HP has announced a rash of improvements to its ILM products that positions it to compete head to head with EMCs Centera while making stronger inroads into the mid-tier market.
The Hewlett-Packard Co. StorageWorks RISS (Reference Information Storage System) now sports a “smart cell” of 850G, more than double the size of the original smart cell.
Built on top of the StorageWorks grid, the smart cell contains data, information and indexes, allowing for quick information retrieval.
The new RISS also has a base configuration of 1.7T instead of the original 1T, and the price has been dropped.
HPs “smart cell” technology can be a boon to companies that need to add capacity, said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H.
“With the cell technology, every time you add capacity you add processing power and an indexing structure to it. So it allows you to scale without having the problems other systems might have, where performance suffers when you add a lot more storage because you havent increased processing power,” she said.
The company also announced changes in its e-mail archiving solution, called RIM (Reference Information Manager) for Messaging.
Previously, the focus was specifically on the Exchange environment, but the new version also covers Lotus Domino.
“It allows users to transparently move from one environment to another,” said Paul OBrien, director of ILM (Information Lifecycle Management) for HPs StorageWorks division.
“If you collect information in Notes, we can return it through Exchange, and vice versa.”
RIM for Messaging also allows seamless upgrades from previous versions of Exchange to newer versions by not requiring that archived information be converted.
HPs StorageWorks File System
HP also introduced StorageWorks File System Extender, based on policies in Windows and Linux environments.
The product moves files from one storage environment to another while allowing users to follow the trail.
The product can move files to a lower tier of storage or offline altogether, OBrien said. He noted that the product will support HP/UX soon.
Finally, the HP StorageWorks RISS API allows a host of applications to connect to RISS platforms.
Over the next year, the RISS API will expand to include functionality for Web services, common Internet and network file systems, and additional connectors for vertical markets, OBrien said.
By making these improvements, HP clearly intends to keep competing directly with EMCs Centera, but more importantly, McAdam said, the combination of greater functionality and lower prices is a clear play for the mid-tier market.
“They have started to become aware that this is the kind of product midsize businesses might want,” she said.
“Its the mid-tier market where were going to see the greatest growth, because they are looking for an effective storage solution that will allow them to archive e-mails and find things quickly, but cost-efficiently.”
For HP, the next step is to add more intelligence in indexing at both the file and object level while continuing to increase the price and performance value proposition.
Eventually, “youll be able to ingest a significant amount of data that may be sitting in a file server that represents itself as 10T, but keep it in your records repository as something as small as 4T,” OBrien said.
The company also plans to add intelligent data movement capability to its products.
“Today we focus on very common metadata attributes like file name and file type, but in the future well be able to look inside those file formats for the presence of unique words and data that may trigger a threshold to have a piece of information move to an archive,” OBrien said.