Hewlett-Packard Co. officials said they hope last weeks $350 million acquisition of StorageApps Inc. helps the company compete in the high-end storage arena and quiets criticism that HP is too reliant on partners and not enough on in-house storage development.
The deal will add virtualization software from StorageApps, of Bridgewater, N.J., to HPs storage and management suites, including its OpenView Storage Area Manager.
Virtualization enables administrators to move terabytes of data within disparate storage devices and to more easily manage their systems.
Adding virtualization to HPs storage lineup is a natural fit, according to "Buzz" Walker, the companys director of new business ventures, in Fort Collins, Colo.
Device-agnostic management software such as StorageApps is vital to anyone wanting to play in high-end storage because few enterprise IT shops use just one brand of storage hardware, Walker said.
HPs prediction that its network management reputation will help carry it into high-end storage is "probably true," said David Dewey, director of application hosting services for NetSetGo Inc., a midtier Web hosting company in Rochester, N.Y., that uses HPs SureStore E Disk Array XP512.
Dewey said HPs OEM relationships dont bother him. "The fact that HP was OEMing [products from] Hitachi [America Ltd.] really had very little impact" on NetSetGos buying decisions, he said.
However, Dewey said HP should concentrate more on storage over IP, which is muscling into Fibre Channels domain as the dominant high-speed storage interconnect technology.
To that end, HP last week announced another OEM deal, this time with Adaptec Inc., of Milpitas, Calif. Under the agreement, HP will resell Adaptecs iSCSI host bus adapters.
HP, of Palo Alto, Calif.—which last week announced quarterly revenue declines of 14 percent to 16 percent and eliminated 6,000 jobs—is competing with Compaq Computer Corp., IBM, Hitachi and Sun Microsystems Inc. for a greater share of the high-end storage market, which is dominated by EMC Corp. The market is worth more than $16 billion, according to Gartner Dataquest.
Analyst Bob Zimmerman, with Giga Information Group Inc., was skeptical of HPs storage push, which he said is predicated on buying technology and partnering with others.
"My first thought when I saw the price tag was, This is an expensive piece," said Zimmerman, in Granite Bay, Calif. "Whether its a good deal or not will depend on how well HP can integrate. I think that co-opetition in the storage business is a wonderful thing, but if you want to set yourself as an independent storage provider, you have to be an independent storage provider."