HP offers five new storage services

Hewlett-Packard Co. Tuesday announced five new services designed around storage-area networks (SAN) and disaster recovery. The services are intended to feed off an uptick in outsourcing created by tight IT budgets and IT managers looking for quick returns without investing in specialized staff.

HP said it’s marketing the services as either a consulting engagement or a comprehensive installation and training package that includes a project manager; a complete systems design; integration with applications such as SAP, Oracle or HP’s own OpenView management suite; and testing, documentation and training of in-house staff.

The services include local data replication and migration and replication to disaster recovery sites, building out full-blown disaster recovery architectures, storage assessment and optimization, data erasure, and storage network monitoring and management.

Charlie Orndorff, CIO at Crossmark, a Plano, Texas-based advertising and marketing company, said he currently uses both HP and Veritas Software Corp.’s services for some special storage projects but has yet to deploy full-blown outsourcing services in his data center.

But over the next few months, Orndorff is looking to merge a 7TB SAN and 4TB SAN to reduce his management headaches, and for that he’s eyeing HP’s new services for disaster recovery and business continuity.

“What you really need is a comprehensive solution that says if I go down my data will be available in one hour, four hours, whatever the SLAs (service-level agreements) are that are in place. You know, manage to the SLAs,” Orndorff said, adding that he doesn’t want to have to hire specialized and costly technicians to manage different aspects of his Fibre Channel network.

Robert Gray, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm IDC, said that although outsourcing for managed services is on the decline, turning to third-party providers for implementation of best practices is on the upswing because companies want to get the most out of their technology purchases.

“Suppliers had been selling the product and walking away, leaving (customers) underusing what they invested in,” Gray said.

Gary Wright, vice president of HP’s Network Storage Services division, said HP is also increasing the standby capacity on its StorageWorks XP 128 and 1024 disk arrays in order to allow users to pay a fixed monthly fee plus a variable fee, based on HP’s metering the actual use of disk subsystems.

Wright said the only service currently available is the disaster-tolerant management. All other services will be generally available worldwide by the end of the third quarter.

For example, if a customer purchased 12TB of storage but needed only 8TB at the beginning of a standard three-year lease contract, it would pay 75 percent of the lease price for 12TB on a monthly basis and would be charged additional fees only as it used more of the storage. If the customer didn’t use the full 12TB at the end of three years, it still wouldn’t be charged for it, Wright said.

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