HP does math on storage equation

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday bolstered its storage area network (SAN) offerings, focusing on the importance of scalability, flexibility, and availability, while introducing a new line SAN-related products centered around what the company is calling its Equation Architecture.

The foundation behind HP's Equation Architecture will be a suite of hardware and software products sold under the HP SureStore E brand name. The first major offering under the new brand is a storage subsystem that will sit at the heart of HP's SAN, the HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256.

The disk array is the initial product to come out of a three-year OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreement HP has reached with Hitachi Data Systems under which the companies will jointly engineer and sell SAN solutions. The MC256 can scale from 60G bytes to 9T bytes per storage subsystem, and can be partitioned to support a variety of operating systems, including multivendor Unix systems, Windows NT, MPE, and mainframe environments.

Management for the storage solution -- which Bob McGraw, market development and marcom manager, pointed to as one of the key factors inhibiting wide-spread SAN acceptance today -- will be provided by HP SureStore E Node Manager, which is based on HP's OpenView Network Node Manager technology. Node Manager is capable of managing numerous storage devices from multiple vendors, including tape drives, hubs, and switches, and can be launched as a process in most major system management frameworks.

According to McGraw, HP's capability to work across a variety of vendors and platforms is a necessity for such a solution.

"In many SANs, they can only connect a single company's storage across a network," McGraw said. "This is an entire system, not just an island, so we are committed to an open SAN strategy."

The SureStore E Disk Array MC256 and complementary suite of software products are available immediately, with pricing for the solution starting at $US245,000.

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