HP to Raise Storage Grid Profile


After a miserable quarter that saw its storage revenues plummet 15 percent, HP is looking to get back on the horse and reclaim some of its lost market share.

The Palo Alto, Calif. company next week will prop up StorageWorks Grid, technology it introduced back in May to fuel its information lifecycle management strategy.

Company executives, including CEO Carly Fiorina, will host a conference call discussing the technology Tuesday.

The idea behind StorageWorks Grid is to have a number of commodity storage "cells" or compartments, which can take on different identities, such as network-attached storage, block or content-addressed storage. The cells are self-contained, with a dedicated processor, search engine, database, index and management layer. The Grid runs on standard storage arrays.

Nancy Hurley, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst, said there are a few unique features that make this different than anything else available, including the fact that each cell can communicate with the other, share input and output, load balance and parallel process queries.

"These cells are dynamic; you can load and unload personalities on an on-demand basis," Hurley told internetnews.com. "If I need more block capacity (or processing), I can reassign an under-used NAS block. The intelligent communications grid will take care of all of the provisioning and adjustment to the file system, etc."

While having more "intelligent" systems is the goal of most IT companies looking to tempt customers with their wares, such breakthrough intelligence has been slow to reach fruition in the real-world market.

IBM, for one, is prepping a similar technology called Intelligent Storage Bricks, code-named Ice Cube. Several years in the making, the project is taking the supercomputing approach and applying it to a hybrid server/storage system, which is essentially a block of hardware containers made up of several cubes.

The cubes, independent computing servers or storage servers that perform virtualization tasks independently, comprise an entire data center. The machine is perhaps three years or more from seeing the light of day and is intended as the company's replacement for its TotalStorage Shark Enterprise Storage Servers.

Hurley said that HP and IBM are the only companies that have the labs to perform such innovative research. But the fact that HP has something tangible gives it a leg up.

"It truly is a revolutionary new approach for them," said Hurley, who expects there will be storage grid advancements soon. "If they can execute, it will definitely change how storage is implemented."

HP's StorageWorks Grid forms the basis of the company's Reference Information Storage System (RISS), which stores and archives information, so it can be found and retrieved quickly.

RISS, which includes assets from HP's acquisition of Persist Technologies, is part of the company's information lifecycle management strategy for managing information from "cradle to grave."

More broadly, StorageWorks Grid RISS and ILM are all core pieces of the company's overarching Adaptive Enterprise strategy for aligning the proper measure of IT service levels with business needs.

HP's Adaptive Enterprise goes head-to-head with IBM's on-demand computing foray.


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