How do HP's EVO: RAIL and StoreVirtual appliances compare?

HP signed on as a VMware EVO: RAIL partner even with its similar StoreVirtual product. What's the difference between the two HP offerings?

HP’s StoreVirtual is a piece of software designed to create a virtual storage appliance, which can then work with...

VMware, Windows or other operating systems to provide capacity using the underutilized storage on servers in the data center. HP’s EVO: RAIL appliance, the HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC EVO: RAIL, is based on a standard promulgated by VMware and a group of partners that provides a system that integrates servers, storage and networking into a single box with a single SKU. An administrator can order a system from any EVO: RAIL vendor and get a preconfigured box that includes everything necessary to spin up an entire virtualization-based data center.

Many servers in the data center have two kinds of storage: local storage and networked storage. Since many of the more useful functions of virtualization require networked storage, it is often the case that servers have internal hard drives with anywhere from 1 TB to dozens of terabytes with only a tiny fraction in use, while running virtual machines (VMs) are stored on networked storage. StoreVirtual solves this problem of unused capacity by making unused local storage available to other systems, turning it into a virtual storage appliance (VSA). Disks on multiple servers can be added to a StoreVirtual VSA so that data is spread across multiple drives on multiple systems. This achieves fault tolerance and enhanced throughput of dedicated storage systems without the need to buy extra storage hardware. Of course, the StoreVirtual system will add CPU and network overhead to the servers it uses, but since most servers are running relatively low levels of utilization at most times, this may not be an issue in many shops. StoreVirtual can run on Windows, VMware and Linux.

HP's EVO: RAIL is a one-stop solution for implementing a new data center, or upgrading an old one. A single part number from a single vendor (any of a growing list of vendors that support the EVO: RAIL standard) gets you servers, storage and networking, all preconfigured to work together with VMware. It offers convenience and considerable time savings over integrating a bunch of separate parts and configuring the software to run on them.

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