RealTime IT News

HP Bumps Up Pacts with Microsoft, Brocade

One week after previewing of what it would be unveiling at the HP ENSA@Work storage networking show, HP also reported from the Amsterdam conference it was expanding its partnerships with Microsoft and Brocade Communications Systems.

With Microsoft, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based systems vendor said it would aim to boost each other's presence in the $1.8 billion network-attached storage market (NAS) market.

The firms teamed to create HP StorageWorks and Windows-powered NAS products, which include file and data servers based on Windows as part of a storage and server consolidation strategy to businesses. Advanced features include snapshot and advanced storage management, full integration with the Active Directory service, combined with low per-gigabyte storage cost, simple network plug-and-play deployment, clustering and replication support.

To highlight their bolstered partnership, the firms will hit the road together for a 10-city roadshow in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington. HP hopes the exposure will help shed light on its adaptive infrastructure for customers.

Enterprise Storage Group Founder Steve Duplessie said the pact will strengthen both firms' position in the enterprise, while Microsoft said the reworked deal "opens up significant revenue opportunities for Microsoft and HP."

"Microsoft gets a big partner to continue moving its NAS operating system into the data center," Duplessie said. "HP enhances its relationship with the fastest growing NAS player on top of its SAN business. In both cases, the ultimate customer gets better solutions."

HP and Microsoft, which have worked in storage together since July 2000, will conduct joint sales and marketing activities, including sales training and technical seminars.

In its expanded pact with San Jose's Brocade, HP will serve up its VersaStor virtualization technology within the new Brocade SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform to produce better scalability and performance in heterogeneous storage environments. Brocade created the platform courtesy of technology it acquired when it bought Rhapsody Networks last November.

The agreement falls under HP's ENSAextended strategy for the future of networked enterprise storage, which is to help customers manage storage environments based on adaptive storage infrastructures that are controllable and extensible. The deal will help its HP OpenView continuous access storage appliance (CASA) allow network traffic to be directed as required by the customers' storage needs. CASA will also now integrate with HP and Brocade SAN fabrics and HP OpenView storage area management (SAM) software.

John Webster, senior analyst and founder, Data Mobility Group, approved the bid by HP and Brocade to make storage management easier for their customers.

"The increased partnership level announced between HP and Brocade, the first of its kind to embrace the Rhapsody platform for storage virtualization and management, represents a major step forward in the evolution of the industry toward delivering solutions that address this key customer requirement," Webster said.

The intelligent switch product is expected to ship with HP VersaStor technology in the second half of 2003.