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servers in a data center

Research opportunities

We've all experienced tremendous growth in the amount of storage required in our home computing environments as information of all sorts becomes digital, from photos to videos to the letters we write. This growth is reflected in the enterprise as well, driven by e-mail, ever-larger databases, compliance requirements that mean information has to be kept accessible for longer, and knowledge workers churning out documents of all types.

At home, it may be possible to get away with a single disk drive in a PC. In the enterprise, the information demands are such that many applications require several hundreds, or even thousands of drives. These are grouped together in refrigerator-sized machines, and connected to an enterprise's network so that data can be accessed from multiple clients.

Given the sheer scale of these systems and their capacity, performance and reliability requirements, there are significant problems in designing and building the base storage infrastructure and even bigger problems for business IT staffs who must keep it all up and running, especially in the face of increasing demands and cost of labor.


Our approach

HP Labs researchers have been solving enterprise storage problems for more than a decade. Our goal is to develop a storage utility -- a system that provides storage to the enterprise as painlessly and cost-effectively as possible. In particular, a storage utility should be always available, provide sufficient amounts of performance and reliability to satisfy the majority of needs, and free up people from worrying about the low-level details of which particular place or method is used to store data.

Research focus

We are investigating ways to make the storage infrastructure more efficient (faster, cheaper, and more reliable) and self-managing, or able to self-tune in the face of changing usage.

Current work

Work is focused in these areas:

  • Developing more scalable, higher performing and less expensive methods of building storage infrastructures
  • Automating storage infrastructure design
  • Building measurement tools
  • Developing systems to efficiently model storage system performance and dependability.
  • Investigating new ways of accessing storage.

Researchers are also active in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) standards and technical groups.

Technical contributions

HP Labs researchers developed one of the first self-managing storage systems; this work has been incorporated into several products including HP Storage Essentials, a software suite for heterogeneous network storage that can monitor performance, automate tasks, simplify procedures and lower costs . Research has also influenced the design of storage products in many ways, both major and minor.

Enterprise computing

» Data center automation
  » IT resource virtualization  
  » Data center power & cooling  
  » Storage infrastructure & management  
  » IT asset tracking  
  » Advanced architecture  

Related research

Storage management
»  Automation
»  Data dependability
»  Quality of service
Storage infrastructure
»  Storage systems

Learn more

»  Feature story: Making sense of storage management
»  HP Storage Essentials
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