HP Preps New Data Life-Cycle Offerings


The vendor this week plans to unveil several new additions and enhancements to its information life-cycle management (ILM) product line in order to help customers more efficiently manage the protection and long-term archiving of their data, said Frank Harbist, vice president of HP’s storage software and ILM products.

HP expects to roll out the products to the channel during the next three months. Pricing is not yet available.

Among the new products is HP StorageWorks Continuous Information Capture Solution, the company’s first continuous data-protection (CDP) software. The product is based on technology from Mendocino Software, Fremont, Calif., with which HP has an OEM pact.

Continuous Information Capture instantly backs up any change to data, enabling customers to roll back a file to any point in time if that file becomes corrupted or accidentally changed. HP rival EMC also resells the Mendocino application under an OEM pact.

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Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation, a San Diego-based solution provider, said CDP software such as Continuous Information Capture is becoming a must-have for many of his customers.

“Today, most clients really have a need, if their systems go down, to get back up quickly without losing data,” he said.

Another HP solution provider said he is glad to see HP finally jump into the CDP space using the Mendocino software, but wonders why HP doesn’t acquire Mendocino.

“HP is always OEMing others’ products, but not buying the technology,” he said. “So the company acts like an integrator. I can do the same thing as them, only cheaper.”

Baldwin agreed that HP could keep ahead of the technology curve by acquiring Mendocino and other vendors such as San Francisco-based Riverbed Technology, from whom it OEMs wide-area file services (WAFS) technology .

Acquisitions such as those would be part of a pattern at HP, Baldwin said. HP has in the past tested technologies through OEM deals before acquiring storage resource management vendor AppIQ, IT assessment management and tracking vendor Peregrine Systems, and enterprise file-archiving software vendor OuterBay, he said.

“Mendocino and Riverbed are both acquisition candidates,” he said. “I think HP will buy more of these companies. ”

HP is also enhancing several products in its Reference Information Storage System (RISS), an array that used to archive data over extended periods for compliance/regulatory purposes. The first new product resulting from HP’s February acquisition of OuterBay is the latest edition of HP’s Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Databases.

RIM for Databases 2.0 now uses HP’s OuterBay technology to automatically migrate and convert tables in an operational database into an open XML format, which can be archived to RISS or onto WORM (write once, read many) tape. In this way, the data can be accessed even if the original application that created it is obsolete.

HP is also releasing RIM for Files, an application that continuously captures files from Windows-based file servers and PCs for archiving to RISS.This application features block single instancing, which eliminates duplicate blocks of data within multiple copies of a file in order to cut the amount of storage capacity required, said Harbist.

Another new offering is version 6.0 of OpenView Storage Data Protector software for automated data backup and recovery. New with version 6.0 is virtual full backups, also known as synthetic backups.

Once a complete data set is backed up once, subsequent backups are done only to incremental changes. Data Protector 6.0 also automates the backup and recovery of Microsoft Exchange and SQL applications and databases for instant recovery in the case of a system failure.

Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based solution provider, said capabilities such as virtual full backups and automated Exchange and SQL recovery put HP’s Data Protector 6.0 ahead of rival applications from Symantec/Veritas that cost more.

“HP will be one of the first with virtual full backups,” Wolfston said.

For solution providers that primarily work with HP, the introduction of the new ILM technology means an opportunity to take it to a customer base that has yet to be exposed to it, said Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems of Austin, Texas.

“We have not offered CDP technology before, because it was still too new,” Case said.