HP to Bank on OpenView for Storage

Software will play key role as company goes its own way in developing solution for disparate systems

When it comes to heterogeneous storage support, Hewlett-Packard Co. is going it alone.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company next month will release a software family that gives IT administrators the ability to consolidate disparate storage systems under one management console—despite whatever hardware the storage resides on.

But while companies such as Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM are working together to develop the software fabric for heterogeneous storage, HP is going it alone with what officials are calling the HP Federated Storage Area Management strategy.

"Compaq did not have a high-end, and IBM did not have a midrange [storage product]. Theirs was a marriage of convenience. They did what made sense to them. We did not have that problem," said Nora Denzel, vice president at HP and general manager of its network storage solutions organization.

HP has developed a group of software pieces that will be used under the companys OpenView brand to do tasks such as topology discovery, chart performance utilization and delivery of reports that gauge storage capacity. HP officials said that more than 80 percent of the companys customers storage is directly attached—its tied to the server as opposed to a centrally located disk array. Like EMC Corp. and Compaq, HP said it believes storage is one area that businesses cant skimp on.

HP is taking the OpenView brand name—which in the past fell under network management—and moving it to storage, said Steve Duplessie, an analyst with The Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass. HP is taking a combination of rebranded and new pieces of software and building a storage management solution.

"They are trying to create storage-specialized management modules under the OpenView franchise," Duplessie said. "Storage management has been less than stellar thus far. So, as far as we can see, nobody is late to the game yet. The industry is wide open."

Centralizing storage is key to customers looking for efficiency and savings, according to HP. One of its layers of software is called OpenView Storage Node Manager, which gives IT managers a topology map of storage devices and signals systems health. OpenView Storage Optimizer helps manage performance through charts and graphs that measure it in real time and historically. OpenView Storage Builder focuses on managing storage capacity, whether it is on the level of departments or users.

Another software piece is OpenView Storage Allocator, which enables customers to allocate LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) to hosts. An IT administrator can make sure that an overused LUN is connected to a highly used host, and vice versa.

All these products are expected to ship next month. Until 2003, HP will develop and release more FSAM products that include the OpenView Storage Accountant to focus on cost- management billing as well as policy management and fault management software tools. On the hardware side, HP next month will release the Network Storage Appliance, which will have both storage area network and network-attached storage capabilities, HP officials said.