HP Gets 'Extreme' About Storage

There was nothing extreme in the "Extreme Storage" presentation that Hewlett Packard put on in San Francisco Thursday--except for the sheer number of storage products either being revised or introduced. HP officials say they see big storage business opportunities ahead in home, office and enterprise market segments.

There was nothing extreme in the "Extreme Storage" presentation that Hewlett Packard put on in San Francisco Thursday--except for the sheer number of storage products either being revised or introduced.

HP officials say they see big storage business opportunities ahead in home, office and enterprise market segments. Executives cited a Yankee Group study which claims that 75 percent of IT spending after the year 2000 will be on storage.

"HP ships 28 terabytes of storage products every day," Duane Zitzner, President of HP's Computer Products Group, remarked, "and we're still unknown."

That will change, if Zitzner has his way. The company hopes to reap the rewards of consumer interest in digital music and video, while at the same time powering application service providers (ASPs) that provide "Apps on Tap." Zitzner claims that the ASP business alone could be worth $20 billion by the end of 2001. He wouldn't rule out the idea of HP becoming an ASP.

Although most of the 23 products shown today are targeted primarily at the consumer desktop and small/midsize business markets, there were several new product releases of particular interest to resellers:

--the HP SureStore 125ex jukebox, based around 5.2 GB magneto-optical media, provides 50 percent more capacity than the SureStore Optical 80ex model it replaces (24 slots vs. 16) while maintaining an entry price point of $7,990.

--the HP SureStore HD Server 4000 series of network attached storage devices, featuring 15-minute installation, web-based management, RAID 5 data redundancy, and optional integrated tape backup. Pricing begins at $5,000 for a 27 GB model.

HP also spent some time selling the future, providing an abbreviated progress report on its Linear Tape Open (LTO) initiative. Products will be available within 12 months, and HP executives say they believe that the technology will keep tape viable as a storage medium for another ten years.

Also available within a year will be HP's DVD+RW product, which will allow readable, writable DVD media interchangeability between PCs and video players, according to the company. HP has partnered with Sony, Philips and several other manufacturers in the development of this product. A competing re-writable DVD technology, known as DVD-RAM and backed by Panasonic and others, has been in production for a little over a year.

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