HP StoreEasy 1430 review

Reviews 9 Jul, 2013

The 1430 offers SMBs Microsoft-powered network storage wrapped up in top-notch ProLiant Gen8 hardware.

4
Price: 
£3,370 exc VAT - 8TB
Pros: 
Easy deployment; Plenty of storage features; High expansion potential; Good deduplication ratios
Cons: 
HP’s hard disks are a tad expensive
Verdict: 
HP’s StoreEasy 1430 is easy to deploy and its high storage expansion potential makes it a good long-term investment for small businesses. Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2012 provides plenty of features topped off with high dedup ratios and the classy Gen8 hardware at its foundation is the icing on the cake.

Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2012 (WSS2012) is slowly gaining momentum and received a big boost when HP launched its StoreEasy appliances. Its StoreEasy 1000 family represents the entry point and are aimed at SMBs, workgroups and branch offices with limited IT management resources.

They all have WSS2012 at the helm, offer a choice of storage capacities and use HP’s slick Gen8 ProLiant rack and pedestal servers as their foundation. In this review we look at the 1U rack mount StoreEasy 1430 which comes in 8TB and 12TB versions.

The 1430 uses a ProLiant DL320e Gen8 rack server equipped with a 2.8GHz Core i3-3220T CPU. This is partnered by 8GB of DDR3 memory whilst storage for the 8TB model is provided by a quartet of 2TB HP SATA 6Gb/sec hot-swap hard disks.

HP has eschewed the server’s embedded B120i RAID chip in favour of a Smart Array P222 PCI-e card. This offers a number of advantages as it comes with 512MB of battery protected cache for starters.

HP’s StoreEasy System Manager makes light work of storage provisioning for WSS2012

 
Storage expansion and Gen8 goodies

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

This allows storage on the 1430 to be expanded easily outside the box. 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 for a massive 612TB.

There are plenty more Gen8 goodies on tap as the 1430 has HP’s embedded iLO4 controller which impressed us when we reviewed HP’s ProLiant DL360p Gen8. Along with a slick web management interface, the iLO4 ties in with the server’s Sea of Sensors so it can provide detailed information and alerts about every critical component.

And then there are HP’s SmartDrive carriers laden with status LEDs to tell you everything you need to know about your hard disks. The circular button has a rotating green disk activity ring whilst its multicolour centre LED shows the drive status and warns of impending failures.

A Smart Array P222 PCI-e card looks after all storage and can be managed via its own configuration utility

 
Deployment and WSS2012 features

Deployment is handled as you run through a basic installation process when the server is first powered up and then move over to HP’s StoreEasy System Manager. This provides plenty of help and links to storage provisioning and all other features of WSS2012.

The 1430 is brimming with features as it ships with WSS2012 Standard and has everything enabled. It delivers NAS and IP SAN operations, block level deduplication, storage pools and thin provisioning plus SMBv3 and NFSv4.1 support.

Its unlimited capacity license adds lots of value when you want to connect extra disk enclosures and it doesn’t need CALs either. If you want them, clustering and failover are ready and waiting and HP has the File Server Resource Manager already loaded for storage reports, quotas and file screening features.

The 1430 has a preconfigured RAID-6 protected system partition and 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 RAID-5 virtual volumes and capacity can be expanded on the fly by selecting spare drives and adding them to the pool.

Deduplication is applied at the volume level and can be run regularly to a schedule

 
Top performance and dedup ratios

Performance is excellent with Iometer reporting 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 won’t disappoint either with drag and drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip returning read and write speeds of 108MB/sec.

IP SAN target creation is a cinch and as thin provisioning works directly with storage pools, it can be applied to shares as well as iSCSI volumes. Performance is top 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 r16 with it set to use a mapped share as a disk based backup device. Using a 4GB data set of 1,000 files, we ran a standard backup strategy consisting of daily incrementals and weekly full backups.

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

Our deduplication test suite shows WSS2012 can return some big storage savings

 
Conclusion

The range of new features included in WSS2012 makes it far superior to its predecessor and the StoreEssy 1430 takes full advantage of them. The Gen8 hardware at its foundation has impeccable credentials and small businesses with limited IT resources will like the simple deployment and easy ongoing management.

Specifications: 

Chassis: HP ProLiant DL320e Gen8 1U rack
CPU: 2.8GHz Core i3-3220T
Memory: 8GB DDR3
Storage: 4 x 2TB HP SATA III hot-swap hard disks
RAID: HP Smart Array P222 PCI-e with 512MB cache and BBU
Array support: RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60
Network: 2 x Gigabit
Power: 460W hot-plug PSU (max 2)
Software: Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard pre-installed
Warranty: 3 year on-site NBD

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