HP/COMPAQ: HP details storage road map

The road map for storage was glossed over in Hewlett-Packard's presentation of its plans for the converged product lines of the new company yesterday, but it represents perhaps the smartest and most doable plan for storage the company could have come up with.

In the plan, according to documents obtained regarding the consolidation of storage, HP's high-end xp Series storage family, represented by the xp128 through xp1024 that it OEMs from Hitachi Data Systems, will prevail. Compaq Computer has not had a high-end offering since a botched deal with IBM for the Enterprise Storage System (known as Shark).

In the mid-range storage arena, Compaq's StorageWorks arrays will be sold to customers over HP's line of storage, which will be phased out. The Compaq Enterprise Virtual Array will stay, as will Compaq's storage virtualisation strategy called VersaStor. Recently, it has been rumoured that HP's acquisition of start-up StorageApps, a storage virtualisation vendor, was in the weeds. Of that acquisition, the HP SANlink appliance will remain. The new company will also continue work started with Compaq on a host-based, out-of-band virtualisation appliance.

For management, HP rightfully is retaining HP OpenView and blending in parts of Compaq's resource management software, the SANworks Storage Resource Manager.

The new HP will continue its relationship with Hitachi for the xp Series storage arrays; it is not known if the Compaq side of the house will continue its partnership with now foe EMC to exchange APIs intended to foster open storage interoperability. Compaq, formerly No. 2 in external RAID arrays according to IDC, will in combination with HP, be a formidable storage competitor to EMC.

The "proof-is-in the pudding, the execution of the company's plan," says Jamie Gruener, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group. But, according to Gruener, it represents a plan that customers can live with and HP will not have trouble executing.

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