HP promises more manageable storage

New products from Hewlett-Packard let IT managers charge their colleagues for storage use
Written by Peter Judge, Contributor

With the launch of new products intended to allow IT managers to charge their colleagues for use of storage services in their businesses, Hewlett-Packard's storage management strategy is shifting away from the service providers towards users. The company also expressed confidence that it could smoothly integrate Compaq's storage products if the companies merge, creating a credible rival for EMC in this field.

"The acquisition of Compaq will not affect this strategy," said George Bathurst, software marketing manager at HP UK's business customer organisation. "Compaq has nothing in management software." Hewlett-Packard (like its rival Sun) is reselling storage products from Hitachi, while Compaq has been reselling IBM storage systems. Both HP and Compaq use Brocade products for their SAN hardware. Both are trailing EMC.

The main new products are at a higher level, as part of HP's OpenView management strategy. Storage Accountant handles charge-back and cost recovery, and exports data to billing systems so IT managers can charge other departments for storage per gigabyte per hour. Although storage service providers are also potential customers, HP admitted that demand from that sector would not be as high as projected last year.

"Demand for SSP services has fallen below expectations," said Bathurst. However, even organisations which are not outsourcing their storage are under pressure to account for it. "This option has not been taken within organisations because it has been too difficult," he said.

The other new product, Storage Allocater v2, adds Windows 2000 support to an existing product that offers virtualised access control between hosts and storage.

HP will merge in more technology with OpenView for storage management, said Bathurst, including storage virtualisation technology from recent purchase Trinagy. This, along with a makeover of the underlying parts of OpenView using technology from Riversoft, will work underneath today's launches, said Bathurst.

HP also extended its basic storage component range with an expanded SureStore tape library, supporting ten drives and 100 slots, as well as a 181GB fibre channel disk drive.

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