HP Launches ILM Blitz

Attacks ILM from all directions, while customers try to answer one problem at a time

April 24, 2006

4 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Hewlett-Packard, in an attempt to convince customers it has more ILM pieces than the competition, today rolled out a package of products spanning archiving, continuous data protection (CDP), and virtualization.

Though the products fall into different categories, HP is lumping them into a single ILM strategy. And it will be placing a lot more products into that lump.

"Our feeling is that ILM is much bigger than just storage," says HP vice president of ILM and storage software Frank Harbist. He adds that products such as imaging and handheld devices also fit into ILM.

But today's launch is focused on storage, including mostly products that fit with HP's recent strategy of gaining technology through acquisition or partners. HP is upgrading the Reference Information Storage System (RISS) archiving system it acquired from Persist Technologies in 2003 and the database archiving product it picked up by acquiring OuterBay. The vendor also is unveiling its enterprise continuous data protection (CDP) product from an OEM deal struck with Mendocino Software last year. (See HP Buys Archive Guys, HP Picks Mendocino , and HP Hops on OuterBay.)

Here's a closer look:

  • HP increased the capacity of RISS smart cells from 850 Gbytes to 1.4 Tbytes and added single-instancing -- the ability to store attachments sent in multiple emails only once to save storage capacity. Smart cells comprise a processor and storage and are the key components to the RISS system. The RISS upgrade will be available in late June.

  • In the first update to Reference Information (RIM) for Databases since HP acquired OuterBay, the application will migrate and covert tables within an operational database into open XML format. The upgrade will be available May 8.

  • HP also says it will upgrade its Data Protector backup product and roll out a RIM for files product in the fall.

  • HP will brand its CDP product as Continuous Information Capture (CIC). It is expected to be available by June with a list price beginning at $31,200.

  • HP is also bringing out a virtualization appliance in June called the Storage Virtualization System 200 (SVS 200) to compete with EMC's Invista and IBM's Storage Volume Controller (SVC). HP's appliance is an OEM version of Hitachi Data Systems' NSC55 midrange controller. (See Hitachi Plans Midrange Rollout.) Hitachi and HP previously sold the controller only with disk attached. Now they are making it available in a diskless version to manage storage from EMC, IBM, Hitachi, HP, and Sun.

The question is whether HP's marketing efforts will convince customers to buy only from them -- especially since some of the new offerings duplicate emerging wares from competitors.

For instance, like HP, EMC also OEMs Mendocino's CDP and OuterBay's database archiving. (See EMC Pulls Forward With Backup and EMC Puts OuterBay Inside.) To complicate matters further, Harbist says the upgrades to HP's RIM for Databases will be available to EMC and other OuterBay OEM partners.

Ultimately, customers may opt out of dealing with one vendor in favor of picking and choosing among suppliers, based on the advantages of each relationship.

CTO Tim Waire of Baltimore-based energy company Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG), for example, has adopted RISS for email archiving, but that was just the start of Waire's ILM plan. His group also uses EMC for SAN and Network Appliance for NAS and is considering solutions from other suppliers.

"There are early adopters and fast followers," Waire says. "We were in between those two on ILM. We were waiting for the technology to mature. We intended to tackle ILM by content type. The first content type was email. Next we'll tackle network-based file shares, and we're looking at products from EMC, Symantec, and others. Beyond that, there are database-specific technologies. We went to keep the most relevant and frequently accessed data in tier one and move less frequently accessed data to tier two and tier three."Waire's group selected HP's RISS over offerings from EMC and NetApp for email archiving as he migrates from Exchange Server 2000 to 2003. His company was a beta customer for the upgraded RISS and Waire says he thought the bigger smart cells make RISS more scalable than competitors' products. That comes in handy, as his company is in the middle of a merger and expects more M&A activity. He also likes that HP offers RISS as a managed service.

"We were looking at managed solution and HP was willing to provide that," Waire says. "It's a black box managed by HP. Our system phones home [to HP] for repair. That was key for us."

Still, Waire is taking ILM one product at a time. He's looking for ILM products that work, and if they come from different vendors, so be it.

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Mendocino Software

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Symantec Corp.0

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

You May Also Like

More Insights