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HP: Not All Quiet On The Western Storage Front

Do not confuse being quiet with being inactive. With a few exceptions, HP has been generally quiet to industry analysts on what it is doing and where it is headed, since the CEO transition from Mark Hurd to Leo Apotheker occurred last year. But at least in the storage arena, the company is becoming more public as indicated by a recent teleconference for analysts on its HP StoreOnce deduplication software.

Now, StoreOnce has actually been generally available to customers for some time, but HP wanted to make sure that analysts were fully aware of the product and its capabilities. Although this seems like getting the cart before the horse, it is understandable during a senior management transition. New executives need time to rethink the company’s existing strategic initiatives.

This can effect which products are emphasized and de-emphasized, and whether market messaging and positioning can be accelerated, more or less put on hold or slowed down. The same is not likely to happen to new product design and development or to the production of existing products or delivery of existing services. These processes are operational and tactical in nature, and continue as vendors want to continue bringing in revenues even though the overall strategic focus is under review.

From a more specific storage perspective, data deduplication is a hot topic in the disk to disk (D2D) backup market, so it was mandatory for HP to keep pace. Enter StoreOnce, a data deduplication product developed by HP Labs, the company’s research and development organization. StoreOnce is a software solution that runs on any of HP’s StorageWorks D2D backup systems. The D2D product family ranges from the smallest D2D2500, which supports between 1.5 and 3 TB of useable capacity, to the D2D4324, which scales from 24 to 72 TB.

This flexibility enables the use of D2D for a wide range of business and IT requirements. Customers have a choice of configuring the D2D appliance to backup applications in one of three ways. One is as a VTL (Virtual Tape Library), in which the D2D system presents itself as if it were a physical tape library to the backup application (a key HP differentiator here is the ability to support VTL over iSCSI). The second is as a NAS (network-attached storage) disk array, which presents itself as NAS file-based disk storage using the CIFS and/or NFS protocols that are standard for NAS to the backup applications. The third option is Symantec’s OpenStorage interface, which is an API supported by Symantec’s backup applications that enables high performance disk-based backup and recovery, catalogue consistent replication and a variety of other features.

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