HP Hoists New Storage Products

Hopes to turn its storage fortunes around with raft of new products

May 17, 2005

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) unveiled a raft of new products at it StorageWorks Conference in Las Vegas today. The company is touting it as the largest storage launch in its history (see HP Expands StorageWorks Portfolio).

Hyperbole is hardly out of place in Sin City, although there is some serious method in HPs madness. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor’s storage revenues have taken a hammering recently, hence the need to overhaul its product line (see HP Stays Hopeful on Storage).

This includes three new high-performance additions (the 4000, 6000, and 8000) to its Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) series, as well as a new Clustered Gateway offering, HP’s first file-sharing product for the high-end network attached storage (NAS) market (see HP Plans EVA Facelift).

Bob Schultz, senior vice president of HP’s network storage solutions division, explains that the Clustered Gateway can support up to 512 file systems, offering a total capacity of 8.2 petabytes. The device can also scale up to 16 nodes.

NAS file sharing is quickly emerging as a hot technology area where the major vendors are jostling for pole position (see Acopia Hitched to HP's Grid}.HP also unveiled seven new information lifecycle management (ILM) services this morning, which include offerings enabling users to define specific policies and more effectively weigh up the ILM proposition. With HP facing stiff competition from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)in this space, the vendor is clearly setting itself up for a major ILM push.

Later this year, HP will also add new managed archive and support services for ILM, Schultz adds.

Analysts agree that the new products, particularly the additions to the EVA line, are a step in the right direction, but they warn that HP needs to do some serious marketing if it wants to make an impact. “The EVA was always a very competitive product, but HP has not been good about communicating that,” says Tony Asaro, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

Asaro says HP has boosted its caching story with the new EVA products, along with additional Fibre Channel ports and a processor upgrade. ”This raises the bar,” he adds. “It provides more features and functions, but if people don’t know about it, it won’t make any difference.”

Randy Kerns, senior partner at analyst firm Evaluator Group says HP’s storage business is still struggling to get rid of its Compaq hangover. “The EVA has been a very successful product, but after the Compaq merger, they have been somewhat delayed with the refresh and have not made many public announcements for it.”Some industry sources have criticized the Compaq merger for taking the wind out of HP's storage sales. Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP’s technology solutions group, admits the company has had to improve its sales story. “We flat out did not have the sales coverage we needed,” she says. The company has been hard at work hiring storage sales specialists and is still looking to bring more salespeople on board, she adds.

Bob Schultz explains that HP spent “several months” training its sales force and its partners to support this latest announcement, and will be holding a joint storage/server event for European customers and partners in Copenhagen in a couple of weeks.

However, Schultz refuses to confirm how many marketing dollars are being devoted to promoting the new storage products.

Nonetheless, Kerns believes the new Clustered Gateway is a prudent move at a time when more and more users are looking to share files across network-attached storage infrastructures. “This is filling a high-end requirement that they hadn’t addressed previously,” he says. “There’s a set of customers that HP has that would have had to look elsewhere if they didn’t have this offering.”

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum0

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights