HP Lays Out Storage Vision

Hewlett-Packard Co. late last month pulled all of its storage technologies into a single division, laid out its vision for storage, and subsequently announced new network attached storage (NAS), backup, and Fibre Channel products to fulfill its strategy.

The new Hewlett-Packard (HP, www.hp.com) Storage Organization consists of data protection, data management, integrated solutions, and new business development divisions.

The data protection division covers products that include tape libraries, DAT and DLT tapes, and the Ultrium format.

The data management unit will produce disk systems and disk arrays as well as NAS and storage area network (SAN) products.

The integrated solutions division is responsible for storage management software and other integrated storage solutions.

The focus of HP's product announcements was the SureStore NetStorage 6000 NAS device and the SureStore AutoBackup PC25 and PC100 network appliances.

SureStore NetStorage is targeted at the midrange segment and optimized for departments and workgroups. It provides from 72 GB to 360 GB; manageability features; and a means to add, manage, and deploy storage within an existing network environment. HP says it can support between 200 and 400 users on Linux, Unix, or Windows NT systems.

SureStore AutoBackup PC25 and PC100 use thin-server technology to deliver automated backup for network-connected laptop and desktop PCs with disaster recovery. This helps companies protect vulnerable business-critical data residing on hard drives.

The SureStore NetStorage 6000 and the SureStore AutoBackup PC25/PC100 will be available May 1. Later this year, HP plans to offer a higher-end NAS device with storage capacity in the multiple terabyte range.

HP also announced that it is reselling a Fibre Channel eight-port switch from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (www.brocade.com). The switch is designed to provide a foundation for HP's SAN solution and to enable customers to store, access, and manage data. Like the version that Brocade ships, the switch’s Gigabit interface converter interconnect for copper and optical enables the switch to connect to tape libraries and supports arbitrated loop.

Jim Osborne, product manager for HP storage, says his company will sell the switch with the Brocade name and branding intact. The Brocade switch will be available from HP June 1.

Osborne touted a series of upgrade kits and enhancements for HP’s SureStore and SureStore E tape libraries. The upgrades are targeted at customers who need to increase the capacity and performance of current systems without incurring the expense of a new library.

The upgrade kits allow customers with an HP SureStore or SureStore E Tape Library to add 20 more slots to their system without removing the existing library from its rack installation.

With all the storage technologies under the same jurisdiction at HP, the company is planning to integrate SAN and NAS more tightly at some point in the future.

"We haven’t laid out the plans, but we are working very closely with our customers to find out what they want," says Mike Matson, general manager of Storage Organization at HP.