After a full year under the watchful eye of Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd, the Palo Alto, Calif., company is aggressively reinvigorating its storage business following years of underperformance.
With solid technology acquisitions such as AppIQ and OuterBay, coupled with storage portfolio enhancements designed to more closely align the relationship of storage to other enterprise systems, HP is not slowing down.
Recently, Mike Feinberg, vice president and chief technology officer of HPs StorageWorks division, outlined some of his thoughts to eWEEK Senior Writer Brian Fonseca on the future of HP StorageWorks, what Hurds ultimate storage strategy is and why multivendor storage interoperability has been slow to develop.
What specific consolidation issues does HP expect to address for its customers with its product rollout in Asia Pacific this week? Which area is currently feeling the most pain?
These announcements are specifically targeted at online, backup, e-mail and remote office consolidation, both for HP and multi-vendor IT environments, and demonstrate HPs continued commitment to its storage business. This is the second major refresh of our storage portfolio in the past nine months since the largest storage product launch in company history last May.
Describe HPs plans for technology acquired by its recent OuterBay purchase.
OuterBay builds on HPs enterprise solutions to help companies get more from their mission-critical database environments. Its Application Data Management suite manages enterprise databases such as Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase by automatically extracting and relocating inactive information—thus reducing the size of the database, improving database performance and lowering costs.
In other words, it provides significant, demonstrable ROI (return on investment). Sixty percent of HPs Integrity server customers are running Oracle applications and databases today, making OuterBays products a key capability for our customers. The technology will enable HP to expand its solutions for customers deploying Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase databases as well as major enterprise applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite, SAP and PeopleSoft.
In addition, this acquisition is another step in our ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy as we continue to advance our capabilities—allowing us to manage the retention of structured data in the same manner that we manage the retention of unstructured data.
Database archiving is complementary to our data protection, e-mail archiving, and file movement technologies—all important to the efficient deployment of a comprehensive ILM process.
What will the role of RISS be for HP and its customers in 2006? When will RISS be capable of managing customers current storage architecture?
We will continue to enhance HPs Reference Information Storage System to become the repository of choice [with which] to archive customer file and application data—both with HP solutions and offerings from our ISV partners in HPs ILM Partner Program. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements in the very near future.
In terms of functionality, in what specific areas is HP focusing its R&D efforts on its EVA and XP storage hardware product lines?
HP will continue to enhance the performance, capacity and high-availability features on both the EVA and XP product lines—with a focus on making both arrays easier to manage and more scalable over time—always with a customers investment protection in mind.
This weeks announcement is a perfect example—where iSCSI and 4GB Fibre Channel connectivity as well as the 400 and 500GB FATA disk drives in the EVA allow customers to connect one EVA via both Fibre Channel and iSCSI, gain improved performance, and increased capacity and scalability up to 120TB. And continued enhancements to HPs Command View and Replication
HPs Systems Advantage over
Solutions Manager software tools make managing the EVA simpler than any other midrange array on the market. In addition, we increased the performance of the XP12000 by doubling the cache size to 256GB and also reduced the entry-level cost of an XP12000 array by offering an 8-port CHIP pair—which means a customer can start with as few as 8 ports and scale to over 224. No other array has this level of scalability.
How does HPs existence as a systems vendor pose an advantage over its pure-storage competitors?
More and more customers are looking to reduce the number of vendors they do business with. They realize that the benefits of unifying their server and storage infrastructure, high availability, and simplified vendor interaction outweigh getting “the latest and greatest widget” from competitors with narrow offerings.
Weve received strong positive feedback from customers who have implemented Storage Essentials with Systems Insight Manager to manage both their server and storage environments using a well-integrated tool. In addition, HP customers greatly appreciate the high-availability benefits achieved by implementing metro and continental clusters across their HP servers and storage.
What is Mark Hurds vision for HPs storage business unit? How is that strategy currently being executed?
As the recent acquisitions of both AppIQ and OuterBay demonstrate, Mark Hurd is committed to HPs storage business and wants to see it grow faster than the market. He views StorageWorks as a key component to help customers realize the promise of the Adaptive Enterprise—and to provide SMB (small and midsize business) customers with easy-to-use, worry-free storage.
For standards such as SMI-S to be successful, what needs to occur? Why does storage interoperability still dog customers?
More than ever, HP is committed to working closely with SNIA to make the SMI-S standard pervasive. Unfortunately, given the breadth and complexity of todays storage products, the effort is taking longer than all of us would like—although customers can already see concrete benefits through HPs Storage Essentials Storage Resource Management software, which is leveraging this standard.