Hewlett-Packard is showing its commitment to its EVA line of storage arrays with a significant upgrade and a new naming convention, much to the delight of solution providers who say the line is doing quite well despite its age and HP's more recent storage acquisitions.
HP next month plans to unveil details about the upcoming fifth generation of its EVA storage line, but Tom Joyce, vice president of marketing for HP StorageWorks, this week offered a peek at what can be expected.
HP will introduce new EVA models with increased performance and capacity management efficiency, Joyce said.
The company will also add thin provisioning, as well as the ability to work with 6-Gbps SAS and 8-Gbps Fibre Channel drives, he said.
The company is also changing the naming convention for its EVA line, which was first introduced in 2001. The new version is the HP P6000 EVA. The "P" in HP's storage array names signifies a SAN device, and is consistent with the naming of new products from HP's 3Par and LeftHand product offerings, Joyce said.
HP in September acquired 3PAR, a developer of enterprise-class storage arrays featuring such services as clustering, tiered storage, and thin provisioning, which allow applications to be configured with more storage capacity than is physically available.
HP in late 2008 acquired LeftHand Networks, a developer of virtual iSCSI storage appliances.
Joyce declined to be more specific on details about the P6000, saying that he preferred to wait for the HP Discover event taking place early next month.
He also said that HP will have another significant release in its EVA platform in the next 12 months or so, but that he cannot say too much at this time. "Orders from high-up," he said.
Having the EVA, 3Par, and LeftHand storage products is important to HP, which is looking to increase its storage market share beyond the 11 percent it currently has, Joyce said.
"Over the last six to eight months, we've been saying we don't like our market share position," he said. "We've been putting a lot of dollars into growing the EVA business, especially in other parts of the world. A lot of people look at HP, see we bought new product lines, and think we're not looking at our original products. But this is a big world."
HP solution providers said that, in contrast to several reports over the past year, the EVA line is doing quite well, but true growth in their HP storage business is coming from that vendor's other lines.
"If it's a happy EVA customer, we keep them on EVA," said one HP partner who requested anonymity. "If the customer's not happy, we have them look at 3Par."
AdvizeX Technologies' EVA business is still very strong, and EVAs sold better than EMC's Clariion line, said Fred Traversi, president and CEO of the Concord, Ohio-based solution provider and partner to both HP and EMC.
When 3Par and LeftHand were acquired, the initial view among customers was that the EVA would go away, but HP has done a good job of differentiating the lines and assuring customers that EVA will be around for the future, Traversi said.
"That message resonates with customers," he said. "At the high-end, customers can migrate to 3PAR. But they can also continue with EVA."
AdvizeX has opened four or five significant new deals for EVA in the past quarter, Traversi said. "For data storage intensive architectures, EVA is still a good solution for customers who don't need the enterprise capabilities of an EMC Symmetrix," he said.
NEXT: The Right Storage For The Job
When HP first acquired 3Par, it took some time to understand it and how it is differentiated from HP's traditional EVA and enterprise-class XP lines, said Steve Tepidino, president of Melillo Consulting, a Somerset, N.J.-based solution provider and HP partner.
"We found it's really neat technology," Tepidino said. "Our experience is, we love it. We've closed a lot of deals we wouldn't have closed before."
Melillo is using the 3Par technology for customers looking to consolidate their storage infrastructures, a capability Tepidino said that HP did not really have in the past. However, he said, he is finding strong demand for the EVA technology in customers who have been using it. "We're glad to see HP is still offering the EVA," he said. "There are still a lot of EVA customers out there."
Sequel Data Systems is quoting about 10 LeftHand or 3Par deals for every EVA deal, and has in the last two months signed three big LeftHand deals of 300 TBs to 400 TBs each, said Chris Case, president of the Austin, Texas-based solution provider and HP partner.
EVA arrays have proved a tough sell in new accounts because of many customers' requirements for iSCSI connectivity, an area which Case said is a weakness for the EVA platform compared to HP's LeftHand or Dell's EqualLogic products.
While legacy EVA customers are still regularly purchasing that platform, Sequel Data is finding new wins for EVA with customers looking to implement virtual desktop infrastructures where Fibre Channel is still the preferred connectivity solution, Case said.
"The solution we provide for VDI includes EVA," he said. "Our engineers prefer Fibre Channel solutions for VDI because it's easy to provide bit-for-bit synchronized replication over IP networks," he said.