HP joins storage fray

HP's storage business has been a well-kept secret up till now, says Charlie Trentacosti, head of HP's Asia-Pacific network storage solutions operations.

HP’s storage business has been a well-kept secret up till now, says Charlie Trentacosti, head of HP’s Asia-Pacific network storage solutions operations.

As the storage market has moved from servers to network-attached appliances and storage area networks, relative upstarts EMC and Network Appliances have grabbed all the headlines – and a lot of the sales in high-growth areas such as online storage for websites and internet service providers. With Yahoo alone buying 1TB of storage a week, it’s not a market to miss out on.

Now HP is fighting back with its federated storage area management (FSAM) initiative. The company’s initial FSAM line-up consists of three products: an HP storage area network (SAN) appliance, the HP Surestore Virtual Array 7100 and a new storage area manager component to HP’s OpenView Windows-based network management software.

Asked to differentiate his product from competitors, Trentacosti says FSAM is a completely open solution with public application program interfaces (APIs), and able to work with any operating system, software or storage media, whereas EMC has proprietary elements. He also says FSAM is able to mesh both LAN and SAN management through a single OpenView interface and has greater scalability because of its modular approach.

The Surestore Virtual Array 7100 is a RAID 5 DP (double parity) hot-swappable device which promises 99.5% uptime. Fifteen disks per enclosure promise a terabyte of storage per square foot of rack. HP will add fibre channel support for direct attachment to SANs in the future (Trentacosti says it will take until 2003 for the full suite of FSAM products to be released.)

The HP OpenView Storage Area Manager is a set of Windows-based management software and includes HP OpenView Storage Node Manager, Storage Allocater, Storage Optimiser and Storage Builder. It is built into the network storage appliance and works with server-attached, network-attached or direct-attached storage.

The software allows capacity management and utilisation monitoring across multiple operating systems, performance management, security management and resource pooling, as well as serverless and LAN-free backup. It works by discovering storage devices on the network and monitoring their health.

Trentacosti says the Network Storage Appliance’s key feature is that it can work across different media (from storage arrays to tape libraries) and servers and (NT/2000, Solaris and HP-Unix), making it faster and easier to create a SAN. Servers and storage media are connected through a fibre channel switch. The appliance itself runs on an embedded version of Windows 2000 and supports Active Directory.

Trentacosti also promises that the storage appliance will be able to support coming IP storage protocols.

Trentacosti says a server-centric storage solution will allow one administrator to manage around 800GB of data; with the new FSAM line-up, that figure can be increased to 100TB – just the ticket for a service provider looking to cut staff in these dot-bomb times.

Keall, the editor of PC World, travelled to Singapore courtesy of HP.

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