HP shows off what

Industry experts agree that over the next four years, data growth will expand far greater than what the Earth has seen in the last 2,000 years. And, with these enormous data surges, the demand for increased storage capacity will inevitably rise in turn. In preparation for this super data explosion, Hewlett-Packard Co. recently released a whack of new products and services designed around its much-hyped FSAM strategy, and the ability to scale storage to the highest capacity.

According to HP, FSAM (federated storage area management) revolves around the theory of having the ability to manage data from one central point. It also points in the direction where businesses will be able to increase storage capacity by a multiple of 10 using the same people print.

“I think what we are seeing in the marketplace today is that a lot of people are having to, because of business reasons, keep more information…,” said Paul Patterson, marketing manager for enterprise storage for HP Canada. “This is putting a lot of pressure on companies to come up with capacities and different ways to manage their business.”

HP, he said, is one of those companies. On the product side the company announced the HP OpenView Storage Accountant along with the HP OpenView Storage Allocater. Xing Zeng, software category marketing manager for HP Canada explained that Storage Accountant is software that allows enterprise customers and service providers to measure or meter storage assigned to any user.

“The product helps you understand what is the cost to provide (storage) per gigabyte, per hour to the customer,” Zeng said.

Through what HP calls charge-back and cost recovery, resources can be used more productively and services that are being provided but not being used are easily identified.

Storage Allocater v2 improves the ability to access control between hosts and storage. Zeng said the software allows customers to remove, reassign, or add storage from within a shared pool of multi-vendor JBOD, RAID and tape devices as well as manage hundreds of host devices.

On the hardware front, HP has released the compact HP Surestore 181GB disk drive, which it says offers high capacity in a small footprint. Patterson explained that currently drivers exist at capacities of 73GB or less. He added that 181GB is the highest capacity and the HP Surestore offering allows customers to increase their data, within the same physical footprint.

Also new in storage hardware is the HP Surestore Tape Library 10/100. Darren Hamilton, category business manager for networking and storage, said the 10/100 will help customers migrate from current storage capacities to higher density storage.

“The 10/100 gives our customers the ability to migrate to extremely large back-up capacity solutions,” Hamilton said. “We understand that there are still a lot of mixed environments out there, so it is available as a fibre-based device or SCSI. In typical HP fashion we have given customers the ability to choose their mechanism inside that library. They can go with the DLT 8000 or an Ultrium technology mechanism or a Super DLT.”

HP has also announced a new set of services that correspond with the product releases, Patterson said. HP Premier Storage Critical support guarantees qualified customers 100 per cent data availability and accessibility for the HP Surestore XP disk array family. HP Storage Critical Support for the HP Surestore XP disk array family has expanded to include analysis, design, implementation, and testing services. HP Storage Support for Virtual Arrays offers maintenance, technical analysis and change management services to anticipate and meet business information needs.

“What we are trying to do at HP is provide our customers with a sense of confidence,” Patterson said. “We have high quality products that we put out there, but also if something does go wrong they have the ability to have assistance to get that product up and running as soon as possible.”

According to Alan Freedman, senior analyst with Toronto-based research firm IDC Canada, HP is ranked fourth behind Compaq, EMC and IBM in terms of storage. Although he did not wish to speculate on whether these new offerings will put HP ahead of the competition, he did say that the company is certainly not limiting itself.

“What I think they are doing is positioning themselves to be able to capture that captive storage market, so that every time they go out and sell an HP system or server, they can go out with a quality storage solution,” Freedman said.

The HP storage products and services are available this month. For details, visit www.hp.com.