HP Storage Plan a Mix

HP storage officials outline their product road map, and as users had hoped and expected, Compaq's legacy will dominate.

BOSTON--Storage officials at Hewlett-Packard Co. outlined their product road map on Wednesday, and as users had hoped and expected, Compaq Computer Corp.s legacy will dominate.

But in the most significant category, high-end online storage, both HPs XP series-- monolith designs made by Hitachi Ltd.--and Compaqs Enterprise Virtual Array--a modular approach--will continue. HP officials said that despite criticism from some that they didnt make a decision between the two lines, the result will be that users will be able to choose the religion--monolith or modular--that they prefer.

HP will not release an entirely new monolith that its rumored to have been developing pre-merger, said, said Mark Lewis, vice president of marketing, and Michael Feinberg, chief technology officer and strategist for storage. Lewis is from Compaq, Feinberg is from HP, and as previously announced, both report to Howard Elias, of Compaq.

Online midrange products like HPs VA series will be phased out over the next 18 months to three years, in favor of Compaqs EMA line. Most low-end and network-attached storage hardware will also retain Compaqs legacy. That epitomizes the new HPs approach that no product will be eliminated unless theres a comparable replacement, Lewis said. Users will get free base licenses for the comparable products, he said.

For so-called near-line storage, HPs enterprise tape libraries will be phased out, and Compaqs will stay. Entry-level autoloaders from both companies will stay, as will HPs tape drives.

HPs OpenView-based products will be the new companys basis for all storage management software, including storage resource management, data replication, volume management and backup. Compaqs high-availability software will be integrated, and new products for provisioning and planning will be built. Most of that software will be sold on an appliance, Lewis and Feinberg said.

Also, both companies virtualization products--HPs current SANlink and Compaqs VersaStor, due for general availability by the end of the year--will find a home for different uses. Over time, SANlink technology will be merged into VersaStor, which will get attributes and rules automation; Compaqs long-term goal of IP-based global utility storage still holds true, Lewis said.

An area the new company has to fill is the lack of a next-generation storage file system. That could come from either a startup or it could be adapted from Compaqs True64, Lewis said. Also, the new company will examine extending Compaqs rights to EMC Corp.s APIs into comparable HP products, and new API deals will be struck with other companies, he said.

The new HP will have about 5,000 storage employees, compared with EMCs 19,000, Lewis said.