HP links servers and storage with appliance

Hewlett-Packard Co. announced a new appliance Monday for managing data sharing and back-up tasks across groups of servers and storage systems.

The StorageApps sv3000 should arrive in early May with some added management features and support for other vendors’ platforms beyond similar products in the company’s storage appliance line. The product is aimed at medium-sized businesses looking to link hardware from various companies in a SAN (storage area network), said Nicos Vekiarides, general manager of HP’s storage virtualization organization.

The midrange appliance runs on 1.26GHz Intel Corp. Pentium III processors and comes with a list price of US$125,000.

With 14 Fibre Channel ports, the sv3000 can serve as a type of central nervous system for a mid-sized SAN, creating one view of the compute and storage resources of the network.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based, HP has broadened the types of hardware it can support with this appliance, so it will now work with Compaq Computer Corp.’s StorageWorks, EMC Corp.’s Symmetrix, Hitachi Data Systems Ltd. and Dell Computer Corp. storage arrays. The product will also work with HP’s own HP-UX operating system and Linux in addition to previous support for Solaris, Windows NT and Windows 2000, Vekiarides said.

The appliance software will also make it easier to back-up information in several ways. Administrators can now narrow down data snapshots to just back-up the changes made to a master image, as opposed to always creating a complete replica. In addition, data from a number of storage systems can be backed up onto one system over IP (Internet Protocol). HP also equipped the sv3000 with iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface), support for backing up large chunks of data over IP.

Users will have to pay extra for heterogenous storage support, data snapshot software and remote replication over IP, Vekiarides said.

HP’s storage business has come under fire from its top executives throughout the six months since HP announced its plans to acquire Compaq. Management has chided the storage division’s poor performance and championed Compaq’s products and position in the storage market as a key reason for making the deal.

Such statements have triggered uncertainty around the future of HP’s storage products. The companies have said they plan to pick only the products with the best market position and technology from their shared arsenal moving forward.

In HP’s presentation for the sv3000, the company said this type of product fits into its strategy to “penetrate (the) Compaq storage market.”