HP Picks Rhapsody

HP to use intelligent switch from Brocade/Rhapsody to tie together its virtualization strategy

January 22, 2003

2 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) plans to use the "intelligent" switch developed by Rhapsody Networks -- which is being acquired by Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) -- to tie together the disparate pieces of its storage virtualization offerings.

HP disclosed the deal to OEM the Rhapsody switch from Brocade at its ENSA@Work customer conference in Amsterdam today, where it made several other storage-related announcements, including that it will step up its NAS marketing efforts with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) (see HP OEMs Brocade/Rhapsody Switch and HP, Microsoft Set NAS Tour).

HP's hope is that the Rhapsody switch will lead it out of the muddy mess of its current virtualization offerings. When HP merged with Compaq Computer, the two companies had two different virtualization strategies: HP had acquired startup StorageApps, which provided an in-band appliance for pooling together multivendor storage resources; and Compaq was working on VersaStor, which was designed as host-based, out-of-band virtualization software.

"We were both painting a wall -- HP started on the left side, and Compaq started on the right," says Mark Sorenson, VP of HP's storage software. "The Rhapsody intelligent switch is going to help us accelerate our delivery of this new strategy."

HP, which has been working with Rhapsody for about a year, expects to deliver beta units of the intelligent switch this summer. It has slated general availability for the second half of 2003.Is this a bright move? Well, it can't hurt. So far, HP has had very little success with the StorageApps technology, which it repositioned and repackaged earlier this year as a replication device, called the OpenView Continuous Access Storage Appliance (CASA). Meanwhile, Compaq's VersaStor project has been stuck in a perpetual state of beta testing for the last two and a half years (see HP Recasts Virtualization Box and Compaq Gains on Virtualization).

Unfortunately, HP can't provide many details on what the Rhapsody offering will eventually look like in terms of port count, feature set, or pricing. It doesn't even have a name yet for the new product, although Sorenson suggests it might be called "CASA Enterprise Edition." [Ed. note: We propose CASA Mucho Grande!]

Also, on a minor point, Brocade's acquisition of Rhapsody hasn't technically closed yet; Brocade expects this to happen before the end of the month (see Brocade Scoops Up Rhapsody and Does Rhapsody Want Out?

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