HP StorageWorks X1500 G2 4TB review
HP takes Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 and makes it even easier for SMBs to use for shared storage and IP SAN application hosting
HP’s second generation of its StorageWorks X1000 systems lays claim to being the first range of Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 (WSS2008) appliances to offer a unified storage solution to SMBs. Designed to provide NAS shares and application hosting over IP SANs, they’re ideal for those with limited expertise with network storage.
On review we have the X1500 which, at its core, is a standard HP ProLiant ML330 G6 server. It comes with a quartet of 1TB SATA drives, and the hot-swap bays at the front have four empty slots ready for more. They’re managed by a Smart Array P410 PCI Express card that supports all eight bays, so you can add more drives as required.
If a potential 16TB of raw capacity isn’t enough, the server can take up to three Smart Array P812 PCI Express cards. When used to attach external HP storage arrays, these can boost capacity to a breathtaking 664TB.
Installation is a swift process as you fire up the server and follow a quick-start wizard. This leads you through basic setup and you can then begin to provision storage for your applications and users. The appliance can be managed via the standard Server Manager console, where you’ll find HP’s ASM snap-in (automated storage manager) ready to take over most storage-related tasks. You can also use ASM separately and load it on another system for remote access.
ASM makes light work of share creation and takes RAID arrays in its stride. A wizard guides you through assigning NTFS permissions, sharing over SMB and NFS and defining access restrictions. Pick a starting size and ASM will create a new array that defaults to RAID5; it also sets up snapshot schedules. If space gets tight as thresholds are automatically applied, you’ll be warned when they’re breached. You can then allocate more space from ASM with a few mouse clicks.
Microsoft’s iSCSI target software is preloaded, along with a wizard for target creation. It’s very easy to use and includes scheduling of virtual disk snapshots for point-in-time backups.
A handy feature is the ability to release a snapshot and mount it as a new virtual disk. IP SAN performance is excellent as well, with Iometer reporting a fast 113MB/sec raw read throughput for a single target.
WSS2008 file screening, quotas and storage report features come as standard. These prevent specific file types from being copied to the appliance, limit the amount of space users can consume and provide reports on storage usage.