HP Products Aim to Extend Storage Turnaround

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HP is making its biggest push yet for information lifecycle management (ILM), releasing new data protection and archiving products to continue the company’s storage resurgence.

The news follows a fine third quarter in which HP appears to have turned around its storage and server fortunes. HP hopes to keep its good fortune going with new hardware and software, said Duncan Campbell, vice president in HP’s StorageWorks Division.

Rivals such as EMC, IBM and others have been touting ILM as a cure-all strategy for managing information. HP believes its new products offer as complete a suite as exists on the market today, Campbell said.

At Storage Networking World Europe, HP will unveil ProLiant DL 100 G2 (SATA-based) and HP ProLiant DL 380 G4 (iSCSI-based) Data Protection Storage Servers (DPSS).

Built with the help of Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager, Campbell said the network-attached storage (NAS) machines will protect Windows file servers from software glitches, power failures and intrusions with one touch of a button.

Geared to reduce the risk of data loss by 96 percent, the servers can be configured for small and mid-size businesses as well as for enterprises.

In other data protection news, HP introduced a new virtual tape library (VTL) to its arsenal. The new HP StorageWorks 6480 Virtual Library System (VLS) speeds the backup and recovery of servers in storage area network (SAN) environments by as much as 10 times faster than existing tape solutions. Capacity is also growing from 10 terabytes to 40.

VLS mocks or emulates popular tape drives and libraries at the same time so that more backup tasks can be done.

New archiving software is also a highlight of the launch. Campbell said the StorageWorks File Migration Agent (FMA) adds new migration and archiving perks to provide a base for HP’s ILM play.

Customers can use the FMA application to create information policies for maintaining active files on more expensive, higher-performing storage, shuttling inactive files to lower-cost storage such as tape and NAS.

For archiving database files, Reference Information Messaging (RIM) for Database Archiving reduces the cost of storing data and boosts application performance. Using faster query responses, the tool automates data retention policies in large databases, providing read-only access to smooth the way for audit and legal requests. This technology comes from OuterBay.

Last but not least, HP’s new Electronic Vaulting managed service provides remote data backup at any time and from anywhere after a disaster. Electronic Vaulting will provide backups of several file versions and merge data from several locations to one repository. Infrequently used data may be removed from the vault to tape storage to keep costs down.

Summit Strategies analyst Joe Clabby said the Electronic Vaulting service stands out because it’s not the type of thing the industry has come to expect from a major hardware provider.

HP has been something of a sleeping giant in the storage market the last couple of years. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has the size and resources to dominate the market, but EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM have ruled the roost in the public eye.

Because HP didn’t market its products or drum up ILM as much as itd rivals, storage sales had fallen 15 percent last year at this time.

Campbell said the company was determined to right the ship, and showed signs of breaking out of the slump this past quarter.

“We had a very strong Q3, but we are not running around taking victory laps at this point. The momentum that we built is really paying off,” Campbell said. He also said new CEO Mark Hurd has been a quick study in storage.

It is tempting to believe the new products and third-quarter success can be attributed directly to Hurd. But Clabby isn’t so sure, noting that the foundation for HP’s major storage launches was laid out under ousted CEO Carly Fiorina.

The analyst pointed to an HP event in Las Vegas this past May, in which the company broadened its hardware line, opened new management capabilities and opened the interfaces to their RISS system.

“This new announcement adds more fuel, but I can’t attribute it all to Mark,” Clabby said. “I think a lot of it was underway. Their strategy is where it should be. It’s just a matter of getting the products out.”

Despite this endorsement of Fiorina, Clabby said he has noticed improvements from a year ago, such as a more cohesive hardware plan and compliance solutions.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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