HP in All-In-One Storage Sprint

HP is pushing for more market share in the burgeoning information lifecycle management (ILM) sector with a freshly integrated stack of data protection and archiving products.

During the Storage Networking World Europe conference this week, HP is slated to unveil ProLiant DL 100 G2 (SATA-based) and HP ProLiant DL 380 G4 (iSCSI-based) Data Protection Storage Servers (DPSSs).

Built with the help of Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager product, the network-attached storage (NAS) machines are geared to protect Windows file servers from software glitches, power failures and intrusions with one touch of a button, said Duncan Campbell, vice president in HP’s StorageWorks Division.

The server system claims to reduce the risk of data loss by 96 percent and can be configured for small and mid-size businesses as well as for enterprises, he added.

The latest product release follows a solid third quarter in which HP’s revenues jumped by 10 percent, driven largely by a 20 percent surge in notebook, server and storage sales.

The latest release is a signal that HP is hungry to build on those gains with its latest hardware, software combo geared for the ILM sector

Rivals such as EMC, IBM and others have been touting ILM as a be all, end all strategy to managing information. HP believes its new products offer as complete a suite as exists on the market today, said Campbell.

In a related development, HP introduced a new virtual tape library to its arsenal. The new HP StorageWorks 6480 Virtual Library System (VLS) speeds the backup and recovery of servers in storage area network (SAN) environments by as much as 10 times faster than existing tape solutions. Capacity is also growing from 10 terabytes to 40.

VLS mocks or emulates popular tape drives and libraries at the same time, so that more backup tasks can be done.

New archiving software is also a highlight of the launch. Campbell said the StorageWorks File Migration Agent (FMA) adds new migration and archiving perks to provide a base for HP’s ILM play.

Customers can use the FMA application to create information policies for maintaining active files on more expensive, higher-performing storage, shuttling inactive files to lower cost storage such as tape and NAS.

For archiving database files, Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Database Archiving reduces the cost of storing data and boosts application performance. Using faster query responses, the tool automates data retention policies in large databases, providing read-only access to smooth the way for audit and legal requests. This technology comes from OuterBay.

Last but hardly least, HP’s new Electronic Vaulting managed service provides remote data backup at any time and from anywhere after a disaster. Electronic Vaulting will provide backups of several file versions and merge data from several locations to one repository. Infrequently used data may be removed from the vault to tape storage to keep costs down.

Summit Strategies analyst Joe Clabby said the Electronic Vaulting service stands out because it’s not the type of thing the industry has come to expect from a major hardware provider.

HP has been something of a sleeping giant in the storage market the last couple years. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has the size and resources to dominate the market, but EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM garner more press and coverage.

This was so for a couple of reasons. For one, HP didn’t market its products or drum up ILM as much as the others. For another (and this is no doubt related to reason one), storage sales had fallen 15 percent last year at this time.

Campbell said the company was determined to right the ship and showed signs of breaking out of the slump this past quarter.

“We had a very strong Q3, but we are not running around taking victory laps at this point. The momentum that we built is really paying off,” Campbell said. He also said new CEO Mark Hurd has been a quick study regarding storage.

It is tempting to believe the new products and third-quarter success go directly back to Hurd. But Clabby isn’t so sure, noting that the foundation for HP’s major storage launches was laid out under the ousted Carly Fiorina.

The analyst pointed to an HP event in Las Vegas this past May, in which the company broadened its hardware line, opened new management capabilities and opened the interfaces to their RISS system.

“This new announcement adds more fuel, but I can’t attribute it all to Mark,” Clabby said. “I think a lot of it was underway. Their strategy is where it should be. It’s just a matter of getting the products out.”

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