HPs Next Stop Is Unified Infrastructure Management

Using technology acquired from storage vendor AppIQ, Hewlett-Packard is ready to move on storage and server management.

Now that its acquisition of SAN and SRM vendor AppIQ has been finalized, Hewlett-Packard Co.s road map—one in which AppIQs technology plays an integral part—has begun to unfold.

After the close of the AppIQ acquisition, the first step has been to introduce the latest version of HP Storage Essentials, an AppIQ-based suite of storage products for heterogeneous storage management.

HP Storage Essentials is based on SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification), which provides discovery of important storage devices, as well as other open standards.

Storage Essentials 5.0 offers customers something they have been asking for a long time—an integrated platform for managing servers and storage together, said Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of ILM (information lifecycle management) and StorageWorks Software for the Palo Alto, Calif., company.

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"What were doing gives customers more than just rich storage management functionality—the ability to manage both a customers server infrastructure and their storage infrastructure from a single console and integrate that into a higher order business or application management tool sets like HP OpenView," he said.

"More and more were seeing from our customers the desire to do both. They want rich storage management functionality, best in class in terms of storage or server management."

Storage Essentials 5.0 also is now is fully integrated with HP server management via Systems Insight Manager, something Harbist said is essential to HPs forward-looking strategy.

The combination of Storage Essentials 5.0 and Systems Insight Manager 5.0, released in August, provides the building blocks HP needs to move forward with what it calls unified infrastructure management—the ability to integrate storage and server management to synchronize business processes, he said.

Over the next year, HP plans to make advances on several goals, all key to the companys unified infrastructure management strategy.

Key among these goals is to further automation in blade systems environments. HP plans to accomplish that by finding ways to move not only from passive to active management, but from active management to automated active management, Harbist said.

Another stated goal is to make headway in finding ways to manage not only physical, discrete devices, but virtualized devices. "There is a key focus for us to be able to manage the virtual domain in the same manner we do today in the physical domain," he said.

Other goals include enhancing reporting capabilities, continued progress on providing integration with its management solutions, and continued expansion of its support of heterogeneous storage environments.

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In the short term, that includes broadening the operating system capabilities to include Tru64 and OpenVMS, Harbist said, as well as more near-line tape domain and iSCSI capabilities.

In keeping with its policy during the transition period, HP plans to keep its relationships with AppIQs OEM partners operating and moving forward, he said. AppIQs partners include Hitachi Data Systems, Engenio Information Technologies Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

HPs acquisition of AppIQ, in fact, may be a boon for AppIQs OEM partners, said Ash Ashutosh, Chief Technology Officer of AppIQ.

"There are two concerns [OEMs] always worry about. One is the ability for the supplier to constantly meet the market challenges and invest to keep the product going, and the second is the nagging concern about the survivability of the partners," he said.

The huge amount of resources HP is bringing to the table should answer the first concern, Ashutosh said, and allow the company to initiate several projects that had been put on hold because of the relatively small size of AppIQ as a stand-alone company.

The second concern should be allayed because AppIQs OEM suppliers now know the source of the product, which should allow them to develop their long-term strategies, he said.

The combination of HP and AppIQ technology will allow Hewlett-Packard to advance on many fronts, but more than the intellectual property itself, the real benefit to HP over the long term will be the brain trust it has inherited from AppIQ, said Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Group of Boulder, Colo.

"The IP they have acquired is quite valuable, but the value of the people far supersedes it," he said. "The people who developed the AppIQ technology have now been brought into the HP corporate infrastructure, so they can apply their expertise to more HP technology opportunities."

Over time, Karp said, he expects that the HP/AppIQ development team will make great headway in many areas of SRM (storage resource management), making full use of the fact that AppIQs technology is based on SMI-S, which is also the foundation for SRM.

"There are lots of opportunities to provide value up and down the stack," he said. "HP now has an SMI-S-based architecture to all of its storage management, which will make its next steps relatively easy to execute. Its more ammunition for HP to use as it develops more aspects of its SRM portfolio."

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