HP Stirs Midrange Mix

Touts EVA3000's async replication and integration with EVA5000. Is HP playing catchup?

October 10, 2003

4 Min Read
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The midrange storage array mlée just got a little more fierce: Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) announced a number of enhancements to its EVA family today, including extending capabilities once limited to its high-end EVA5000 array to the midrange EVA3000 array (see HP Enhances EVA Family).

The Palo Alto computer giant announced that it has extended the long-distance asynchronous replication and disaster recovery functions available with its StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) 5000 to its midrange array as well.

“This is not available on most arrays, at least ones the size of the 3000,” says David Fitch, lead of HP’s EVA product marketing.

HP’s announcement is another thrust in the battle for midrange storage systems, which is the fastest-growing segment of the market (see HP, IBM Muscle Up Midrange). According to the latest Byte and Switch Insider report, HP is trailing IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in terms of the capabilities of its midrange storage products (see Home on the Midrange).

HP's new offering could be a step in the right direction. By offering continuous remote copying capabilities on its EVA3000 as well as the EVA5000, Fitch says HP is enabling companies that haven’t been able to afford remote replication the opportunity to do so. And since the EVA3000’s new remote copy functions work with the same functions on the EVA5000, large organizations can also now use a mix of the two to more cheaply replicate data between their primary site and smaller branch offices.The fact that the two devices use exactly the same management tools helps simplify the deployment and management, Fitch says, pointing out that companies needn't worry about having specialized IT staff at each branch office to handle the remote copies: “Everybody speaks the same language."

In addition, the company’s Continuous Access software, which enables the asynchronous replication on both of its EVA arrays, can now replicate twice the capacity between two or more sites as before, according to HP.

The company also says it has restructured the pricing of its EVA products to make first deployments cheaper and easier. “It’s difficult to get a low-cost entry into your EVA family,” Fitch says. “So we took a lot of the cost out of the entry.”

Meanwhile, Ken Steinhardt, EMC’s director of technology analysis, insists that the Hopkinton storage kingpin doesn’t feel threatened by HP’s new push into the midrange. “We’ve had within-family capability to do replication for quite a while,” he says. “They’re just trying to catch up on technology that’s been around for years... We have a healthy respect for any competitor [but] this is less than amazing... It’s just archaic.” [Ed. note: Now, that's healthy respect!]

But Denis Cahill, associate VP for architecture and infrastructure with Factiva -- which is an HP storage customer -- says he’s impressed with the changes the company has made. He says he’s especially excited about the improvements to the software.“We can use it in places to improve our customer response time,” Cahill says, adding that his company is in the process of installing the new EVA software.

Factiva, which is a joint venture between DowJones and Reuters, uses an EVA5000 for internal replication of its 15 to 20 Tbytes of primary centralized storage today, and is looking into doing external replication as well, according to Cahill.

HP also today introduced a new software product for managing the EVA arrays, the HP OpenView Storage Operations Manager. The company claims that the new software extends the array management to include SAN-wide monitoring, as well as tighter integration with the company’s existing OpenView Storage Area Management (SAM) suite. According to Fitch, the software gives customers a single management console for organizing, configuring, visualizing, monitoring, and provisioning storage among EVA arrays, tape, NAS systems, direct-attached storage, and storage devices from other vendors.

In addition, HP announced the addition of a number of new service bundles to its EVA Service Portfolio, including the Foundation Service Solution, which provides deployment services and three years of 24/7, four-hour response, on-site hardware support, and phone-in virtual controller software support and updates. This service bundle will now be included with every EVA3000 and EVA5000.

Finally, HP has started bundling its EVA3000 along with servers into various new rack options. Each bundle includes one pair of HSV100 controllers, two Fibre Channel drive enclosures, and 8 to 16 integrated Fibre Channel hard drives of different sizes and speeds.“We’re trying to smooth out all levels of the process,” Fitch says. “From the ordering, to the setup, to the running of it and the maintenance.”

— Eugénie Larson, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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