HP began the contract with Tokyo-based Hitachi in 1999, and currently sells the XP512 and XP1024, based on Hitachis Lightning 9900 V series. The extension is officially a nine-year deal retroactive to the original, officials said.
"What I was told when I got this update was that this actually proves that they are dedicated to continuing to serve the high end," said Nancy Marone-Hurley, analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Portland, Ore.
However, "It raises the question of how dependent HP is going to become on Hitachi… you dont want to become totally dependent," she said.
Even though the current deal is exclusive, "It doesnt necessarily mean that they would stop all investigation on perhaps coming out with complementary products around it," she added.
Meanwhile, HP continues to research ways to scale up its Compaq Computer Corp.-derived midrange product, the Enterprise Virtual Array, sources familiar with the Palo Alto, Calif., firms plans have said.
HP tomorrow will also announce a new disaster recovery bundle, called HP StorageWorks Multi-site Disaster Tolerance Solution, officials said. That will include the XP series configured in dual locations, plus synchronous third-site replication, they said.