HP unveils EVA

During last month’s HP Americas StorageWorks Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. Hewlett-Packard Co. announced nine new products and services in what was touted as the biggest storage launch in HP’s 30-year history.

These new products include HP’s next generation Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA) offering, an extensive family of services in Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), offerings in new areas of enterprise file services and virtual tape libraries.

One analyst present during the conference said what impressed him the most was the product refresh on the EVAs. HP’s ILM strategy also caught his eye.

“[It’s] good to hear that [HP is] continuing to invest in storage architecture. It reaffirms their commitment to storage,” said Vasu Daggupaty, a research analyst with IDC Canada.

The next challenge for HP is getting that message out.

“Before, HP was getting written off with a lot of clients and not getting a lot of the mind share that their products could compete with IBM and EMC. They had a very good product line but were not able to communicate that message, which is the main reason why [HP’s] storage revenue declined significantly,” Daggupaty said.

Ann Livermore, executive vice-president of technology with HP’s solutions group, conceded HP had trouble in its message execution and added the company didn’t have the sales coverage needed in the storage space.

“To really do a competitive sale of our EVA product or ILM services, we needed people with deep specialization. We are hiring specialists and we are continuing to do that,” she said at a question and answer session for media during the conference.

It is the new EVA products Daggupaty precicted will make significant gains in the mid-range storage system market. “The refresh of the EVA realigned their products to match up against their competitors more directly.”

In terms of ILM services, Daggupaty said, it is becoming a big deal in the industry and ILM will be driving product purchases in the next few years. He said HP’s ILM strategy is a step in the right direction because it shows ILM is top of mind for HP. During the conference, HP announced several new ILM services ranging from business requirement analysis to business value analysis.

Parag Suri, category business manager, StorageWorks division for HP Canada, said the new ILM services would be most beneficial to Canadian organizations who either have presence or trade in the U.S. Suri said ILM services, such as the Reference Information Storage System, would help these companies in areas such as compliance issues.

Also during the presentation, a lot of emphasis was placed on HP’s StorageWorks Grid, which Livermore sees as the storage delivery model of the future. All the products announced eventually will involve grid technology.

However, Daggupaty is concerned with HP’s overemphasis of its StorageWorks Grid. He said the problem with grid is it is perceived as something long-term, complex to deploy and beyond customers’ current requirements and that might discourage investment in the new HP products.

“The storage market in Canada is not mature enough to take advantage of [grid] capabilities,” he said. The challenge for HP, Daggupaty added, is for the company to empower its channel partners to educate end-users so the full benefit of the HP StorageWorks vision is understood.

Despite his concerns, Daggupaty said the line-up of the new HP products is fairly complete when compared to IBM and EMC, adding that it should be an interesting showdown in the storage marketplace.

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