Annual user conferences are a time when vendors aim to shine a spotlight on their company an new products and services.

Hewlett-Packard’s storage division is trying to steal a little of that spotlight from EMC on the eve of next week’s EMC World conference in Las Vegas with an offer to lure VNX and CX4 customers to HP’s 3Par arrays.

HP [NYSE: HPQ] announced Thursday an Online Import program to get users of those EMC systems to switch to 3Par, saying the move will be cost-effective.

EMC has “effectively stranded their Clariion and VNX base,” with its newest VNX line of arrays, Craig Nunes, HP Storage’s president worldwide marketing and alliances, said in an interview. Existing systems need new controllers and a full data migration to upgrade to EMC’s new MCx operating system, if customers want to convert.

Instead, Nunes said, EMC customers should consider switching vendors. The import tool offers a “simple way to move data from your VNX or Cx4 system to 3Par.”

The offer applies to any 3Par StoreServ 7000, 10,000 or 7450 arrays

The migration can be done by storage administrators without additional appliances, host software or consulting services, he said. Nor will it have an impact on the customers’ existing servers and applications.

While buying a new array involves a capital expense, Nunes said the total cost of ownership is in 3Par’s advantage. “We will guarantee we will consume 50 per cent less capacity than you have on your VNX,” he added because the import software takes fully provisioned volumes from a VNX and converts them to thin-provisioned volumes on 3Par. “It’s a really great opportunity from a straight cost perspective,” said Nunes.

A move to 3Par could be up to 80 per cent faster than converting an existing VNX array to handle the new operating system, he said, plus save on hard disk capacity.

At press time we were trying to get comment from EMC.

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