HP promises to relieve storage stress

Hewlett-Packard Co. introduced its new HP Equation storage architecture and related HP SureStore E product line in New with the label “stress-free storage, guaranteed.”

The guarantee, according to HP Canada executives attending the event, is a no-questions-asked 100-per-cent return policy on all of the SureStore E products within 90 days.

Alea Fairchild, an analyst who attended the launch, said the promise isn’t just a gimmick.

“It’s putting pressure internally to sell the right product to the right company. It’s a pretty bold move,” said Fairchild, managing director with Greiner International in Boechout, Belgium.

Fairchild also had praise for HP’s assertion that the new storage line is open, allowing customers to incorporate storage items from different vendors.

“What this all comes down to is the customer has some leverage. The customer ultimately wins in this,” Fairchild said. She explained that customers that are tied to one vendor don’t have the grounds from which to negotiate on matters such as price.

HP Equation storage architecture (www.enterprisestorage.hp.com/1_a2_index.html) is geared to storage area networks (SANs), but Marilyn Edling, general manager of HP’s enterprise storage business unit, said it isn’t bound to SANs.

“HP Equation embraces all four of the standard storage models — direct-attached, centralized, network-attached as well as storage area networks — so customers can choose the storage model best suited to their needs,” Edling said.

“It’s an intelligent storage architecture that will form the basis for everything we do in enterprise storage…with support for multiple platforms, multiple operating systems, and multiple storage vendors.”

Edling explained SureStore E extends the existing SureStore brand into the Equation architecture with: SureSoft storage management software; SureGear hardware; SureSpan Fibre Channel fabric products; and SureGuide consulting and support.

SureStore E Storage Node Manager is centralized management software that integrates with Web-based device management tools, HP said.

SureGear hardware includes the HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256 for direct-connect environments. Edling said it supports multivendor Unix, Windows NT, mainframe and MPE with connections through SCSI, Fibre Channel and Enterprise Systems Connectivity (ESCON). It is certified for SAP R/3 and tested with Oracle and Oracle Parallel Server, she said.

Also announced was a new version of HP’s Intelligent Backup Server that Edling said provides more cross-platform support including back-up of AIX, Solaris and MPE systems.

SureGuide services include a team of technical pre-sales specialists and a new expert support centre, which Edling said will be called “Stress-Free Central.”

HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont., is at 1-800-387-3867.