HP Banks on Continuous Protection for Storage

The company leapfrogs rival EMC with a recovery management agreement with Mendocino Software.

In a move designed to revitalize its flagging storage business, Hewlett-Packard Co. this week is taking the covers off its continuous data protection strategy while trumping the plans of EMC Corp., its bitter storage rival, in the process.

HP has entered into an agreement with Mendocino Software Inc. in which HP will resell Mendocinos RecoveryOne recovery management product to offer customers CDP capabilities. Eventually meant to be marketed under the HP brand, the unnamed product will augment backup and recovery by returning any application, database or file system to a specific point-in-time capture. The product will be available in the first quarter, said Paul OBrien, senior director, ILM (information lifecycle management) products and solutions for HP, in Palo Alto, Calif.

Next week at the Storage Networking World conference in Orlando, Fla., EMC is expected to unveil its own CDP offering, which will feature close ties to Mendocinos RecoveryOne technology as well, sources said. But, unlike HPs offering, EMCs new CDP-based product will not be a straight reseller deal.

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Designed to be channel partner- and OEM-friendly from inception, HPs new block-based data capture product will easily fit into a rack and will be supported by bundled professional services. Eventually, partners can take advantage of APIs and build their own solutions specific to customers needs or vertical industries on top of the technology, said officials of Mendocino, in Fremont, Calif.

This can involve moving the location where data capture occurs away from the server and onto an intelligent switch, a host bus adapter or an array.

Breaking down HPs relationship with Mendocino, OBrien said the agreement features three phases. Phase 1 involves the reselling of RecoveryOne under Mendocinos label. Four to five months after the early-2006 release, the next phase will see the product receive an HP label. Then, toward the end of next year, HP will roll out a more fully integrated OEM product featuring embedded Mendocino technology along multiple parts of HPs storage and ILM portfolio.

"This provides us a much faster way to get to where we want to be in the ILM space," said OBrien. "What youll see us do with the Mendocino product is target more of the database and application environment. Over time, well extend that to the file level and user level, where we can capture and version information streams or users in terms of recovery."

Up first for deep Mendocino integration is HP OpenView Storage Data Protector. Geared toward enabling long-term data retention, this will allow customers to begin to archive information to tape from a CDP server as the stream of images of an application is being protected.

Further integration will occur with other HP ILM offerings, including File Migration Agent, File System Extender and RISS (Reference Information Storage System) over the next 12 to 18 months.

OBrien said RISS will help users "roll back and slide forward" data while extracting business policies used for retention and compliance. The ability to immediately roll back database and messaging environments in the event of a corruption or a hardware failure, as well as use a specific point-in-time recovery window, is greatly in demand from larger enterprises, said Arun Taneja, an analyst with Taneja Group, in Hopkinton, Mass.

"CDP will play a very significant role, particularly for most mission-critical applications that exist at the large-enterprise level. So having a CDP product within its portfolio is crucial for HP," said Taneja. "[Large storage vendors] are all scrambling right now to actually add that [CDP] to their portfolio. I think they realize it will be conspicuous by its absence if they dont do something with it."

Taneja said the difference between HP and Mendocinos CDP push and those from Microsoft Corp. and Symantec Corp. is like night and day. The latter is based on very quick snapshot technology, lacks infinite detail, is restricted by a file-centric approach that inherently shies away from higher-end applications and has limited platform compatibility, he said.

Taneja said HPs CDP approach is making major strides to help the company recover from a dearth of storage innovation and leadership under former CEO Carly Fiorina.

"For two years during that whole Carly era, their storage was disastrous. There was nothing coming out of there except good people that were leaving," said Taneja. "Ive seen a change and stoppage of that, and this relationship theyre doing with Mendocino is yet another example [of this]. ... I think HP is on a march again, and Im happy to see that."

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