HP Shows Off Its Storage Automation Wares

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HP on Monday took the wraps off its long-awaited storage automation software (see Storage and Data Center Automation Begin to Converge).

The new capabilities, a combination of HP’s storage management expertise and technology acquired from Opsware, are part of the new HP Business Service Automation (BSA) portfolio, which combines the company’s data center, client and storage automation offerings. HP Application Storage Automation 1.0 is one of the components of BSA, and is bundled with HP Storage Essentials 6.0 SRM software to form HP’s new Storage Automation solution.

BSA creates a single platform “to automate all IT processes and drive change across applications, servers, networks, storage and clients,” according to HP. The solution provides a central configuration management database (CMDB) for reporting, which “reduces the cost and risk of change while providing comprehensive audit and compliance capabilities.”

BSA is part of the new HP Automated Operations 1.0 product suite that HP said “automates IT operations across all technology and organizational domains.” The full suite includes BSA, IT Service Management and Business Service Management.

At a press event today at HP’s Software Universe in Barcelona, Spain, Ben Horowitz, former Opsware CEO and co-founder and now HP’s vice president and general manager for Business Technology Optimization Products, Software, said HP’s new automation offerings are a “dramatic leap ahead,” offering “comprehensive change management” across IT operations.

BSA incorporates data center automation technologies from the acquisition of Opsware and HP’s client automation and storage automation capabilities. It can automate operations across client, applications, physical and virtual servers, networks, storage and software, according to HP, and can “orchestrate processes across systems and teams with integrated process workflows.” It also records and manages configuration updates and changes to infrastructure and applications.

Products in the BSA solution include HP Server Automation 7.0, HP Network Automation 7.0, HP Operations Orchestration 7.0, HP Service Automation Visualizer 7.0, HP Service Automation Reporter 7.0, HP Live Network 7.0 and HP Application Storage Automation 1.0, which is bundled with HP Storage Essentials 6.0 to form HP’s Storage Automation solution. Storage Essentials 6.0 will also include new data base and cluster support.

BSA can automate triage, troubleshooting, diagnosis and logging of incidents and resolution through integration with the IT Service Management solution, and automate the application of changes to various infrastructure elements and applications in conjunction with HP Service Manager and HP Change Control Manager. It can also automate the resolution of common, repeat incidents to create a fully automated incident management process through integration with HP Business Availability Center.

Bob Laliberte, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, noted one example of storage automation: the HP Storage Essentials provisioning process, which he called “very impressive.”

“It is a single screen with five steps that guide a user through provisioning additional storage,” said Laliberte. “It can reduce provisioning times to just a few minutes and help eliminate errors, as compared to a manual process that may take hours and is more susceptible to errors. … Over a couple of years, having an automated process to provision storage can save a large IT shop weeks of time. It also means storage architects can delegate provisioning tasks to junior IT staff, freeing up their time to work on more strategic initiatives.

“Basically, the future is pretty clear for data center software: manual processes will continue to be automated and once-disparate domains will be interconnected (app, server, storage). This takes time, and this announcement is another step forward on the path to deliver on that vision.”

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO, said storage users need to look carefully when choosing from the growing numbers of automation solutions.

“There are plenty of automated solutions for storage out there in the marketplace; the challenge is how do they work with other technologies or vendors and how well do they scale?” said Schulz. “The key is to look at and understand what automation means and in what context, what tasks or functions are being automated, where and how the automation works across different technologies and vendors, or whether it’s just for a particular technology or vendor.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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