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HP StoreEasy 1430 review

Verdict

HP marries its ProLiant Gen8 hardware with Windows Storage Server 2012, delivering great performance and expansion potential

Review Date: 16 Aug 2013

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £3,372 (£4,046 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

HP’s StoreEasy 1000 appliances aim to simplify network storage for SMBs, workgroups and branch offices that don’t have dedicated IT staff at hand. They all run Windows Storage Server 2012 (WSS2012), offer a choice of storage capacities, and use HP’s ProLiant Gen8 rack and pedestal servers as their foundation.

In this exclusive review, we put the 1U rack-mount StoreEasy 1430 through its paces. There are 8TB and 12TB models available, and both are built from a ProLiant DL320e Gen8 server.

These entry-level models use a 2.8GHz Core i3-3220T CPU, which has a very low TDP of 35W. It’s partnered by 8GB of DDR3 RAM as standard, and our 8TB model was stocked with a quartet of 2TB HP SATA 6Gbits/sec hot-swap hard disks.

HP has eschewed the server’s embedded B120i RAID chip in favour of a Smart Array P222 PCI Express card. This offers several advantages – for example, it comes with 512MB of battery-protected cache.

Along with an internal four-port connector, the P222 also has an external four-lane port. It scores heavily over WSS2012 storage arrays such as Boston’s Igloo 2U-24T-Stor, since it supports HP’s 12-bay LFF and 25-bay SFF StoreEasy disk enclosures.

HP StoreEasy 1430

This allows storage on the 1430 to be expanded easily. If you replace the P222 card with HP’s P822 controller, its four 4x mini-SAS connectors can support an extra 204 3TB LFF drives, providing a massive potential capacity of 612TB.

Using HP’s DL320e Gen8 server as a building block has other benefits, too. First, there’s HP’s embedded iLO4 controller, which impressed us hugely in our exclusive review of HP’s ProLiant DL380p Gen8. Then there are HP’s SmartDrive carriers, which feature status LEDs to tell you everything you need to know about your hard disks.

Deployment is handled elegantly. When the server is first powered up, you run through a basic installation process before moving to HP’s StoreEasy System Manager. This provides plenty of help, plus links to storage provisioning and easy access to all the other features of WSS2012.

The StoreEasy 1430 is full of potential. WSS2012 Standard is installed, and all its features are activated and ready to use. It delivers block-level deduplication, NAS and IP SAN operations, thin provisioning and storage pools, plus SMB 3 and NFS4.1 support.
The unlimited capacity licence is a godsend when it comes to connecting extra disk enclosures, and it doesn’t need CALs either. If you want them, clustering and failover are ready and waiting, and the File Server Resource Manager is already loaded for storage reports, quotas and file screening features.

The StoreEasy 1430 has a preconfigured RAID6 protected system partition; the remaining space can be carved up into storage pools, volumes, shares and iSCSI virtual volumes as required. Storage Pools allow you to group together multiple drives and create mirrored, striped or RAID5 virtual volumes, and capacity can be expanded on the fly by selecting spare drives and adding them to the pool.

HP StoreEasy 1430

Performance is excellent. Iometer reported fast raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec for a share mapped to a Dell PowerEdge R515 server running Windows Server 2012.
Real-world performance doesn’t disappoint either – drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip returned read and write speeds of 108MB/sec.

IP SAN target creation is a cinch, and since thin provisioning works directly with Storage Pools, it can be applied to shares as well as iSCSI volumes. Performance is top-notch, with Iometer tests on a 500GB target returning raw read and write speeds of 113MB/sec.

To test HP’s data reduction ratios, we used the Binary Testing deduplication test suite and CA’s ARCserve Backup r16, which we set to use a mapped share as a disk-based backup device. Using a 4GB dataset of 1,000 files, we ran a standard backup strategy consisting of daily incrementals and weekly full backups.

After the first full backup was completed, deduplication was run manually from Windows PowerShell, then 2% of data was modified in 40% of files prior to each subsequent backup. At the end of a four-week simulation, we saw a high reduction ratio of almost 7:1 – we sent 44GB of data to the appliance but only 6.5GB was used on the volume.

HP’s StoreEasy 1430 appliance seamlessly melds ProLiant Gen8 hardware with Microsoft’s WSS2012 software. It’s easy to deploy and manage, performance is impeccable and its massive expansion potential makes it a good long-term investment.

Author: Dave Mitchell

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