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HP Unveils New Storage Products And Services

Additions to the StorageWorks product line include enhanced disk devices, gateways, a tape library system, a WAN accelerator, and new information-life-cycle management services.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday took the wraps off its midrange offerings within its StorageWorks family. The new products and services include revved-up versions of its Enterprise Virtual Array disk devices, a Clustered Gateway aimed at network-attached storage competitors EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc., a new Enterprise Modular Library tape library system, a WAN accelerator for speeding branch-office applications, and new information-life-cycle management services.

Taken as a whole, the products are intended to bolster HP's market share in storage, which was 23.7% in the first nine months of 2004, down from 26.4% for the full-calendar year 2003, according to market research firm IDC.

At the HP Americas StorageWorks conference in Las Vegas on Monday, execs said the company had invested heavily in making its storage products competitive with those from EMC, Hitachi, and IBM. "Over the last 12 months, the entire product portfolio has been refreshed," said Ann Livermore, executive VP of HP's technology solutions group. She also said that HP leads IBM and EMC combined in number of units shipped, including both SAN and direct-attached storage devices.

HP customers said the new offerings will lower the total cost of ownership, creating more efficient use of storage, and easing maintenance.

Premiere Bankcard, a division of First Premiere Bank of Sioux Falls, S.D., is adopting a tiered storage approach in response to regulatory requirements. In tiered storage, data is assigned to storage devices based partly on how long the data must be preserved. Premiere Bankcard, the 14th-largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa branded cards with 3 million cards in circulation, is planning to replace four legacy HP Modular Smart Array disk devices with one EVA 8000.

With the EVA 8000, Premiere Bankcard will only need to manage one pair of controllers versus 12 pairs -- three pairs on each of the four Modular Smart Array devices. "We'll get four times capacity plus lower maintenance with the new EVA, which works out to over $1 million in savings over three years," says Scott Erkonen, managing officer of networking. EVA's virtualization technology is a strong improvement over the Modular Smart Array devices, Erkonen says. An auto-leveling feature automatically reconfigures storage partitions and reallocates data across different storage arrays. "With the older [MSA] device, we would have had to reconfigure the entire physical array, which could take weeks," he says.

Executives declined to provide revenue statistics for its storage products. The company is scheduled to report earnings on Tuesday.

The new EVA models -- the 4000, 6000, and 8000 -- feature maximum storage capacity of up to 72 terabytes, more than double the capacity of the older 3000 and 5000 models. They also feature new replication functions such as Snapclone and Snapshot, which create disk copies for long-term preservation and for creating temporary backup copies.

The Clustered Gateway uses file-sharing software from PolyServe Inc. to build a NAS file system configuration of up to 16 ProLiant servers and 8.2 petabytes of storage. List pricing for a single cluster starts at $30,200.

The WAN accelerator appliance will increase performance of branch office file sharing by up to 100 times, HP says. The appliance optimizes all applications running on TCP over a wide-area network; it creates LAN-like throughput by removing 60% to 65% of repetitive WAN traffic and allowing more efficient use of WAN bandwidth.

HP also unveiled the Enterprise Modular Library E-Series Tape Libraries, scalable up to 16 drives and more than 440 slots; future expansion modules will scale to more than 500 slots.

The company debuted an Information Life-Cycle-Management Services Framework, featuring a suite of services such as Data and Information Discovery, which helps companies identify data types through a detailed audit of their storage and data environments, and Policy Definition, which creates a set of data archival and retrieval policies to address regulator compliance and legal discovery requirements.

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