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RealTime IT News

HP Tweaks Storage, Servers for Adaptive Work

HP introduced new software and hardware Wednesday, a move designed to bring more "adaptive" qualities to data centers and grid computing.

Fresh from its $1.5 billion outsourcing deal with British Telecom, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker also announced three new customer wins based on its "Adaptive Enterprise" utility computing platform.

To help foster business in even more server rooms, HP is investing in four key areas out of its $4 billion R&D budget. With the help of Intel, HP is introducing a new dual processor module, called "mx2," which features two industry-standard Intel Itanium 2 processors on a "single" module that can plug into existing systems.

The company is also launching its HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS) -- a high-performance data management software based on the company's own "storage grid" architecture. From its services division, HP is also throwing out a handful of new service packages designed for mission critical NonStop servers as well as an expansion of its Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) services portfolio. The company is presenting its offerings as part of its user conference in Munich, Germany this week.

HP has been keeping the heat on its rivals IBM, EMC, and Sun Microsystems with a bevy of deals and new offerings for the enterprise. In the past two weeks, HP has revamped its server and storage lineups in order to combine its HP Services and HP Enterprise Systems Group (ESG) into a new HP Technology Solutions Group (TSG).

HP said it has expanded its relationship with three current customers such as auto parts manufacturer Gates Corporation (no relationship to Microsoft's chairman) which signed up for a pay-per-use contract; Amadeus, which provides IT for the travel and tourism industry; and Ford Motor Company , which inked a hardware, software and printing deal for its offices in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Based in part on HP's recent acquisition of Persist Technologies, the company's RISS platform is part of its ILM offerings. The open standards services and architecture is pre-integrated with partner technologies and is debuting with active archiving and rapid retrieval of e-mail including offloading Microsoft Exchange The company said other common data types should follow in the next 12 months.

The average company employee has about 76 e-mails per day. Multiply that by the number of employees at your company and that number gets pretty high," Mark Hudson, vice president of marketing for the HP Enterprise Storage and Servers group, told internetnews.com. "RISS has the ability to digitally sign it, time stamp it and log it in a grid fashion. So when you look at what EMC has done with its Centera platform, theirs is not complete and relies on more third-party solutions."

As part of its broader ILM-related services, HP brought its Business Requirements Analysis online. The platform includes an assessment of data policies; education on electronic record archiving requirements and regulatory compliance with data collection rules under the federal Sarbanes-Oxley mandate; and a review of policy documents and other documentation.

The company is also launching its Electronic Vaulting Services platform. The combination of HP StorageWorks hardware/software/services includes design, installation and management services for disk-to-disk backup at a customer site and/or a HP host site as well as other data protection procedures.

HP is asking its local partners to step up to win over new vertical industries. The company has called on ADIC for rich media; CaminoSoft, Grau Data Storage and Pegasus Disk Technologies for hierarchal storage management; Orchestria for e-mail policy management and Princeton Softech for enterprise resource planning and database archiving.

Also in the services realm, HP said it has revised its HP NonStop services portfolio to now include a "Mission Critical" support for the servers. The package includes dedicated senior support team and a customized service-level agreement. HP is also offering its HP Critical Service, HP Proactive 24 Service, and HP Support Plus 24 to help keep things running. The company said each of the new packages includes support agreements courtesy of its HP Instant Support Enterprise Edition (ISEE) - remote support over a secure Internet connection with robust troubleshooting and repair capabilities via predefined scripts.

HP has also beefed up its Itanium-based hardware lineups. The company debuted its new dual processor module, called "mx2." The hardware made up of Itanium "Madison" cores with 6Mgs of L2 cache allows support for up to 128 processors. That is twice the number of Itanium 2 processors than earlier versions, which were limited to HP's PA-RISC systems.

HP said the board configurations are also upgradeable to current Integrity architectures.

"That is good for our consolidation message," Hudson commented. "Itanium is going to benefit too as it is close to having 2,500 applications ported so far."

HP is also taking advantage of its relationship with Intel to launch an aggressive price war focused on the HP Integrity running Itanium chips starting in May and running through September.