HP Adds Archiving Apps

Upgrades fixed content system to go after EMC and others in an emerging field

March 23, 2005

3 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) today beefed up its archiving system in hopes of cashing in on the rapidly growing compliance market.

HP announced performance enhancements, as well as expanded application support for the Reference Information Storage System (RISS), which it acquired with Persist Technologies in 2003 (see HP Buys Archive Guys). HP rolled out its first RISS product last May (see HP Delivers Storage Grid Solution).

Paul OBrien, formerly Persist’s CEO and now HP’s director of ILM, says HP plans frequent upgrades to the RISS platform. There’s little reason to doubt him, considering market research firm IDC forecasts the compliance market will increase at a 22 percent compound annual growth rate and pass $20 billion in 2009 (see IDC: Compliance Market to Pass $20B).

“This is the first major set of improvements and one of many announcements you’ll see in this space,” O’Brien says. Plans call for support of CIFS, NFS, and applications aimed at vertical markets such as healthcare.

HP acquired Persist for its email archiving, an application that plays a major role in helping companies stay compliant with regulatory constraints. Today HP added support for Lotus Domino/Notes to the RISS archiving application that moves email to lower-cost storage over its lifetime. The application previously only supported Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange. O’Brien says HP will add RISS support for databases and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. HP is also rolling out a RISS Software Development Kit to help software vendors port applications to RISS.HP also increased the capacity of RISS "smart cells" from 400 GBytes to 850 Gbytes. Smart cells are modules with controllers, storage, and software that power search and retrieval for RISS.

Like most archiving products, RISS is chasing EMC Corp.’s (NYSE: EMC) Centera, the pioneer of the content addressable storage (CAS) platform for storing fixed content (see EMC Has Eyes for Huge Archives). EMC claims it gained 250 Centera customers last quarter alone (see EMC Closes Year With a Bang). While Centera jumped out of the gate first in 2002, HP hopes to catch up through tighter integration with applications.

“The difference is RISS knows a lot more about Notes or Exchange; Centera knows nothing about applications; it’s agnostic,” says Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group. “Because Centera is broad-based, the good news is its simplicity. The good news on the HP side is it will give you more functionality when you tie the pieces together.”

The archiving market is still young, with established storage players IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) among the other early entrants. Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK) entered in January through an OEM deal with Permabit Inc., which is among a handful of archiving startups that include Archivas Inc. and DataCenter Technologies (see StorageTek Taps Permabit's CAS Act). Nexsan Technologies Inc. is working on an archiving product with technology it expects to acquire from startup EverTrust (see Nexsan Targets CAS Startup).

Taneja says he thinks HP has the best chance to challenge EMC Centera. “Because Centera was brought out as broad-based, EMC ran away with the early prize,” Taneja says. “But I think the games have just begun. Fast-forward a year from now, RISS and Centera will be competing head on.”— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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