New Products Strengthen HP Storage Lineup

In the biggest storage product blitz since the company's acquisition of Compaq, Hewlett-Packard readies across-the-board product upgrades and a series of storage-related services.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is readying across-the-board product upgrades, as well as a series of storage-related services, in the biggest storage product blitz since the companys acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. last May.

The raft of products and services, which will touch IP storage, NAS (network-attached storage) and SANs (storage area networks), will start rolling out this week at the companys HP Enterprise Storage Conference in Orlando, Fla., and continue throughout the year, according to officials at HP, in Palo Alto, Calif. Although the products will range from storage routers to NAS devices, the overall theme is integration.

"Were talking about storage being more self-aware," said Howard Elias, senior vice president and general manager, network storage solutions, in an interview last week.

The company will kick off the product rollout with its StorageWorks SR2122 iSCSI Storage Router, which is based on Cisco Systems Inc.s 5420 series. The router, which will be equipped with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and dual 2G-bps Fibre Channel ports, will let users attach a SAN to remote servers over existing networks. It is available now for $9,995.

But before trying the SR2122, Elias suggested customers ensure network security and consider HPs view of IP as an adjunct to, not a replacement for, Fibre Channel.

"We see no rush by anybody to rip and replace their investments," Elias said.

The router is managed with SNMP, Telnet or Cisco Web Tools. Future versions will have a TCP/IP offload engine to reduce latency and may also have Fibre Channel over IP, officials said.

Planned NAS upgrades will affect HPs B2000, B3000 and E7000 devices, which run Microsoft Corp.s Server Appliance Kit; and the NAS8000, which runs Linux. The Windows versions will be upgraded with Intel Corp. Xeon processors, rather than the current Pentium IIIs, and will incorporate Persistent Storage Manager snapshotting software, which HP is licensing from Columbia Data Products Inc., of Altamonte, Fla.

The B2000, for departments, is available now, starting at $7,995, and the B3000 is due early next month, starting at $8,995, or at $24,995 bundled with the entry-level Modular Storage Array 1000. The E7000 is also due early next month, starting at $34,995, officials said.

Meanwhile, the NAS8000 is being enhanced with a new multipathing option, called Data Path Manager, for $6,500.

The Windows versions also feature tighter collaboration between HP and Microsoft, Elias said. Both companies provide support for the devices, as well as new blueprints and return-on-investment tools, he said.

On the services front, HP is rolling out this week Critical Services for SANs, which gives users tiered technical support, as well as new diagnostic and remote monitoring tools. An availability guarantee is due in May.

Another new service, the Data Migration Service, is being released this week and uses Fujitsu Software Technology Corp.s Transparent Data Migration Facility tool.

Upgraded offerings due this week include the SAN Solution Service and Backup and Recovery Solution Service. Both include project management, design, interoperability connecting, installation, legacy hardware/software integration, testing, documentation and training features, officials said.

Updates to HPs SAN family due this week include a raw capacity of 34 terabytes for the Enterprise Virtual Array and a capacity ceiling of 148 terabytes for the XP1024. HP is not planning a parallel ATA array, as competitors EMC Corp., Network Appliance Inc. and Storage Technology Corp. have done; instead, the company is waiting for serial ATA drives to mature, Elias said.

Users remain cautious.

"We want to see it out there for a little while—no matter who it is," said Chris Allen, assistant vice president, technical services for Tower Hill Insurance Group Inc., in Gainesville, Fla.

HPs remote monitoring and SAN Solution Service will be valuable when its time to upgrade, Allen said.

To help manage the upgrades, HP will launch new versions of OpenView Storage Area Manager later this year, Elias said.