RealTime IT News

HP Prices Low For High-end Storage

Hewlett-Packard is using a classic price/performance play to undercut the competition in the storage hardware space: Selling a machine with enterprise-level functionality at an entry-level price.

The systems vendor hopes its new StorageWorks XP10000 Disk Array pays off as part of a strategy to make customers feel like they are getting a bargain by selling them a system at a less expensive rate than competing products with similar degrees of functionality.

HP can use the offering as a gesture of good faith after customers revolted against the company's products this time last year, causing HP's storage sales to plummet 15 percent.

Targeted for midrange to high-end businesses, the XP10000 is essentially the Palo Alto, Calif., company's higher-end XP12000 in terms of functionality, said James Wilson, XP product manager, HP's StorageWorks division.

The XP10000 disk array is designed to provide key features a larger business needs to stay up and running and competitive. Perks include business continuity tools for zero downtime, such as remote replication and disaster recovery solutions.

New virtualization technology in XP10000 lets customers deploy tiered storage applications, such as storage management software or e-mail archiving software, with flexible partitioning to allow them to be altered or provisioned in real time.

But whereas the XP12000 typically scales from 20 to over 300 terabytes and costs from $300,000 to $3 million, Wilson said HP expects to five to 15 terabytes of storage on the XP10000, beginning at $200,000.

The idea is to give large companies that may have stringent budgets a shot at affording machines with enough firepower to handle their data storage needs. Wilson said the move will also help HP stack up against Hitachi Data Systems, EMC and IBM, all of whom have similar offerings.

Putting pressure on rivals through attractive price/performance ratios is nothing new. IBM, Sun and Dell executes similar moves in their server businesses.

But HP has shown signs of late that it is willing to drastically cut the starting costs of its storage gear. Last month, the company cut the starter costs for its Scalable File Share 2.0 system in half in order to help smaller enterprises afford large-scale file sharing utilities.

True to that form, the new XP10000 offering builds on the shift in HP's strategy to get back into contention in the storage gear race.

Customers can scale the XP 10000 from five to 240 disks, with 48 host ports empowering 69 terabytes of capacity. External storage device support enables tiered storage environments that support up to 16 petabytes of total capacity.

The array supports the HP-UX, Windows, Linux, OpenVMS, NonStop, Mainframe, Tru64, AIX and Solaris operating systems.