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HP Spruces Storage Portfolio

HP bolstered its storage hardware and software portfolio Tuesday with new products and upgrades that make the management of multi-vendor storage easier.

Following the trend toward creating interoperability among disparate storage products, Palo Alto, Calif.'s HP said its new and refreshed storage management software, tape, network storage and disk arrays are tuned to ENSAextended, the firm's play to help customers anticipate and adapt to changing business climates with the infrastructure they purchase.

In its storage management software portfolio, HP bolstered OpenView Storage Provisioner, with which IT departments can establish multiple storage offerings based on service levels; Continuous Access Storage Appliance, which with its data migration and replication increases productivity by enabling more online recovery of data and scalability; and HP OpenView Storage Media Operations, which automates removable storage media tracking and enforces policies to increase data availability and maximize the effectiveness of media operations. The company also unveiled its roadmap for driving industry-standard storage management via the Storage Networking Industry Association's emerging Storage Management Interface Specification.

HP Tuesday released the HP StorageWorks Ultrium 460 tape drive, which is geared for enterprise-class data protection needs. Fully read- and write-compatible with previous generations, the Ultrium 460 delivers a compressed capacity of 400 GB on a single cartridge and a transfer rate of 60 MB/sec. HP also announced the HP Ultrium 400 GB data cartridge, which decreases network interruption by protecting nearly 216 GB per hour of data and storing up to 400 GB on one piece of media.

Networked storage is in major demand by IT enterprises, and heterogeneous products for this niche are key. HP's upgraded StorageWorks NAS 8000, which is best suited for file-sharing and attaches to Ethernet networks, now supports StorageWorks Enterprise Modular Arrays (EMA) in a SAN configuration and includes Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) for interoperability with major backup software. The StorageWorks Fabric Manager v3.0.2 management station software assists SAN administrators with configuration, monitoring and dynamic provisioning of multiple switches and up to eight multiple fabrics in real time.

HP OpenView Storage Management Appliance is an appliance-based monitoring and management interface for the open SAN that enables authorized users to organize, configure, visualize, monitor and provision via the Web.

To be sure, HP competitors have all released storage management products promising heterogeneity of some form or another, so as not to be deprived of a piece of the storage network pie, which many analysts have said will consist of a multi-billion-dollar crust over the next five years. Firms have been sharing application programming interfaces (APIs) and working on such standards as Bluefin to promote the interoperability that IT managers and CIOs crave.

Bob Schultz, vice president marketing, HP Network Storage Solutions, echoed what rivals EMC, Dell, IBM and Hitachi have been saying about the call for heterogeneous storage management: "Customers are clear about their storage needs: they need to manage burgeoning, heterogeneous systems through the most cost-efficient and powerful means possible."

HP unveiled several hardware and software enhancements to its array line as well. The HP StorageWorks Application Policy Manager XP v3.0 adds logical device (LDEV)-level policy assignments capability when used with the HP StorageWorks Disk Array xp1024 and xp128, allowing customers to assign policies to specific array LDEVs to more precisely align performance resources with host applications. HP StorageWorks Command View XP, which provides Web-based management for HP's disk arrays, now includes support for OpenView Storage Area Manager 3.0 host agent deployment and StorageWorks Data Integrity Check for Oracle databases, as well as e-copy function from within the Command View XP interface.

Lastly, HP upgraded its family of multi-pathing software products. The StorageWorks Secure Path provides high availability through continuous data access from StorageWorks RAID arrays to host servers running Windows 2000, Windows NT, Sun Solaris, Novell NetWare, IBM AIX, and HP-UX operating systems.