoreVirtual is also known as HPE StoreVirtual, HPE VSA.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Software Defined Storage (SDS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

HPE StoreVirtual Customers

NBrIX, WIND Telecom, Netrics

HPE StoreVirtual Video

Archived HPE StoreVirtual Reviews (more than two years old)

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SB
Counsel
User
Data is stored in two different places, leveraging more security and availability

Pros and Cons

  • "Data is stored in two different places, leveraging more security and availability. Therefore, network problems are having less affect on iSCSI."
  • "Simplicity of not having to buy FC or FCoE SAN. Instead, we buy servers with their own storage."
  • "Product looks like it is in the end of development."

What is our primary use case?

Enterprise data and health care. All our data was in a P4500 StoreVirtual, now it is gradually moving to a 4 Node VSA.

How has it helped my organization?

Data is stored in two different places, leveraging more security and availability. Therefore, network problems are having less affect on iSCSI. We also plan to build a Metro Cluster using VSA.

What is most valuable?

  • Data replication (Network RAID 10) 
  • Simplicity of not having to buy FC or FCoE SAN. Instead, we buy servers with their own storage.

What needs improvement?

Product looks like it is in the end of development. HPE will be probably be merging with SimpliVity. I hope they will continue the product as we already have multiple HW servers besides HPE, and a software SDS means more flexibility for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user784008
Senior IT Officer
Real User
Stability and flexibility are they key advantages

What is our primary use case?

Primary usage is just to operate our daily business.

Performance, so far so good. No problems at all yet.

How has it helped my organization?

The stability and flexibility are the greatest improvements to our organization.

What is most valuable?

  • Stability
  • Flexibility

What needs improvement?

I can't say at the moment. I'm happy with it right now. There is always room to improve.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Using our current license we have just a 5TB limit. If we acquire a new license we can upgrade to the bigger storage. It can definitely scale to our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support comes from our partner. We have never had any issues with them. We haven't had any large-scale issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before this we were just using a physical service and then moved to the virtual environment using VSA.

Our partner recommended this solution. We took a deep look, analyzed, and decided we can go with this solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward, I would say. We did it with our partner.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had a few options like Lenovo, Fugitsu. We went with HPE because it had the best price to performance ratio, and service as well. 

It's been a good experience, so far.

What other advice do I have?

When deciding on a vendor to go with we look at 

  • service
  • stability
  • performance.

Explore it yourself. Talk to your colleagues, talk to the technicians, the experts.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nutanix, Red Hat and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: October 2021.
543,424 professionals have used our research since 2012.
ITCS user
System and Network Administrator at a non-tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Easy updates are possible without taking down storage and VMs

How has it helped my organization?

Input/Output (I/O) has greatly improved. Easy updates without taking down storage and virtual machines (VMs). HA is now a real possibility which I could not fully achieve with normal NAS datastores.

What is most valuable?

Ease of carving out storage. The seamlessness behind the scenes of block management. I just let it do its thing. I don't worry too much about it.

What needs improvement?

Licensing is not exactly straightforward, but not the worst I have ever seen.  

How has it helped my organization?

  • Input/Output (I/O) has greatly improved.
  • Easy updates without taking down storage and virtual machines (VMs).
  • HA is now a real possibility which I could not fully achieve with normal NAS datastores.

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of carving out storage.
  • The seamlessness behind the scenes of block management.

I just let it do its thing. I don't worry too much about it.

What needs improvement?

Licensing is not exactly straightforward, but not the worst I have ever seen.  

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Socio at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Enables us to build highly available shared storage from a standard rack server.

Pros and Cons

  • "Thin provisioning lets us get the most value from the hard drives."
  • "Configuration of application integrated snapshots for VMware is convoluted and it did not work immediately."

How has it helped my organization?

Shared storage in the organization allowed for higher availability and simplified server maintenance.

What is most valuable?

Enables us to build highly available shared storage from a standard rack server, such as HPE Proliant DL. However, it is not limited to that. Thin provisioning lets us get the most value from the hard drives. I found the architecture to have less single point failure than a traditional SAN.

What needs improvement?

Configuration of application integrated snapshots for VMware is convoluted and it did not work immediately.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, the optional MEM (Multipath Enhancement Module) was unstable in one installation with 1GB iSCSI network. Long running, intensive file copying tasks between VMs produced a storage latency "explosion". The issue disappeared immediately after removing the MEM drivers from the ESXi hosts and restoring the default vSphere Path Selection Policies. We did not have an opportunity to review the environment or test an updated MEM.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues. The 3 x 4TB license is a very good start for two nodes. We can add a third node for additional storage and compute power. If the performance demands increase, we can simply install or replace the current iSCSI network adapters with 10GbE. The system also supports SSD and auto-tiering with higher licenses.

How are customer service and technical support?

The HPE technical support for StoreVirtual VSA is very good, but it requires some time to contact them. To get a simple piece of software means registering StoreVirtual VSA. This is a complicated process. The SAR (Service Agreement ID) is associated to the VSA Licenses. It requires you to open a request on the HPE website and this is hard to obtain.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different solution before this one.

How was the initial setup?

There's an installation wizard which is quite simple. However, you need to have a clear image of the final scheme, especially for the network. At the time, I missed a reference blueprint, but a recent publication of "StoreVirtual VSA Ready Nodes" filled the gap.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Review the licensing options, because the smaller licenses are time limited. If you buy a five-year license, not only does the technical support expire after five years, but you also lose the ability to change and expand the VSA, and the systems won't go down. I wouldn't keep a traditional SAN in production without support anyway.

What other advice do I have?

Spend some time reading StoreVirtual best practices and consider buying redundant solid switches, like HPE Aruba ProCurve 25xx, or better. Layer-3 is useful, but not mandatory thanks to split network support introduced in VSA 12.5.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are not an HPE re-seller, but we typically deploy HPE hardware.
it_user685011
CTO at Opus Interactive
Vendor
Offers a high end storage solution that I can present to my customers.

Pros and Cons

  • "I guess on the top of the list is certainly ease of use."
  • "it would nice to have deduplication or compression, things that you have in some of the higher end products."

How has it helped my organization?

It offers, while still affordable, a really high end storage solution that I can present to my customers.

What is most valuable?

I guess on the top of the list is certainly ease of use. We're a smaller company, and we don't have a lot of engineers who can dedicate their time to a single product. I guess I'd also say reliability. I need something that just kind of works all the time. I don't have the time to be dedicating resources to fixing things.

What needs improvement?

For this particular product, I was talking to one of their storage people about it. They already added the few things that I needed. So I don't have anything major. But it would nice to have deduplication or compression, things that you have in some of the higher end products.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good, as well. We are certainly going to push the upper bounds of what it can do.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support and it has been great. It is quick to get access to their support engineers, but also they solve every problem.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This is actually what we selected when we started this search. When selecting a vendor, cost is there, of course, but more than that, some of the other things I've mentioned: Ease of use, reliability, and support. The relationship goes a long way, too. Having access to people directly, whether that's sales engineers, or the sales team themselves. We are a small company, so getting attention from a big company like HPE is great. We probably wouldn't get that from other companies.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. It was very simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We started using this before HPE purchased it. It was LeftHand Network before. It was them versus HPE's SAN, so technically HPE was the other vendor. Now HPE owns it. We chose this solution because it was cluster storage, so for us and our size, it was a better product line.

What other advice do I have?

I would say with this particular solution, you're getting a lot when it comes in price point. You're getting a lot of features compared to some of the other products out there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
EG
Sales Engineer at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
The biggest thing about it is the LeftHand OS. When you buy either a VSA license or an appliance, all your software's included.

Pros and Cons

  • "StoreVirtual is that it is our software-defined solution and it's everywhere."
  • "f you're doing the 10Gb adapters, SFPs don't come with it, but it doesn't say that. It might say that somewhere else, but it's not clear."

What is most valuable?

The biggest thing about it is the LeftHand OS. One of the key features about it is that when you buy either a VSA license or a StoreVirtual appliance, all your software's included. You're not adding parts and pieces. Again, you can expand the hyper-converged storage, which actually used VSA in it for the storage part of it, by just adding, so that increases your capacity and your performance. The other thing about StoreVirtual is that it is our software-defined solution and it's everywhere. It's in Synergy. It's in our StoreOnce. It's in our hyper-converged solutions and again now, it's by itself.

What needs improvement?

It comes down to the information that you get. If you're doing the 10Gb adapters, SFPs don't come with it, but it doesn't say that. It might say that somewhere else, but it's not clear. Depending on if you go DAK or optical, it could be like, $600-$1,000 a pop, which is not insignificant. You know what, just spell it out somewhere. Put it in the ordering tool somewhere, so people know. Apart from that, I don't have anything. I think they're still on gen 8. They should move up to gen 9.

What other advice do I have?

LeftHand OS has been around forever, and it's a proven product, and it's easy to use.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Julio Cesar Bortolotti
Infrastructure Analyst at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
We use it to replicate the customer's environment, two or three different sites.

Pros and Cons

  • "he interface and the installation makes it easy as it's all in one piece of hardware and it doesn't need to be connected to anything else."
  • "It would be nice if there were more parts available in Brazil and HPE could swap out faulty equipment quicker."

What is most valuable?

We use a lot of StoreVirtual to replicate the customer's environment, two or three different sites, and it's quick and easy to use. The interface and the installation makes it easy as it's all in one piece of hardware and it doesn't need to be connected to anything else.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if there were more parts available in Brazil and HPE could swap out faulty equipment quicker.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable and I don't remember the last time that it was unavailable. We have the occasional disk failure, but that doesn't stop it from working.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know the limits, but we can support all our customers with StoreVirtual.

How is customer service and technical support?

In Brazil, the response time is a little slow. Our contract says six hours, but sometimes the response has been 10 hours, or even 12, so, that's not good. Once you get hold of them, they're good.

How was the initial setup?

It just goes in, and you don't really need any help.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The prices are OK, so we don't have much difficulty selling HPE in Brazil.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We perform an analysis of the customer scenario and needs, and then we suggest a product, but we only sell HPE. The decision is which HPE product they need.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners.
it_user252639
Senior Systems Engineer - Storage and Virtualization at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We use it in our remote offices and don’t have many issues with it.

What is most valuable?

We originally had LeftHand which are morphing into StoreVirtual. We use it in our remote offices and don’t have many issues with it. We are currently collapsing everything down into a DL380.

For how long have I used the solution?

The StoreVirtual is rather new for us. We're still in the process of making a homegrown hyper-convergence system with the StoreVirtual product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The LeftHands themselves have been very stable. We're moving to the VSA on the DL380s.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We aren’t sure of the scalability yet but are aiming to find out soon.

How is customer service and technical support?

HPE support is very good. I've never had an issue with it. HPE stands…

What is most valuable?

We originally had LeftHand which are morphing into StoreVirtual. We use it in our remote offices and don’t have many issues with it. We are currently collapsing everything down into a DL380.

For how long have I used the solution?

The StoreVirtual is rather new for us. We're still in the process of making a homegrown hyper-convergence system with the StoreVirtual product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The LeftHands themselves have been very stable. We're moving to the VSA on the DL380s.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We aren’t sure of the scalability yet but are aiming to find out soon.

How is customer service and technical support?

HPE support is very good. I've never had an issue with it. HPE stands behind their product so they work hard to fix issues.

What other advice do I have?

I would also advise that users follow best practices with the StoreVirtual.

To pick a solution, we generally create a matrix and then fill in what we want out of the product. We pump in vendors and choose whoever meets the targets that we set.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user568146
Systems Engineer at BETA CAE
Real User
The network RAID feature provides maximum availability.

Pros and Cons

  • "The network RAID feature gives us maximum availability, since we cannot afford any downtime, even for a second."
  • "The penalty for the availability is performance. So, you have to balance or choose between the availability and the performance."

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us what we want. It provides stability and availability. It is a very reliable solution.

What is most valuable?

The network RAID feature gives us maximum availability, since we cannot afford any downtime, even for a second. We need our systems continuously up.

What needs improvement?

The next release is already out and I found that the many of the improvements that we were thinking about in the product such as the dual controller, are already implemented.

The penalty for the availability is performance. So, you have to balance or choose between the availability and the performance. We chose availability, but it would have an impact in the performance.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Now, we're not afraid of anything that goes wrong.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn't have any problems. We scaled up a few years ago; the system was just fine.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used the technical support only for faulty replacements such as replacement of disks, for example. The contract was for the next business day. It was fine.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using any other solution previously. Our partner suggested this product; we saw that it fits our needs and tried it out. We were quite pleased with the result and decided to invest in this solution.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the setup process. It was easy.

What other advice do I have?

If this solution fits your needs and also if your environment is similar to ours, then we would suggest this solution.

The factors that we look at while selecting a vendor are that they should be innovative, provide a good support option and have reliable products. I don't want my product to fail.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user6387
President at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Two StoreVirtual VSAs provide redundancy and resilience, 3 would be better.

What is most valuable?

The HPE StoreVirtual Network RAID-10 (mirroring between nodes) is the most valuable feature. This allows for multi-node redundancy. If one node fails, the other in the cluster picks up the entire load. I have had nodes fail due to upgrade and other issues with no loss of data. Resync is automatic as is failover. For a 3 node system you do need an independent failover manager, but that is normal for clusters.

How has it helped my organization?

I administer a 100% virtual environment. To use the HPE StoreVirtual VSA edition, I did not have to buy an expensive external array. I was able to create two 3.27TB usable HPE VSAs from all the older disks I had laying around. Granted, eventually, I did purchase two storage blades to be used by the VSA, but that is not how usage started. Recently, I have been using HPE StoreVirtual on KVM as well.

What needs improvement?

The management console upgrade needs a bit of work. In some cases, it will not upgrade due to the non-removal of other HPE StoreVirtual Components. Be sure to remove other components first. The other issue is a login issue. There is a built-in timeout and once that timeout hits, the only way to log back in is to kill the management console. That bit me hard during an upgrade and I had to reinstall one of my nodes. There is a replay or login cache that is not working properly and should be settable by the administrator and disabled during upgrades. Sometimes upgrades can take a while.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since version 8.5 or 3+ years. I have gone through many upgrades and am now at the latest.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

HPE StoreVirtual is quite stable, except for the login issues, but only if you have at least 2 nodes. Built-in redundancy for Network RAID-10 mode is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

My environment grows with me; I can expand it up to 10 TBs before I have to re-license. In addition, it is possible to build an all flash version of HPE StoreVirtual. One of these days, I look forward to doing just that.

How are customer service and technical support?

When I have a problem, I will call support; I've called support once. It was really not a StoreVirtual problem as much as it was a management console problem, and they solved it fairly quickly.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Actually, at the time of my initial use, I did try building my own iSCSI server (I still have that running actually) but HPE StoreVirtual has many more features and works for me. Today, I also have VMware VSAN, HPE StoreVirtual, and even a fibre channel array. I have had a fibre channel infrastructure for well over 12 years. I needed an iSCSI environment as well. This was the best option at the time and today is a core part of my virtual environment.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is fairly straightforward. You get a bunch of disks, put it into your system, present it as a virtual disk, install your VSA, done. You want redundancy of two nodes, install another and tie them together, after installing the fail over manager virtual machine as well. Instant three node cluster. It self discovers all components as well. My most complex thing was actually making sure it was secure. That involves adding more firewall, split networking, and pull it into hypervisor management for VAAI and so on. That took a little bit of effort, but it is not overwhelming.

I bought one one year and the second the next year. I’m a typical small enterprise, where I plan all my expenses very carefully. Until I had both of them, I didn't put anything mission critical on it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Be sure to get 2-nodes for redundancy. Licensing changes at the 10TB mark.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I run a 100% vSphere environment, and KVM. I actually built my own iSCSI server that was for ESXi and I used it to upgrade all my SANs. I have a SAN, as well - a fibre channel SAN - and when I upgrade that, I've upgraded it three times; it's a rip and replace, and the other one was rip and replace all the drives. I just moved everything to my local iSCSI server, but that was unstable.

What other advice do I have?

The management console could be a lot better, as it's got a little clunky feeling. It needs a lot of work on some parts of it, and on the integration with the components that I need inside of the vSphere environment and the KVM environment. It's there, but it's a little antiquated. There are some things coming out that I heard about at HPE Discover that will make my life a lot easier. I'm likely going to upgrade some of it in pieces again, so I don't lose my redundancy.

Check it out. The redundancy is there. The real thing is to make sure you know what you're buying. If you buy any VSA by any company out there, it's tied to a single piece of hardware. Now, you can move it around by doing storage vMotion, but if you have 3 TB, then you need 3 TB free somewhere else. That doesn't move fast, so the idea is to do redundancy and to build that in. To bake that in and build that into your costing model and to plan that. Either do it upfront or plan to do it eventually. That means a minimum of 2 nodes plus a fail over manager.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user482805
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It had shelf-level redundancy before others, is intuitive, and you install the fat client on Windows.

What is most valuable?

Shelf level-redundancy is one of the big things that StoreVirtual has had before some other SAN manufacturer or SAN model brands, which is pretty nice. It can be rather expensive because you are much less efficient when you have that redundancy, but it's definitely a benefit if you really need access to that data. You can't have it go down ever. That's definitely a benefit if you're willing to pay for it I guess.

It's fairly intuitive, and a fat client, so you install it on Windows. It works.

What needs improvement?

There's one thing that just drives me nuts. It's the fact that it doesn't have any dedicated management. I know that they've got 10 gig and they've got one gig. You can put those in there, but I'd really like to see dedicated management ports on the backsides of them.

For how long have I used the solution?

I no longer work on those products as of a year ago. If something's changed within that time, I don't know.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The systems that I've installed haven't been gigantic. I know that it's supposed to scale pretty large. With each additional node that you add, you're adding additional horsepower, different things. That's another nice benefit to it, rather than just adding a disc shelf that has one or two heads, you're adding additional CPU and memory to go along with each one.

How is customer service and technical support?

There was only one time I did have to contact them, and they got the issue fixed.

How was the initial setup?

It's pretty simple. It has a little bit of a learning curve. They're all the same; they all do very similar things. It's learning what they call them and exactly where to find the buttons. That's really what it comes down to.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Initially it can come out cheaper than 3PAR depending on how you grow it. You can add some redundancy in there that eventually, depending on which I guess type of 3PAR you're going with and whatnot, the StoreVirtual could do from what I've heard. I did mostly post-sales rather than pre-sale stuffs. It can become quite expensive and even become more expensive than some of the 3PARs. It's sixes now probably what you can get into it for price wise. It just depends once you get down the line performance wise.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We do 3PAR. That's another HP product that's really nice and solid. That's what we sell more of than even StoreVirtual.

What other advice do I have?

The product's fine, but the fact it doesn't have dedicated management is a big thing to me.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners.
Philip Sellers
Solutions Engineer at AmWINS Group, Inc.
Real User
I like that it runs on ProLiant on top of our ESX servers.

What is most valuable?

We were primarily looking for a storage system for a management cluster that was separate from our fiber channel SAN. Fiber channel SAN is all of our mission critical stuff, but we needed somewhere for our management systems that are watching and monitoring everything. So we were looking for something that was ASCII based. We wanted something that wasn't going to take pre-built hardware because we have two different data centers and a third location where we are trying to spread the data across those locations. The VSA solution was great because it runs on ProLiant alongside of our ESX servers and we were able to get that geographic disbursement of our data while watching our mission critical fiber stuff. It's simple to administer too and it was simple to set up.

How has it helped my organization?

We leveraged StoreVirtual to provide a software SAN for our management cluster of vSphere - this allowed us to run monitoring and management applications on a separate infrastructure from the rest of our Fibre Channel based vSphere clusters and allowed us to watch and observe, even when the SAN was having a problem.  

What needs improvement?

The user interface needs to be updated. It's getting kind of long in the tooth, and the user interface makes it look a lot more complex than it actually is to manage, and I think that you can mask a lot of that with a refresh of the user interface. While HPE has created a new HTML5 UI for the HyperConverged 380, it is not available to the rest of the StoreVirtual population.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We've got about four years worth of experience with it.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Sizing information is scarce to know how to size drives and which types of drives to use.  Different engineers in HPE have different opinions how to deploy the solution.  Using VMDK disks under the StoreVirtual for its primary storage caused a lot of low disk space errors in vSphere on the VMFS drives, so either you leave a lot of space unused to avoid errors or you deploy it onto RDM's with local disks (which takes some extra configuration).  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

StoreVirtual has been great. We haven't had a failure in all the years I have run it, and we went through a reconfiguration about three months ago to add some solid state drives to improve the performance, and it works fantastic.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The great thing about that is if we are hitting a performance issue or something, scale is built into that platform, you add additional nodes, you've got additional capacity, you've got additional IOP capabilities across your virtual array. So scaling within StoreVirtual is really kind of easy, just scale it out to another node. The trick, however, is each node really needs to be configured the same as the last - so mix and match in the future with new technology becomes more of an issue.  

How was the initial setup?

StoreVirtual setup is actually really simple. There are a couple of different ways that you can do it now. You can set it up from intelligent provisioning, which is included on every Proliant server. It will go out to the internet, pull down the bits, and deploy it for you. It's all sort of work-flowed and really simple. If you wanted to, you could pull down the bits yourself and there is a wizard that deploys it. That's also really simple. You have to do a little bit of planning of how you build your rate sets and drive sets and stuff that are going to be underneath it, but it's incredibly easy to deploy, whether you are doing bare metal, or BSA like we are doing.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is very affordable - it is great for SMB on up to Enterprise looking for branch solutions.  Purpose built-appliances are also available for those looking for more scale.  

What other advice do I have?

StoreVirtual isn't going to be a jack-rabbit - it isn't going to be the best performing SDS you find on the market, but it is most the most affordable and it suits many use cases.  

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Francis Ma
Lead Storage/Systems Administrator at a marketing services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
We have the ability to migrate data between clusters within the same management group. We've been unable to customize alerting thresholds.

What is most valuable?

  • The ability to scale out if/when additional capacity is required.
  • The ability to migrate data between clusters within the same management group.

How has it helped my organization?

It hasn't helped as the HP provided software for the host server systems has become a continuous nightmare when it comes to HP LH OS upgrade process with our 260+ systems in multiple management groups/clusters.

What needs improvement?

  • Inability to customize alerting thresholds.
  • Un-usability of the HP CMC for HP LH OS upgrade when a newer version is released but not upgraded although the to-be-upgraded version is an older one.
  • Failure to report on lower-level hardware issue via HP CMC and/or SANMON UI unless checking iLO GUI.
  • Inability to re-configure/modify iLO settings via HP LH OS.
  • Multiple HP SANIQ / LH OS upgrade issues, e.g. upgrade resource partition unavailable, especially if the systems have been running for close to or more than a year.
  • Bug(s) in the HP-provided software for the host server systems not detected/identified by HP QA/QE and caused multiple post software-upgrade outages.
  • Difficulty on even opening a case due to poor record-keeping of/by HP.

For how long have I used the solution?

~6 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There have been no issue with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had numerous issues with the stability that have been enumerated above.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it although upgrading a management group with more than 10 nodes can turn into a reboot nightmare...if the reboot even resolves the bug(s)/issue(s).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Just OK...especially if you should be unlucky enough to have a set of P4800 (blade-based)

Technical Support:

It's 8/10 once we escalate past Tier One, and sometimes even Tier Two.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were previously using NetApp for block-based storage requirements. HP StoreVirtual (LeftHand) was selected due to the lower initial purchase (CapEx) and subsequent support (OpEx) costs.

How was the initial setup?

It was reasonably straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

All our HP StoreVirtual (LeftHand) systems are implemented via the vendor teams that handle most of our on-site work followed by in-house Storage Administration team member(s) for additional storage-level configuration.

What was our ROI?

We have not officially calculated the exact ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There's no advice about pricing/licensing as we handle it via an HP VAR, with a contract established with YP, that provides very good pricing/licensing numbers.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is to only use HP StoreVirtual (LeftHand) for small-scale and/or per-project deployments via iSCSI (IPSAN) preferably on dedicated network between the host server and the storage systems.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user465036
WIS System Engineer at a paper AND forest products with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It has Adaptive Optimization which means it is using fast storage (SSD) only for active data.

Valuable Features

Running a SAN without having to invest in additional expensive hardware so this means we have a cost saving. It also means that less support is needed as there is less hardware to maintain. Also, it has Adaptive Optimization which means it is using fast storage (SSD) only for active data.

Improvements to My Organization

In the past we didn’t have a shared storage solution in small offices; with StoreVirtual, we can benefit from the advantages of a SAN (vMotion, HA, DRS etc.) without investing big money.

Room for Improvement

Features like data deduplication would be great because in the end, this solution requires a lot of raw disk space because of the use of RAID5 on the hardware and RAID1 on the network.

Use of Solution

We've been using it for six months. It's installed on a VMware vSphere instance (v12.6.00.01155.0) with two storages nodes that each have a 10TB license and a failover manager for quorum.

Stability Issues

We had some stability issues in the beginning. They were easily resolved by dedicating a NIC for symmetric replication.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We haven't yet had to contact tech support.

Initial Setup

It's very straightforward and the basic setup only took a couple of hours. The GUI is very user friendly and the documentation and white papers provided us all the required info.

Implementation Team

We did it using an an in-house team. If you have already some storage knowledge, this install is very easy.

Other Solutions Considered

We also considered VMware VSAN because of its integration with the hypervisor/console. We decided to go for the HP solution because of the stability of the product as the OS, LeftHand, is already fairly old and well established, so HP have more experience there.

Other Advice

Before implementing it and using it you should read the best practice documents as well as white papers upfront.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Manager Infrastructure Engineering with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It was easy for the server guys to learn to use the console and provision the storage quickly.

Valuable Features

That my team can manage it. The server guys can actually manage the storage on their own. It was easy for them to learn to use the console and provision the storage quickly.

It was a long, painful process to get storage from the storage team and having to go through a lot of paperwork and processes, where now we can do it on our own quickly and as needed.

Improvements to My Organization

It's easy to set up, easy for my team to manage, the tools are pretty easy to learn, and it's important for us to be able to provision storage quickly in my environment, so as soon as we get a new node in, we can get it up and running very quickly, provision it, immediately use the storage.

The only issue that we have, occasionally, is bonding the NICs sometimes is problematic. It could be our environment. We have the Cisco Nexus infrastructure, and sometimes the nodes just don't want to bind. We have all kinds of problems with it, and we have to call a ticket in, and the product guys to help us figure out what's going on. It happens occasionally, it's not like, every time, it's just every once in a while.

Room for Improvement

The only thing that comes to mind was we had some issues with once we used up storage and then moved it out and had empty, white space areas, but getting that storage back is a long, painful process. You actually have to run a manual command line on each LUN individually to reclaim the storage.

Making it easier, automated, or being able to do it right from the console would be a great benefit because right now, again, we have to go to a command line and issue that for LUN, there's hundreds of LUNs, so it takes a very long time to go through that process.

Stability Issues

Latency is one of the things that our vROPs all the time, complains about the latency for that environment. We don't have good visibility to find out what's really causing it, what's underneath the problem. That's kind of been a sticking point that we're going to look into, but definitely vROPs are always complaining about latency from the StoreVirtual LUNs.

Scalability Issues

Scalability is one of the reasons why we got it. Now, there is a limitation on how many nodes you can have on each measurement cluster, so we have to kind of figure that out - what the best number is to have on each one.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We've had challenges, especially with opening tickets. Waiting for someone to get back to us can be a huge amount of time. We do have proactive services, so sometimes I have to pull those guys in to help escalate a ticket just to get some attention to it.

Initial Setup

I would say it is medium complex. I know I had one guy that understood it, he left the company, and didn't leave good documentation. We got a new node in and it took my guys a little bit to figure out how to get it set up. It's not like it's intuitive, but it's a process. It's not super complex, but once you do it and document it properly, then it's fairly straightforward.

Other Solutions Considered

We did go through an evaluation process. It was quite a few years ago. There was definitely competitors to StoreVirtual, actually, it was LeftHand at the time, when we made the decision to go with the product. We've stuck with it since and nothing has come up that has challenged that to make us rethink yet. There was definitely Dell, and as it was a number of years ago, I can't think of any other.

It wasn't EMC, but I think it was a NetApp product, because they do iSCSI as well, but again, then that would fall back onto the storage team and we want it to kind of stay away from that.

Other Advice

I would say, number one spend time to understand the product, to get the proper training or the people involved when you bring it in. Make sure it's the right product for what you're trying to solve. It's not a take care of any type of storage problem, there's no specific use cases that you want that it's good for.

Like I said, for the virtual environment, it does great for VMware, Hyper-V, whatever you want to use that type of storage for. Then it's just quick, easy storage if you need it for a file server, it would be good for that. You wouldn't want to use it for a cluster or a high I/O thing, but for the virtual environment and storage that's not dependent on high I/O, it would be a good fit.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user406905
Managing Partner at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
The VSA (virtual appliance) version enables us to reuse already installed hardware.

What is most valuable?

Easy and cheap High Availability is most valuable for us. Also, the VSA (virtual appliance) version enables us to reuse already installed hardware. You do not need to worry about RAID and components anymore, because even a whole chassis loss does not stop this product.

How has it helped my organization?

We are able to build server clusters without external storage and still provide high availability. We are able to run the VSA version inside the actual servers, thus converging server and storage in same units.

What needs improvement?

The new Quorum Witness function is promising for easier deployment but needs better reliability.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StoreVirtual solutions since 2010 when it was known as LeftHand.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is outstanding.

Technical Support:

Technical support is excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used many monolithic and traditional storage systems and all proved to not be highly available with single units. However, StoreVirtual can be split into two, providing you the benefit of redundant active data centers without doubling the cost.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is easy, but the differences from traditional storage requires some learning curve. You need to know about managers concept of StoreVirtual. Fortunately newer versions of centralized management console (CMC) provides warnings when you have configurations that would result in reduced availability.

What about the implementation team?

HPE Installation Services are recommended. Since we are an integrator, we provide this.

What was our ROI?

ROI usually takes about a year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you think about high availability the product is very cheap because it is an all inclusive offering. You need to buy licenses and two of traditional products compared to StoreVirtual.

The VSA version is free for every brand server up to 1TB/node up to three nodes. There is also a 60 day trial for more than 1TB storage. You just need the license key to continue managing the product without reinstalling if you purchase it.

What other advice do I have?

It is the only product that provides High Availability without depending on OS multipath I/O. It looks like a single unit from the outside, thus there is no need for failover/failback because all nodes are active. It is like a metro train compared to a classic diesel train, meaning it has an engine in every car. Adding capacity means adding performance because you are adding controllers, too. We can’t say it is the fastest product on the planet, but it is definitely not slow. High Availability means synchronized replication over the network, adding a little latency but providing High Availability.

Since it is IP-based, it is important to make sure a network problem does not result in the collapse of storage network. It is best to have redundant switches that do not share the same network as applications. VLANS are definitely recommended.

Pay attention to the managers running and make sure your failover manager is not bound to any nodes. A failover manager needs to be alive for smaller clusters to survive complete hardware/network failures. Make sure there is no single point of failure that would result in multiple nodes going down.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an HP Gold Partner. We also integrate and provide maintenance for StoreVirtual products.
it_user471243
IT Manager for Infrastructure at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It's very solid, and we haven't really had any trouble with it.

What is most valuable?

StoreVirtual has been real good for us. We started with the original P4300 LeftHand SANs before they became StoreVirtual. What I love about those is the two nodes and the mirroring back and forth, and you can't lose anything. It's very solid, and we haven't really had any trouble with those either. We have a newer StoreVirtual that we've connected to one of the C3000 Blade Enclosures and it runs well. We lost a system board once and we lost a couple of servers, but we were able to bring everything back. Equipment-wise, it allows us to do all our work. We're real happy with that.

How has it helped my organization?

The things we like best about it is just that it's safe, it's reliable, it's easy to transfer data back and forth, it's easy to replicate elsewhere. We've been very happy with them.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Outside of the one incident on the StoreVirtual where we lost the system board which was a little tough. If the guy who came out to replace it knew what he was doing and put the right firmware on, then we wouldn't have lost any virtual servers. But beyond that, the other ones have been very good and we've been really happy there.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's been hit and miss. I guess there's some guys in Texas or Houston that we've been able to get a hold of who know their stuff and it's like a different group, the LeftHand people. They know their things inside and out, and usually are able to steer us right to what we need, so we've been real happy there.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We'd seen a couple of lunch and learns and meetings and talked to some of the LeftHand people, and decided it made sense cost-wise and function-wise. We were using some Dell EqualLogics, actually we were using EqualLogic before Dell bought them. So we were still using those in conjunction with the LeftHands that then became StoreVirtuals. Then when we put in one of the C3000 BladeEnclosures, we bought an actual StoreVirtual and that gave us the space to run the servers that we need.

How was the initial setup?

The setup has been really easy. I did it three or four times after the system board failed. It was easy to run through the system, but the tech support guys kind of walked me through what we needed to do, and actually I set it up in the first place, so that's been real good too.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I had a guy from EMC call me once and his whole sales pitch was, "Well, we've got the biggest marketshare." And I told him, "That's a load of crap." Our deal is, we can't afford that stuff, and we don't want it. Even if Dell's got them now, we still don't want it. One of the things that we really love about HPE in all phases is the ability to continue maintenance, to continue coverage. Where we got the word from Dell that five years after the day you bought your EquaLogic you're out of luck. We won't sell you anything, we won't sell you parts, we won't sell you ... and we're like, "Okay, we won't buy your stuff." And we haven't. We got real close on 3PARs, we may still do that again, but we went a different direction. But, you know, "Treat us fair and we'll buy." That's what we love about HP, we really have no complaints.

It was a recommendation from the vendor that we said, "This is solid." When we first bought them, we'd actually gone two or three HP events and listened to the whole talk of, "Here's how, what it's put together, here's how it works." So, that's kind of what lead to it, was that we pretty much just said, "Okay, we'll trust you. Let's go with it." And we've been happy.

What other advice do I have?

I don't think we'd have any good reasons to go elsewhere. In fact we have done that. We were talking to a guy from city of Carson City, and he was having some server issues and so we hooked him up with our vendor, and they took him out of the Dells he had, and gave him some HPs and he's been very happy ever since.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user279690
Enterprise Server and Storage Analyst at Sonora Quest Laboratories
Real User
Using this platform, we were able to provide virtual desktops (VDI) to our end users across WAN, to help alleviate some of the problems that we’ve had with bandwidth.

What is most valuable?

  • Hardware stability
  • Support
  • Four-hour response support
  • Performance

How has it helped my organization?

Using this platform, we were able to provide virtual desktops (VDI) to our end users across WAN, to help alleviate some of the problems that we’ve had with bandwidth.

What needs improvement?

We are experiencing some latency that we’re resolving with HP.

For how long have I used the solution?

The product has been in place for four months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, the hardware has been good, and the system runs at a pretty low-temperature. We have ordered additional RAM as we need more.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet. We haven’t made that jump yet, but in a few months we may add additional nodes. It seems simple enough to add additional nodes.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10/10.

Technical Support:

10/10. They have experienced technical staff and work through the problems. They're very helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This was our first HyperConverged solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was a very smooth setup. We were given a small check-list, we prepared, and then HP came in, set it up, and trained us.

What about the implementation team?

HP came on-site to help set up and train. They were hands on, and the training was good, as the interface is easy enough to be very understandable. The training we had is enough for us to scale out and add additional nodes in the future on our own.

What was our ROI?

It takes about two years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The initial install cost is expensive, but eventually the cost per user is quite reasonable. The more you scale out, the faster it drops. The original cost per user was $971 for 500 users. The cost goes down to $594, and after 3,000 users, it goes down to $401.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Three of the four solutions we researched were HyperConverged solutions, and there wasn’t the same support and cost as we had from HP. HP was the best for cost savings per performance, year over year. We looked at three other solutions though for our RFP, and we selected HP. We evaluated the cost per user once you scale out.

What other advice do I have?

On the software side of things, we’ve had issues with printers. We have a complicated situation on the user side of things too. We were able to get through the issues and limitations by using PowerShell scripting. Having IT resources in-house is a must for more complicated cases.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user419358
ICT System Administrator at a hospitality company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
While it's a simple system to work with, at the same time it gives a high level of data availability and resilience.

What is most valuable?

While it's a simple system to work with, at the same time it gives a high level of data availability and resilience. We can utilize our existing hardware and save energy in cooling costs.

How has it helped my organization?

HP StoreVirtual added the benefits of a shared storage to a highly-virtualized environment:

  • Live migration
  • High availability
  • Data protection (snapshots)
  • Better performance

What needs improvement?

I would like to have the option to configure and get detailed alerts from the Centralized Management Console.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this product since 2010.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When it was deployed, we were just building our VM environment, and it's scaled out as our needs grew. We've had no issues with being unable to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is brilliant.

Technical Support:

Technical support is brilliant. HP technical support is great for sorting out the little issues as they arise.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different solution. We chose StoreVirtual as it ticked many boxes in regards to our needs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. As long as you have some experience with storage systems, you should be fine.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation was all completed in-house with some input from an HP partner.

What was our ROI?

I would estimate our ROI to be somewhere around 600%.

What other advice do I have?

It’s a good, solid product. Make sure you get the HP care pack as you need it to access updates. If you can’t fit in your budget a hardware SAN, this is a good alternative.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Engineer (Industrial Automation & Process Control) at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It allows us the ability to use direct-attached storage of our existing servers for clustered Virtual SAN. The stability needs improvement.

What is most valuable?

It allows the direct-attached storage of our existing servers to be used for clustered Virtual SAN.

How has it helped my organization?

We implemented it into a development environment, but we found that it was not reliable enough to put it into production.

What needs improvement?

Management of the system is tedious. Stability needs improvement. The system would work fine for weeks and then one of the VSA virtual machines would hang, taking down the clustered volume. This was very confusing, because I had four nodes, which should have allowed fault-tolerance.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for six months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had no issues deploying it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were stability issues. See the Areas for Improvement section.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn't scale it beyond four nodes as it never went into production.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support was not helpful, instead advising me to upgrade to a paid version which includes support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have tried StarWind’s VSAN solution, but decided to go with HP VSA because it was included in the purchase price of my HP DL360 G9, approximately $20,000.

How was the initial setup?

The installation and creation of the ‘cluster’ was fairly straightforward. Volume creation and additional required configuration was a bit more complex.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it myself. I would suggest deploying in a dev environment first, to ensure thorough understanding. It is not exactly intuitive.

What was our ROI?

I stopped using the product when the VSA volume took itself offline for the second time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I used the free 1TB license that is included with all newer HP servers.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have more than enough VSA nodes (at least enough to handle a loss of one node and preferably two). Ensure the license supports distributed volumes, rather than single-host volumes.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user418359
System Administrator at a construction company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The network RAID is the key feature of the system which, with StoreVirtual, is a build-out of HP servers with software on it.

What is most valuable?

The network RAID is the key feature of the system which, with StoreVirtual, is a build-out of HP servers with software on it. The system creates volumes over multiple “servers”. With network RAID 10, you have two synchronous copies of your data. With network RAID 10+1, you’ve get three copies of the data, and with network RAID 10+2 there are four copies.

Of course, you invest a lot of space in redundancy, but you can chose by volume which network RAID to use. For lower performance volumes, you can even use network RAID five.

How has it helped my organization?

We’ve created two data centers. This allows us to keep working when there are power outages on one of the two sites. The data centers are about 150 meters apart in different buildings.

What needs improvement?

The way iSCSI sessions are handled could be improved. But if your system is designed right, this isn’t an issue. I’m quite curious to see the improvements in the next version because this already is a very mature and complete product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for five years. I spent four years setting it up, and one as an administrator.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The greatest problem for installation is choosing a place for the “Fail Over Manager” (FOM). This is a third system that allows the systems to avoid a split-brain scenario. It’s not a requirement, but when this is placed well, your system will fail over automatically from one site to the other and back.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very reliable product. I’ve never known one of the dozen systems I’ve installed to fail.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The system is quite scalable, but extra storage means an extra box and, depending on your architecture, two boxes at once.

How are customer service and technical support?

In Belgium, I’ve had difficulties getting the right engineer on site. Storage engineers see it as a server box, and server engineers are not always aware of the storage implications. Phone support is, however, very accessible and accurate.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also used P2000, Dell EquaLogic and DataCore. P2000 is a lower-end product. EquaLogic didn’t have online replication and automated fail over at the time. DataCore is storage software, and I found it difficult to maintain due to the large hardware base they need to support.

How was the initial setup?

The difficult part about the setup is the network part. You need to configure flow control, jumbo frames, LACP trunks, and, in some cases, spanning tree correctly. Once the network setup is correct, the configuration is very straight forward.

What about the implementation team?

I was part of the vendor team.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user429105
Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
We use the adaptive optimization feature to leverage capacity of traditional spindle-driven hard disks, and the speed and responsiveness of SSDs.

What is most valuable?

We are running a training lab environment with ever changing setup and, therefore, iSCSI is the most flexible solution to provide storage to any point inside our datacenter. HP StoreVirtual is a scale-out, clustered iSCSI storage solution with High-Availability features packed into the base license.

The HP StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) allows us to turn any storage supported by our ESX server (local, FC SAN, shared SAS) into a flexible and highly-available iSCI storage.

There are numerous features in the product, some not even used by us. The ones we like most are thin provisioning and network RAID (node-to-node replication of data to satisfy different availability needs). With the latest Lefthand OS releases, we also started to use the adaptive optimization feature (automated block-level tiering) to leverage capacity of traditional spindle-driven hard disks, and the speed and responsiveness of SSDs.

How has it helped my organization?

In the past, we were exclusively Fibre-Channel focused with all the associated disadvantages of running a separate FC SAN with particular array types. Every host we wanted to connect to shared storage had to have an HBA installed.

With iSCI and the clustered StoreVirtual approach, we can now use standard IP networking, standard ethernet NIC, and we can easily provide storage to any server anywhere in our datacenter.

If we need more capacity or performance we simply add additional VSA nodes, which my be backed by internal server disk storage as it's cheaper than the legacy array storage.

What needs improvement?

From my perspective, these things are missing:

  • Homogeneous management of 3PAR, StoreVirtual and MSA
  • Remote Copy (sync or at least async) to/from StoreVirtual (similar to online import from EVA, EMC, etc., just expanded to continuously copying)
  • Integration of Priority Optimization with VMware vSphere and vVols on the VM level straight from the vSphere web client
  • StoreServ iSCI VSA

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used HP StoreVirtual for about 10 years now, but, honestly, I don't even remember anymore. We do not see any downtime due to the clustered approach, and migration and updates worked smoothly. Especially with the VSA, the hardware (server and storage backend) underneath simply get swapped without affecting availability.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We've had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

We rarely use technical support as the solution is software driven and very stable. We are very experienced with this solution, and if you have a support call, it is like gambling (as with every vendor). It depends if the level-one or level-two engineer is experienced or not, is located in your country or near-shored. Essentially, it's a mixed-skill experience, but we've had no bad experiences in general.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used HP's Enterprise Virtual Array and EMC's CX3 and CX4 arrays (and still use some of this hardware as pure capacity behind HP StoreVirtual). We went for StoreVirtual at that time as StoreVirtual provided much more functionality (and based on an all-inclusive pricing) than our existing storage arrays.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of both hardware-based StoreVirtual as well as the VSA are absolutely straightforward. OK, we were trained and experienced already, so there was no big challenge. However, there are still quite a lot of things you need to understand (especially in VMware environments) which can cause performance or availability issues if you don't follow certain (sometimes not clearly communicated) best practices.

But if you do everything right, you'll have a highly-stable, highly-available, and well-performing platform. We put all basics and learnings together and created our own two-day training (also available as video training) to teach admins and implementers how to do the important things right.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves as we are architects and consultants. This the best way to learn and gain experience.

What was our ROI?

We never calculated the ROI. For us, it was just about having a stable, modern, feature-rich platform for our use cases.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

From a licensing perspective, the all-inclusive licensing was very appealing, as EVA and CX had lots of licensing options and add-ons, which was awful.

What other advice do I have?

Specify the workloads (availability, size, and performance). Either use the StorageWorks sizing tool (not available to everyone) or the advice of an experienced consultant/reseller to select the model and size the cluster and follow the best practices on implementation.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We have a business relationship with HP being technical instructors for Microsoft, VMware, HP server and storage solutions. We also have similar business relationships with EMC, VMware, Dell, Veeam and Cisco.
it_user427356
IT Consultant at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It gives us the ability to assign Servers/LUNs to a physical/logical site for better access, avoiding high-latency connections.

What is most valuable?

  • Multi-site SAN (near-real-time replication)
  • Ability to assign Servers/LUNs to a physical/logical site for better access avoiding high-latency connections
  • Space reclamation
  • Thin/full provisioning
  • Maintenance and support is easy to do.
  • There are two 10GB ports present next to four GB ports, which makes it easy to upgrade the network .

How has it helped my organization?

Server provisioning and capacity expansion are much easier than before.

What needs improvement?

StoreVirtual should offer QoS per v-disk or ISCSi.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the 4500 for three years, and the 4730 for one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had no deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

9/10 From disk replacement to software support, the response from technical support is always excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Initially, we used a HP entry level "SAN" HP P2000 G2. It was for our initial virtualization project.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward as HP did a good job providing excellent documentation and best practices.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it via an in-house service. Testing different workloads on your SAN is a good idea. This helps you to have a comparison point for later users. In case people encounter trouble in production, you can then easily compare performance with the different workloads.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Over a period of five years, we created 40-45 VMs. Previously, we had a physical server, storage, and backup solution, which was about $5,000 per server. We made a serious savings compared to the price of the SAN solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user405015
President at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
We've found that the ability to repurpose existing hardware is the most valuable feature for us.

Valuable Features

We've found that the ability to repurpose existing hardware is the most valuable feature for us.

Improvements to My Organization

It has allowed us to create a SAN from existing hardware without having to purchase any other hardware.

Room for Improvement

Using multiple bonded network interfaces needs work.

Use of Solution

We've used it for five years.

Deployment Issues

We've had no issues with deployment.

Stability Issues

There have been no issues with the stability.

Scalability Issues

They need to improve its ability to scale with bonded network interfaces.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support has been excellent.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Make sure you license according to your total storage requirements for…

Valuable Features

We've found that the ability to repurpose existing hardware is the most valuable feature for us.

Improvements to My Organization

It has allowed us to create a SAN from existing hardware without having to purchase any other hardware.

Room for Improvement

Using multiple bonded network interfaces needs work.

Use of Solution

We've used it for five years.

Deployment Issues

We've had no issues with deployment.

Stability Issues

There have been no issues with the stability.

Scalability Issues

They need to improve its ability to scale with bonded network interfaces.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support has been excellent.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Make sure you license according to your total storage requirements for the foreseeable future.

Other Solutions Considered

We didn't look at other options.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Silver Enterprise storage partner.
ITCS user
SSIO Infrastructure Engineer at Wyndham Destination Network - RCI Europe
Vendor
We like the Multi-site capability for disaster recovery and how it is easy to support.

What is most valuable?

  • Multi-site capability for disaster recovery
  • Application aware snapshots
  • Enterprise solution for virtualisation
  • Centralised and easy to use management
  • Easy to support whether it is four or 40 storage nodes

How has it helped my organization?

Business continuity and disaster recovery. The storage environment is spread between two geographical locations – bi-annually BCP/DR tests are conducted proving the validity of the architecture. Each site in turn simulates power loss – both the compute and storage that supports the vSphere estate are affected. In all cases, these tests have been 100% successful.

What needs improvement?

It needs further improvements in terms of reporting from the CMC, specifically more detailed alerting from the CMC.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for five years. We're currently running SANi/Q versions 10.5 and LeftHand OS version 12.5.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been issues with adding further nodes to existing management groups and clusters. The volume re-syncing and re-striping caused some performance issues. With version 9.5 of the OS there were high numbers of disk failures – these appear to have been resolved as we progressed through versions 11.5 to 12.5.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. I have great experiences in dealing with technical support. Generally, the product is so intuitive (to people appropriately skilled to manage storage) that HP support is only really required when low-level shell-type access is required or when a major bug has been detected.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

EMC CLARiiON, IBM DS 4000 series – HP LeftHand presented a more rounded and mature storage solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. The CMC logically guides you through the setup and configuration process. This does negate the requirement to plan the implementation, but even if you choose not to use the wizard and manually configure management groups, cluster groups, FOM instances, etc., the CMC lets you know what needs to be completed first.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation was all completed in-house with some limited input from the vendor partner group.

My advice – plan your installation, think about your geography, consider what the technology can do for you, think about the networking, consider that like any storage, it works well plugged into the high end backbone and not just available ports on some local access switch.

If you fail to think about the connectivity correctly, performance can be affected. Finally, latency is king, so keep your eye on the performance monitor within the CMC.

What was our ROI?

The HP product is end-of-life, and the cost for licensing is considerable but necessary. HP support for breaks as fixes are required. Low-level and shell access requires an HP engineer because passwords required are not given out to customers. If you don’t procure the HP care packs for your P4000 estate, you cannot download or gain access to updates, i.e. OS updates, BIOS, firmware, etc.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am currently considering Tintri VAS and Nimble as well as reviewing certain hyper-converged technologies such as SimpliVity and Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

Ensure you have the right skills – general administration is straight forward but Virtual Connect configuration requires knowledge.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user409233
Senior IT Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Our resiliency was improved due to features like snapshotting at hardware level.

What is most valuable?

StoreVirtual's High Availability and redundancy are the most valuable features for us.

How has it helped my organization?

It has removed the single point of failure. The resiliency was improved due to features like snapshotting at hardware level. It gives us better uptime and improved HA time, which means less downtime in the event of a failure.

What needs improvement?

Communication of HP firmware and BIOS updates need work. Also, the directives relating to the products need to be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used it for one and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There was an issue with one CPU overheating and causing fans to rev up. The CPU had to be reseated and firmware updates applied.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good, but it could be better.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There was no solution in place previously.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward by using the HP CMC software.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing and licensing are fair.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were no other solutions looked at.

What other advice do I have?

This is a good SAN solution.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
ITCS user
Solutions Architect at Technical & Scientific Application, Inc. (TSA)
Reseller
Top 20
The Veeam snapshot integration plus hypervisor integration is valuable. Data compaction in the form or dedupe and compression, while on the roadmap, is long overdue.

What is most valuable?

  • Heterogeneous hypervisor support
  • Broad hypervisor version support (vSphere 4.x, 5.x, and 6.x in future)
  • Broad hardware support, no special qualification or HCL beyond that of the hypervisor
  • Snapshot for BC and backup
  • Multi-Site SAN for DR (synchronous volume replication)
  • The Veeam snapshot integration plus the hypervisor integration with vSphere VAAI and VASA as well as the Microsoft VSS integration is second to none.

How has it helped my organization?

We can afford shared iSCSI storage and it’s easy to deploy for the lab as well as production usage, not just for critical production apps.

What needs improvement?

The capacity utilization is the worst in the industry as far as I know. Data compaction in the form or dedupe and compression, while on the roadmap, is long overdue. A serviceable (e.g. practical) “Network RAID 5” would also help the capacity utilization issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

It is good if you know how to navigate the HPE support queues (Storage -> LeftHand) to reach a legacy LeftHand support engineer. If you overlook this simple but critical detail you risk falling into a “black hole of support.” If you reach a legacy Left Hand engineer, you will have a successful user experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

StoreVirtual/LeftHand is very well known in the HPE world. For vSphere, I don’t have the hardware to run VMware VSAN. For Hyper-V, it is rumored to be easier to use than MS Storage Spaces. For KVM it is perceived to be the easiest available solution (due to my ignorance, perhaps?).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward and not at all difficult. There are good HPE written documents and YouTube videos as well as some good independent content on sites such as https://www.bitcon.be/.

What about the implementation team?

Read the HPE content from 2014 and then watch the StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series on YouTube. Talk to someone who knows and has implemented LeftHand, if possible.

What was our ROI?

I don’t maintain hard and fast ROI info, however, I believe it is 50% less expensive than a SAN for deployments under 15 TB of usable capacity. My advice is to make sure that you understand the true usable capacity calculations and that you have no other option for production apps other than “Network RAID 10.”

What other advice do I have?

The design of the solution is critical. If you undersize the hardware the performance will not be adequate. Also, setting the customer’s expectations is very important. StoreVirtual VSA is relatively slow for big block sequential things like migration and large file or directory copies. It is designed for day-to-day random IOPS with at least 50% read IO, typical of most virtual environments.

Talk to someone who knows and has implemented LeftHand and StoreVirtual VSA, if possible. Find an HPE Partner that has deployed this at least 3 or 4 times. If you choose to “roll your own” read the HPE content from 2014 and later then watch the StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series on YouTube. Also check out Veeam Backup & Recovery’s StoreVirtual snapshot integration as well as HPE’s best kept secret, the StoreOnce VSA for virtualizing your disk-based backup and recovery.

This screenshot depicts a restore operation from an HPE StoreVirtual VSA snapshot of a primary storage, production VMFS volume. This can give you a Recovery Time Objective as low as 30 minutes on StoreVirtual VSA production volumes whereas recovery from a daily backup offers an RTO which can be up to 24 hours. Restores can be executed for SharePoint objects (including sites, libraries, documents, calendar items and lists), Exchange items (.edb files, mailboxes, calendar items, contacts and even individual messages), Active Directory objects (Groups, accounts and GPOs) as well as SQL record and tables. Oracle DB support is now available as well.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're an HPE-exclusive reseller partner. I also produced The StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series, consulted with and trained customers when I worked at Hewlett Packard.
it_user410364
Project Leader & Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Redundancy of the product, especially for remote locations, is the most valuable feature.

Valuable Features

Redundancy of the product, especially for remote locations, is the most valuable feature. Easy implementation and easy online upgrade process, which is very secure, are also great. If anything happens, the upgrade can be restarted or stopped without an impact on the production.

Improvements to My Organization

We and our customers did not have any downtime for their SAN, not because of an update or due to an expansion of the cluster with extra nodes. The support tool does not depend on one system. It just reads the status of the SAN and can be installed on more than one device.

Room for Improvement

You cannot easily mix SAS with SATA or SSD within a cluster. So tiering is not easy to implement at a reasonable cost.

Use of Solution

I’ve done about 30 implementations in the last six years. Most of our implemented systems are clusters of P4500G2/P4530/P4300 G2/P4330.

Stability Issues

The system is functional and always up, even if several nodes need rebooting when an upgrade takes place.

Scalability Issues

It has on the fly scalability.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Support for StoreVirtual is a separate team within HP. All the support-engineers are specialists which can always find a way to fix your issue.

Initial Setup

A complete installation of a four-node cluster can be done within four hours to be ready to move your VMs to the new cluster. It's very easy.

Implementation Team

Only the first implementation with a vendor team. After that it is straightforward.

ROI

There is not an easy way to build redundancy at this price. Only one license with all the features is needed as it has no additional costs. Every vendor should do that.

Other Solutions Considered

We use this product for easy redundancy over two locations. No other solution could make this happen as easily. We also resell EMC SAN and the business case of the customer is the most important to fit the best SAN.

Other Advice

Always follow best practice to be sure to connect in the best way to your VMware or Hyper-V-environment.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are reseller of this HP product.
it_user410349
Team Co-ordinator Storage, Linux and Monitoring at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It works great in a stretched datacenter. All data stored across two data centers is available.

What is most valuable?

It works great in a stretched datacenter. All data stored across two data centers is available.

How has it helped my organization?

If one datacenter fails, we can continue without failure.

What needs improvement?

It needs to have an SSD solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

We used LeftHand for more than seven years before it became an HP solution.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's better not to have big clusters or volumes, so we've avoided scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

6.5/10 - We have a lot of…

What is most valuable?

It works great in a stretched datacenter. All data stored across two data centers is available.

How has it helped my organization?

If one datacenter fails, we can continue without failure.

What needs improvement?

It needs to have an SSD solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

We used LeftHand for more than seven years before it became an HP solution.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's better not to have big clusters or volumes, so we've avoided scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

6.5/10 - We have a lot of experience and often they already know where the problem is.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used LeftHand for block-based storage and other storage solutions for file storage.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple. Just think about your design with the management groups and clusters.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is fine.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price per GB/TB is good.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user409230
DevOps Lead at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It needs support for clustering different disk nodes. It offers basic storage services and easy clustering.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the clustering. To be honest, this storage isn’t a particularly a good storage, but it offers basic storage services and easy clustering. I would say that if this storage were a school kid, many other storage solutions would bully it.

What needs improvement?

It needs support for clustering different disk nodes - nodes of different sizes.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used it for seven months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The failover is pretty slow, especially if you are using VMware storage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has scaled to our needs.

How

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the clustering. To be honest, this storage isn’t a particularly a good storage, but it offers basic storage services and easy clustering. I would say that if this storage were a school kid, many other storage solutions would bully it.

What needs improvement?

It needs support for clustering different disk nodes - nodes of different sizes.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used it for seven months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The failover is pretty slow, especially if you are using VMware storage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has scaled to our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

8-9/10

Technical Support:

8-9/10

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This was already in the company when I joined.

How was the initial setup?

It’s kind of a primitive storage with limited options, so if someone has already worked with a proper storage solution, this won’t cause any headaches during the implementation. It's an easy click-click process after you have downloaded the management tool.

What about the implementation team?

We did it in-house.

What other advice do I have?

You shouldn't buy it, and get HP MSA or something similar.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user291912
Service Desk Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
​It allows us to provide simple high availability SAN solutions. The stability isn’t as good as a traditional SAN.

Valuable Features

High Availability is the most valuable feature for us.

Improvements to My Organization

It allows us to provide simple High Availability SAN solutions that are scalable with both speed and storage by just adding extra nodes.

Room for Improvement

The stability isn’t as good as a traditional SAN as the nodes run an operating system and act like a storage server.

Use of Solution

We've been using it for five years.

Deployment Issues

We've had no issues with deployment.

Stability Issues

Things like a hard power off can cause OS corruption and booting issues. This isn’t too much of an issue because of the High Availability design.

Scalability Issues

We've had no issues with the scalability. We chose this because, in part, it's easily scalable.

Customer Service and Technical Support

8/10 - HP support are quite knowledgeable when there are internal software bugs.

Initial Setup

The initial setup is straightforward if you have SAN knowledge.

Implementation Team

We did it in-house. Just make sure you configure and plan your failover manager correctly and all best practices are followed on the welcome status page.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Their licensing is excellent as it's included in the package. Items such as site-to-site replication, High Availability, and clustering are all included at no additional cost.

Other Solutions Considered

We also looked at EMC. We chose this product because of the ease of scalability and ease of support.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an HP Silver Partner.
it_user407742
ICT Infrastructure Specialist at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The implementation of StoreVirtual has allowed us to create cross site storage volumes, allowing VM’s to migrate freely between data centers. I find it rather tedious to manage.

What is most valuable?

The StoreVirtual software provides us with a highly resilient storage platform for virtual machines.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to the introduction of the StoreVirtual VSA, our four domain controllers resided on local disks in each data center (two in each site). There was no functionality for cross site migration and in the event of a data center failure, we were left without 2 DC’s for the duration of the outage. The implementation of StoreVirtual has allowed us to create cross site storage volumes, allowing VM’s to migrate freely between data centers. In the event of a data center outage, potentially all 4 domain controllers could be running from one site.

What needs improvement?

I find it rather tedious to manage. To give an example, I was upgrading one of our very first management groups from 10.5.00 to 11.5.00. The VSA VM’s were deployed from an older OVF template (which is running out of, but still in support). I contacted HP support prior to upgrading seeking advice and best practice guidance. I upgraded the LeftHand OS version to 11.5.00.

A month or so down the line, the partition OS drive on both VSA VM’s was full – causing the cluster to go into an operational, not unmanageable state (cluster was not writing any logs, was unable to do root cause analysis of issue that had occurred). The only way to clear this partition was to log a call with HP support and have a remote session to allow them to do so (they have to provide a password to access the support shell of the VM’s). The partition of these VM’s cannot be increased as it may corrupt the OS. I now have to plan upgrading both nodes in the cluster.

For how long have I used the solution?

This solution has been implemented in our data centers for approximately four years, and I have had personal experience with this solution for two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment is reasonably simple.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability can become an issue if you are planning on deploying a multi-site cluster – you need to ensure you have the appropriate links between each data center to allow the storage to replicate.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have deployed StoreVirtual in single data centers and have not encountered any stability issues. Scalability is also reasonably simple.

How are customer service and technical support?

On a whole HP Technical Support is very good. Staff have great knowledge of the product which you would expect. However, as I said previously, they failed to warn me about upgrading older versions of the VM’s.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

StoreVirtual was chosen by our Head of Infrastructure as he wanted a product that provided highly resilient storage replication with our IBM hardware. StoreVirtual is a good product if you are a non-HP customer, however if you use HP hardware I would recommend using Peer-Persistence, essentially a hardware VSA rather than the software based product – it is much more reliable. We are moving to two new data center 4th quarter of 2016 and we will be using HP hardware (3PAR) and Peer-Persistence and StoreVirtual will be decommissioned.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is reasonably straightforward, I have deployed it in a number of remote sites. I was not involved in the initial setup in our data centers as I had not joined the organization at the time.

What about the implementation team?

StoreVirtual was already in place before I joined, but it was implemented in house with the assistance of an HP engineer who provided best practice guidelines.

What was our ROI?

Our return is a highly resilient storage platform that allows us to place all our tier one services on, i.e. domain controllers, DNS, exchange hubs, etc.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Your licensing will depend on your scalability, licenses are available in 4TB, 10TB, 20TB and 50TB. Licenses are assigned by MAC address of the NICs on the VSA VM’s

What other advice do I have?

It would depend on who your hardware vendor is. As I stated, if you are an HP customer I would recommend using their hardware VSA Peer-Persistence, but if you are a non-HP customer then StoreVirtual is a reasonably good product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Administrator at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It has allowed us to expand our available ESX storage without replacing arrays or adding hardware.

Valuable Features

It is an affordable alternative to hardware SAN and is seamlessly compatible with our vSphere 5.5 hosts which are sitting on HP Proliant hardware. The 'valuable' feature is in essence the product itself - virtual storage.

Improvements to My Organization

It has allowed us to expand our available ESX storage without replacing arrays or adding hardware. It also helps with vMotion and provides disk space for extra clients on hosts with under-allocated CPU/Memory.

Room for Improvement

The key element is whether virtual storage is the right choice, and what hardware you are going to use. I suppose I could wish for less latency, but that might be coming from configuration as opposed to actual product support – especially since I only see latency on one of the two VSAs that we have deployed.

The things that I wanted almost three years ago when we purchased, have already been improved. Those would have been limited licensing and minimal support documentation. A good alternative might have been to hire an integrator familiar with both HP and VMWare products.

Use of Solution

We've had it for about three years.

Deployment Issues

We had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

The stability has been exceptional.

Scalability Issues

The limitations of two hosts and 10TB per VSA is acceptable for the cost savings.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

We use a third-party vendor, so my excellent customer service experience is due to my local contact.

Technical Support:

HP technical support has always been good when dealing with enterprise products.

Initial Setup

The initial setup for the VSA was straightforward, it uses an OVF virtual appliance. I did have to refer to highly detailed instructions for the vSphere configuration for NICs and iSCSI software adapters. Since this is a virtual SAN, I use only software RAID 0 and no snapshots - those are better handled by the HP hardware arrays and vSphere, respectively.

Implementation Team

Since we are a small enterprise shop and I have fairly sophisticated knowledge of both storage and virtualization, I did the implementation myself. I recommend that unless you have solid knowledge of designing and configuring your hypervisor environment that you use an experienced consultant.

ROI

Since our gain is roughly equivalent to having a small hardware SAN, and we purchased during a BOGO promotion, I would estimate our ROI somewhere around 900%.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It comes with three years software support, but I've never had to use it.

Other Solutions Considered

We compared VMWare VSA to HP StoreVirtual VSA. At that time, the VMWare solution was limited to a single VSA per datacenter, and we use two of the HP VSAs between four hosts, so that was our deciding factor.

Other Advice

It is an excellent alternative to small hardware SANs if you already have the disk space on other servers and adequate network bandwidth for your level of disk activity. I can only comment on use within a vSphere environment, but in my experience, it is simply awesome. I would like to warn that before implementing a VSA, you should thoroughly evaluate your storage and network requirements. Good design of a VSA implementation is just as critical as good design of a hardware SAN.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user407199
IT Engineer at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
We use two 4530 shelves in a mirrored SAN configuration, and the ability of the system to virtualize the two shelves as a single storage system is very important to us.

What is most valuable?

We use two 4530 shelves in a mirrored SAN configuration, and the ability of the system to virtualize the two shelves as a single storage system is very important to us.

How has it helped my organization?

On several occasions, we’ve had a complete power failure at one of our two SAN locations, yet all of our VMs continued to function because the VMs that were running on the downed SAN simply moved to the other SAN without the need for operator intervention. With most other mirrored SAN solutions, the VMs would need to have been manually moved to the other SAN location. With VSA, however, it’s automatic and transparent.

What needs improvement?

The management system, while OK, could be made a little more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

It was installed in April 2015.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We've had no issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It’s been very stable. We've had no issues with instability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven’t outgrown it yet, but if we need additional storage capacity in the future, we can simply add another shelf.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven’t needed any technical support yet on this product, but our previous experience with HP SANs was pretty good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used an HP LeftHand P4500 SAN, the predecessor of the HP VSA. We used it for 5 years but switched to the new one because HP support was ending on the old one and we were out of capacity.

How was the initial setup?

We used an HP partner for the initial setup and configuration. Overall, it was pretty straightforward, although it took a few weeks to get everything “tuned”. Initially, we were getting alarms when moving VMs from one volume to another but bonding the NICs increased the storage bandwidth and resolved the problem.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I definitely recommend purchasing from an HP channel partner as they will handle the licensing. HP licensing can be a very arcane and difficult process and it is best left to the experts. The pricing was comparable with most of the other vendors we looked at.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a number of products from EMC, Nimble, and Dell, but only the HP VSA could automatically run the VMs from the other SAN in the event of a SAN site failure.

What other advice do I have?

For mission critical systems, I would only recommend this product when used in a mirrored configuration. Unlike other SAN systems where virtually everything in the device is redundant, the HP VSA is basically a server equipped with a bunch of hard disks and special software. Only the power supplies are redundant so there are many more single points of failure compared to other SANs. While other SAN vendors put the redundancy in the same device, the redundancy of the HP VSA is provided by virtue of the two independent devices. What is unique is that the two independent devices appear as a single storage system to the virtualization network and the switching between devices is done by the HP software.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user407154
Infrastructure Engineer at a logistics company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The GUI for snapshot replication gives you a lot of flexibility to schedule asynchronous replication, bandwidth control, and disk-rebuild resource allotment.

What is most valuable?

I give the replication feature a 10 out of 10. The GUI for snapshot replication gives you a lot of flexibility to schedule asynchronous replication, bandwidth control, and disk-rebuild resource allotment.

High Availability is a 10 out of 10, too, for having redundant RAID controllers per tray and the ability to build an HA Multi-Site.

I also like the easy setup of these units. We get project bids with zero lead time and when you have to build out a facility and you have a deficit of time to do so, it helps to have a quick and easy install and intuitive GUI. Running updates on these systems is nice and easy. The support staff are also very good.

How has it helped my organization?

When we bid on projects and scope out the work, we usually will have three design iterations that we follow -- a Multi-Site, Single-Site P4500, or Single-Site P4300 class setup -- depending on what is needed. All three build-outs use the same CMC and basic setup helps to standardize and help get a handle on costs and budgeting for these projects. We’ve built a multi-tiered storage solution for our customers using one product.

What needs improvement?

For disk utilization I give it a 7 out of 10. In the typical network RAID 10 coupled with horizontal shelf RAID 5, you lose over 55% of your disk. But this is a price I am willing to pay to have highly-available storage.

I would look into using some of the technologies used in the 3PAR line. The loss of disk space due to traditional RAIDing methods is wasteful, and when you buy 14TB of disk and have 6TB usable, you sometimes whimper a little.

They need to create a separate management port to allow for sending email alerts via non-iSCSI network. As it stands, you have to allow routing from your iSCS network and open relay on your mail server to get alerts. Other storage system models use separate management ports to allow for event notifications.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the product for over six years. We previously used it in our main datacenter for four years, but then opted to go with a more enterprise solution and now use it in smaller remote site build-outs, and it's usually two or three nodes per cluster.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment of these devices is easy and very stable. I have added on many different trays with no problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been good except in one scenario. We had a vSphere Metro-Cluster with HP P4000 Multisite setup, and the coordinating node (VIP holder) completely crashed in a bad way. It seems that the coordinating node was not able to transfer the VIP to a new node in time and when vSphere recognized it as a PDL event (Permanent Device Loss), we were operational within eight minutes after vSphere rescanned for storage, although the storage node motherboard and controller had to be replaced.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For scalability, I give it a 9 out of 10. It is very easy to deploy a new shelf of disk and add a pair of controllers to your environment for increased IO “Pay as you Grow”. You just plug in the network info and add it to the existing cluster. I can just throw another tray of disk into the mix and within a couple hours allocate disk space.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is good. I have always had good experience with both phone support and on-site support staff. On-site staff went above and beyond to help in problem tickets I had open.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously had MSA units, and we chose P4000 class as it was the next step solution for us. We will be evaluating HP StoreServ 8000 series for these remote site setups. We currently use HP StoreServ 7000 series for our main datacenter and may potentially move to this solution if we determine cost savings and ease of setup.

How was the initial setup?

It was easy. Single-sites and multi-sites both had a similar setup. From a cabling perspective, you just plug in your 10gb or 1gb connection to the switch and off you go. Once you install the CMC and you plug in the network information on the nodes, the units are found in the CMC and you can build out the site and cluster.

What about the implementation team?

We built ours in-house. Depending to what degree you will be engaged in the setup will depend on whether you will need other expertise. Working hand-in-hand with your network team and VMware\server team will help. You basically need the network in place before you configure the nodes. Then after configuration of nodes and build-out of clusters\volumes, you need to engage with the members of your team who will help present the volumes to VMware or Windows servers.

What was our ROI?

When we sign five year contracts to build a facility, we expect the storage units to last that time, and they do.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price paid for a highly-available solution weighs in here. If one of our facilities is down for an hour, we stand to lose a lot of money (Automotive Assembly), so up-time and life of a unit is, let's assume five years, then demoting this storage to a second-tier storage for other aspects of our company’s needs (backups, file retention, etc.) really are the only ways I feel I can determine ROI, and in this regard I feel we our ROI is good.

What other advice do I have?

It’s a solid product and you can roll these out like nothing. We have standardized our deployments to use these models. We will be re-evaluating soon and if we do I will miss the easy setup and GUI.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user368622
Deputy Director Infrastructure Delivery (acting) at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
One of the valuable features is its integration with Eucalyptus which provides us analysis for ultra-light loads.

Valuable Features

We went with ConvergedSystem because it's a single bit of infrastructure where we can have compute and network storage in one place. Our support team can be skilled across all devices from top to bottom and manage all the virtualized workloads, which stands at 7800 VMs right now. We don't need to have a separate storage team, or multiple tickets, or requests between systems.

Another valuable feature is its integration with Eucalyptus which provides us analysis for ultra-light loads. It was ready in four weeks and started taking workloads.

Improvements to My Organization

It's saved us a huge amount of money on hardware and other data center costs. The next step for us is to integrate it with backbones. We're still doing traditional provisioning of VMs, but ConvergedSystems allow us to do things for our students. The data and analytics we get speeds up on multiple servers.

We're able to give students access to parts of the system and let them onto 30 servers. We didn't have that capability before. One day we'll allow classrooms to do their own self-servers to really speed things up.

Room for Improvement

I have concerns of whether the VM workload can be sustained in just a couple of racks.

Deployment Issues

We haven't had any issues with deployment.

Stability Issues

We had a few legal issues at the start, but we got the issues ironed out and the systems now run themselves.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support has been good. We have a support contract with HP and access to the right people when we need them. However, HP's presence in Australia is a little light.

Initial Setup

It was pretty straightforward. It's built offsite to the configurations you want and shipped to you fully-racked. You just plug it into your data center and start it up.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user365976
IT Manager at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
With the new virtual environment in ConvergedSystem, I don't need to purchase new servers because I can create a new server and continue work.

Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is that it allows me to have more servers in my data center. Also, the support I get from HP is tremendously valuable. We have VMware, Microsoft, and HP blades, enclosures, and 3PAR in the data center, but HP provides us with a single point-of-contact for any issue. I'm very happy with the support and I've actually seen them worry more about issues than I have been.

Improvements to My Organization:

The biggest benefit is cost savings because I have to bring in a lot of new technology. For example, with servers, we need one for archiving, another for BI, and another for IT support. With the new virtual environment in ConvergedSystem, I don't need to purchase new servers because I can just create a new server and continue work.

Room for Improvement:

HP needs to be more careful about the partners they select for implementation. With a virtual environment, HP cannot just provide hardware to the customer and expect the customer to complete the implementation themselves. With the virtual environment of ConvergedSystem, you have to do a lot of integrations and software installations. HP should have stricter mechanisms as to which implementation partners they provide their customers. I've had issues with implementation partners, but HP's support has been great and they eventually resolved my problems.

Stability Issues:

There are stability issues, but I'm happy with the support. No technology is error free, that's why HP has support.

Scalability Issues:

It is highly scalable. We have four links that contain nine servers, and the enclosure itself can go up to 16 blades. The infrastructure has many things, such as FlexFabric, SAN switches, network switches, storage, and the enclosure. If I need to increase capacity, I only need to increase the number of blades and to put in new discs into my 3PAR servers. I believe that with this infrastructure, I can scale for the next seven years.

Other Advice:

It fulfills all my requirements, the price is good, and it's scalable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user362343
Imaging Business Technical Manager at a pharma/biotech company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It's a unique staging environment for us where we mimic a real-life environment on a smaller scale.

What is most valuable?

It's HP's attempt to put everything into one box, which we've found to be a real blessing. Previously we didn't have a consolidated, unified solution for compute, storage, and networking. It's also simple to configure and to operate.

How has it helped my organization?

We operate in the healthcare sector, and there aren't a lot of solutions that allow us to make sure that our solutions are ready to go in our environment. We have a unique staging environment. We literally test the solution to death before it goes into the hospital environment with the 80/20 rule. If it's 80% configured, we'll run it step-wise before it gets over the doorstep. This helps us to mimic a real-life environment on a smaller scale.

What needs improvement?

For our use, it provides what we need. I don't think there's much else they can throw into the converged box. I don't think, however, it would be suitable for our actual production environments because we need something much more sophisticated and expandable. It would need more constituent parts for storage and compute to work faster.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We've had no deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable for how we use it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

One reason we chose this is because our test systems are not huge and, therefore, don't need to really scale. We have historically tried to reduce our compute needs to be simpler. So even the smallest ConvergedSystem has enabled us to grow. For our small-to-medium-sized customers, we don't need too many alterations. For our larger customers, we typically invest in higher specs. So it's a solution that works perfectly well for us for what we need it to do.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a solid second-line support for our hardware and we train our own staff to take up first-line support. This empowers us to triage anything and not have to worry about HP resolving minor hardware elements. We're still able to escalate something quickly if there's a catastrophe. By doing the initial triage, you could say we have 24/7/365 coverage.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As we move away from physical tech and look more into virtual solutions and sharing infrastructures in the medical world, we need to secure our data. Even our test data needs to be locked away and separate from other data for security reasons. So we were looking in particular for a small environment but yet big enough for our test environment. ConvergedSystem hits that sweet spot where we have just enough compute, storage, and networking capability.

How was the initial setup?

We are moving more into the enterprise solutions now. The HP ConvergedSystem enabled us to take a step in that direction but not be overbearing in terms of the technology. The configuration and initial setup was a little bit of a challenge for us as we needed to train our staff. Now our staff that are trained up and it's fairly simple and straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

Be sure to look at your requirements, not just short-terms but also medium-to-long term. Make sure you invest only to the typical three- or five-year window to give yourself the flexibility to move into something else if necessary.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user361923
Founder & CEO at Hansa Innovations
Consultant
It gives us everything under one umbrella as well as the platform integration at the back, specifically with HP Virtual Connect on the Cloud system platform.

Valuable Features

We run a small service provider platform so we need reliability. We need a much tighter level of system-management capability. In live support, we need corrective maintenance, and they provide us with the generic monitoring 24/7 capability around their ability to interface with IT service management tool sets.

HP really gives us that full spectrum of everything under one umbrella as well as the platform integration at the back, specifically with HP Virtual Connect on the Cloud system platform. It's absolutely revolutionary compared to anybody else in the market -- and we've worked with other vendors in the past. There's nothing that competes against what HP has to offer.

Improvements to My Organization

We're a private hybrid cloud service provider, so we're very focused on personal sales. We don't have large investments to trial and make mistakes. We have to get it right each and every single time. With the infrastructure capability, it gives us the confidence and peace of mind to get it right time and again. Dealing with vendors, there's always going to be ups and downs, but the key thing with HP is that they make sure that they test the issues.

Room to grow is always there because we're in the technology space and the day we get complacent with ourselves and we get self-satisfied, the game is over. I think the key for us is flexibility. We're growing as a company and we have to scale and we don't want to get caught up with a baseline infrastructure that doesn't scale and grow over time. So far, what we've seen in terms of HP's roadmaps, we're very satisfied that we're not going to find ourselves in a difficult situation. HP is there supporting us and making sure that they will be able to meet our future growth requirements. Everything in HP's roadmap really gives us that flexibility and a very good price point.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I wouldn't say that I'm not satisfied. Yes, there's always going to be challenges because there's people of varying levels of skills, capability, experiences, defects who all come to the floor. But the good thing about HP is that they they're happy to have their internal ecosystem cover all the gaps in support.

Implementation Team

We had configuration and design changes through our journey of deploying our cloud infrastructure. HP was very understanding and very flexible. We started from some basic principles and we realized that we needed to make changes to be successful in the future. HP was very flexible in addressing some of the gaps that we came across through our deployment journey and took those on as challenges and addressed them. They made things happen.

Rather than say that it was too late, or that we've agreed and signed off on things, or that they're sorry but we'll have to go through a second round of investments, HP was very happy to reopen designs and to reconsider parameters and constraints. They gave us an evolutionary path through our deployment cycle to make sure that when we were up and running with our initial customers, we'd be able to meet all the requirements.

Other Solutions Considered

I don't want to name competitors because we have had excellent support from various vendors through our journey, but what we've found was that all of our requirements were met by HP. They gave us a good road map for the future and price-point wise, HP gives us more value.

Other Advice

I think the one piece of advice is that HP has an absolutely enormous, very broad, very conclusive, comprehensive infrastructure portfolio. Study that with the HP specialists. Make sure that you find the right insertion point and then be very clear about your notion of growth. Be absolutely precise about what you believe your 12-24 months will look like, how they play out, and keep that vision visible to your HP-partner team up front.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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