HP, Brocade ally on storage virtualization

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Brocade Communications Systems will together develop products that use HP's VersaStor virtualization technology to make it easier to manage SANs (storage area networks), HP said Monday.

The companies have reached a development agreement to combine HP's VersaStor technology with switches from Brocade's SilkWorm product family, HP executives said at the company's ENSA@Work storage event. Brocade sells switches that connect servers and storage devices in SANs.

HP VersaStor in combination with the company's OpenView CASA (continuous access storage appliance) software and Brocade's switches will allow network traffic to be intelligently directed according to a user's needs, according to HP.

This will appeal to enterprise users with a hodgepodge of software and hardware installations, Howard Elias, general manager of HP's Network Storage Solutions unit said in an interview.

Customers who have SAP AG's enterprise management software running on one version of Unix, Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server on Windows and data warehousing software on yet another server, for example, "can connect all of this together to maximize the use of all of those resources," Elias said.

"The advantages really only occur when you have a lot of assets of servers and storage to bring together," he said.

VersaStor is currently being tested and so is the Brocade intelligent switching platform. Initial units of the system should be available for delivery by mid-2003 with general availability in the second half of the year, according to Elias.

HP is also working on a deal with networking gear maker Cisco Systems, Elias said.

"A similar announcement as we see today with Brocade may be coming with Cisco. The work is ongoing on having Cisco potentially be a platform we can implement VersaStor on," he said.

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