HP Streamlines Storage Lineup

Product upgrades ease IT consolidation efforts.

Hewlett-Packard is sprucing up its storage hardware and software portfolio to simplify IT consolidation efforts across customers online, backup and remote- and branch-office storage environments. HP on Feb. 20 announced new plug-in and connectivity features for its Enterprise Virtual Array and XP disk array systems.

The company also introduced a new HP StorageWorks MSL2024 Tape Library, and revealed upgrades of its HP StorageWorks EFS (Enterprise File Services) WAN Accelerator 2.1 and HP StorageWorks 6000 Virtual Library System, according to sources close to HP.

In addition to the availability of a new Rapid Opportunity Analysis service to help solve heterogeneous storage consolidation woes, HP also announced it is extending backup operating system and provisioning support of its HP Storage Essentials storage resource management and SAN (storage area network) software.

The new and improved HP storage products represent a move by the systems vendor to simplify multivendor storage and network environments through streamlined information management—a direct result of consolidated server and storage infrastructures.

However, instituting a storage consolidation methodology can be especially tricky when dealing with a tiered storage architecture, said Mark Deck, senior vice president of technology for National Medical Health Card Systems Inc., in Port Washington, N.Y.

Decks organization is using HP Storage Essentials to forecast storage growth by analyzing specific usage points and capacities across its company to help control costs.

"As storage becomes a commodity, business users and developers and application owners tend to look at storage, as if we need more, theyll get it. But the cost of keeping that [information] in an enterprise-class SAN is tremendous," said Deck. "People arent reducing storage; what were trying to do in a tiered architecture is use it appropriately and look at the value of storage."

To that end, HP has built concurrent iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity into its EVA and XP disk arrays, said sources close to HP.

In conjunction with new 4GB SAN support for EVA arrays, HPs StorageWorks business unit has also doubled the existing cache size of its XP hardware for improved partitioning and will offer support for customers that want to attach their EVA arrays to both XP12000 and XP1000 arrays.

Large enterprise backup consolidation will be addressed by HP boosting the maximum capacity of its 6000 Virtual Library System to 70TB through support of new 500GB drives.

IT administrators desperate to corral remote branch-office backup operations can look forward to new software capabilities and multiple fail-through NICs (network interface cards) in HP StorageWorks EFS WAN Accelerator.

Within HPs Storage Essentials Suite, Backup Managers reporting functionality has been extended to HP-UX and Linux deployments, while the suites Provisioning Manager tool has new support for third-party disk arrays and switches from IBM, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Xiotech and QLogic.

Deck said that 4GB support for his EVA and XP boxes is not an immediate need but will be very important on the horizon. He added that he would like to see HP emphasize a bit more backward capability into its storage products to mesh with his year-old investments.