The HP StorageWorks D2D120 is one of the latest products in HP's growing line of small-to-midsized business (SMB)—oriented storage devices. The D2D120 is a disk-to-disk backup solution that provides backup capabilities for as many as four servers simultaneously. The unit that I tested was a small floor-standing device about the size of a small tower PC. It provided 2TB of raw backup capacity that HP estimates is adequate storage for a month of data in a typical four-server environment. The unit came with four 500GB internal SATA disk drives. All of the disks in the D2D120 were configured with RAID 5 to allow the unit to survive a disk failure and remain operational. (The available capacity was approximately 1500GB.)The D2D120's backup system emulates a Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape autoloader drive by using the low-cost internal SATA drives for storage. This tape emulation lets the unit easily integrate into existing tape-based backup strategies—effectively replacing the tape drives—and still provide the advantages of disk-based backup. You access and manage the unit as if it's a tape device, so you can use it with existing hardware and backup software.

Setting up the D2D120 was about as simple as it gets for a hardware unit. The system had two ports in the back. One connected to the power and the other connected the unit to the network. The network connection is a 1GB iSCSI connector. I loaded the HP StorageWorks D2D110/120 Installation CD-ROM onto one of my network servers. The CD started an installation wizard that stepped through creating tape drivers for HP Ultrium tape devices on the server and locating the D2D120 backup server on the network. Once the D2D120 device had been located, I was prompted to supply a host name for the device and the IP address and my network domain name information. Finally, the wizard downloaded the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator, which is required to connect a client to an iSCSI target like the D2D120 device. For some reason, instead of installing the iSCSI Software Initiator from the CD-ROM, the installation required an Internet connection to get the iSCSI driver, making an otherwise seamless installation dependent on external network configuration details. As you might guess, this portion of the installation failed for me and I had to manually download and configure the iSCSI Software Initiator.

When the installation was complete, I used the Web-based D2D120 Backup System Admin program to manage the device. To make administration easier, the program added an icon to the desktop. However, launching the D2D120 Backup System Admin program from the desktop icon resulted in numerous Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration errors. I could easily manage the device remotely, but to get the local Web management to work right, I needed to disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. Once I worked this out, I found the Web administration console to be very easy to use and understand.

The D2D120 backup unit is compatible with existing tape backup tools such as NTBackup. The unit also came bundled with HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express backup software. Although the D2D120 is intended primarily as a server backup unit, client systems can use their respective backup agents to connect to the device for backup. To test the backup capabilities, I loaded HP's StorageWorks backup program on the server. Data Protector Express is standard backup software that can be loaded on server or client systems; as client software, it runs on 64-bit hardware as a 32-bit application. It can use the D2D120 as the backup target or it can back up to other targets, such as disks or other media. I found backing up to the D2D120 to be extremely fast, as you would expect from a disk-based solution.

Apart from the minor installation problems I encountered, I found the D2D120 to be fast, reliable, and trouble-free. The system is a huge step up from a traditional tape backup solution in speed and ease of use, yet is compatible with existing tape-based backup solutions. If you're looking for a reliable, hassle-free backup option that takes almost all the worry out of your SMB backup strategy, then I highly recommend checking out the D2D120. You can learn more at http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/d2d_bs/index.html.

Summary


HP StorageWorks D2D120
PROS: Disk-based backup that's compatible with existing tape backup; easy management; can back up four servers simultaneously; holds a full month of backup data online
CONS: Setup required Internet access to successfully complete; some incompatibility with Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
RATING: 4 out of 5
PRICE: $2,999
RECOMMENDATION: Investigate the D2D120 if you're an SMB intending to upgrade from your existing tape-based backup solution.
CONTACT: HP — 800-752-0900 — http://www.hp.com