April 25, 2006 11:06 AM PDT
HP aims to regain the storage high ground
On Monday, in what it dubbed "the largest new storage announcement in years," HP released four new products and three enhanced ones.
One key part of the lineup is an update to the StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS), a storage server for archiving large amounts of data. Version 1.5 stores 1.4 terabytes and uses single block instancing (SBI), a technique that can dramatically reduce the amount of space required for any given set of data.
New hardware includes the StorageWorks 200 virtualization system, which is effectively an HP XP storage array without the disk storage. It offers companies a diskless, virtualized storage array that can be used with storage hardware from other companies such as IBM, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.
HP is facing stiff competition in the storage market after EMC came out with its own raft of product announcements earlier in the year, including a new high-end storage array, which EMC claims is the biggest general purpose storage array in the world. This was followed by new low-end products from Hitachi Data Systems, and now Network Appliance says it will be launching its first high-end storage products in May.
Not that business is bad for HP. Like most storage vendors, the company is finding that its business is driven by issues such as compliance and by the never-ending expansion of storage capacity. "We see three key drivers: the phenomenal growth in storage (capacity)...the issues around compliance, and the need to use information for business leverage," said Frank Harbist, HP's general manager of information lifecycle management (ILM) and storage software.
Harbist said the latest announcements complete HP's ILM strategy, which is "the most complete in the industry" when it comes to helping customers "capture, manage, retain and deliver information according to its business value."
The StorageWorks RISS is an active-archiving product that stores, indexes and retrieves reference data. According to HP, the latest version lowers the cost per terabyte "by up to 75 percent by offering higher-capacity smart cells and delivering three to five times more compression through block single instancing."
Another product is StorageWorks for Continuous Information Capture, which continuously captures enterprise database and application information for extraction.
Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.