HP Cuts Software Price, Adds VAR Service Opportunities For EVA Arrays

At the same time, the company has started training and certifying its solution providers on EVA installation and startup services.

The moves are big steps for HP, said Kush Hathi, president of SoftNet Solutions, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based HP partner. "It's making it easier for us to sell EVAs," he said.

HP introduced version 1.1 of of its controller-based Continuous Access EVA software, which now allows data to be replicated between EVA5000 and EVA3000 arrays, said David Fitch, head of EVA product marketing at Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP. The application also allows asynchronous replication using EVA arrays for increased performance and doubles the capacity that can be replicated between one or more remote sites, Fitch said.

As a result of the changes, all EVAs now use the same set of software and management tools, which will help ease customer training, he said.

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Also new is the company's OpenView Storage Operations Manager software, a set of tools for centralized organization, configuration, visualization, monitoring and provisioning of EVAs, tape, NAS, direct-attached storage and other devices from a single management console.

Other software and services changes now make the EVA more affordable, Fitch said.

The arrays now come with 24x7, four-hour response time for service requests instead of the next-day service they came with before, he said.

In the future, some of the software sold by HP for the EVA3000 and EVA5000 arrays, including the Virtual Controller Software (VCS) and the new OpenView Storage Operations Manager, will be priced according to array capacity, Fitch said.

That means prices for entry-level configurations of the arrays will be considerably lower than they were under the previous fixed-price model, he said. "This allows us to offer entry-level pricing for all arrays," Fitch said. "It lets customers start out with a small configuration and an inexpensive total solution. Then as they add disk drives and drive shells, they can add more software." Also, installation and startup services are now included in the EVA arrays' base prices.

All told, the net price of a typical EVA3000 configuration in an HP-UX environment, including hardware, software, installation, startup and support, will drop about 17 percent. For a typical EVA5000 2C12D configuration, the drop in price will be about 8 percent, Fitch said.

A small number of solution providers are currently being trained and certified in EVA services, and the certification program will be expanded to more partners in the future.

Currently, 53 North American solution providers are authorized to provide services for some part of the EVA Service Solution Portfolio. The channel partners responsible for more than 75 percent of EVA delivery in the United States are certified to provide HP installation and startup, Fitch said.

Meanwhile, basing software costs on array capacity is a big plus for customers, Hathi said. That pricing model, combined with bundled support options, means "customers are getting more for less," he said. "From a reseller's point of view, I like it. It will make the EVA more aggressive in the market."

The fact that data can be replicated between the EVA5000 and EVA3000 is also important, Hathi said. "Any time you can replicate from a high-cost array to a low-cost array is good," he said.

Given all the changes that HP is introducing, it's now realistic to deploy a customer's enterprise-class SAN for less than $100,000, Hathi said. "Customers who are looking at using older equipment to cut costs don't need to go with refurbished products," he said.

Next on Hathi's wish list: HP opens up to partners its break-fix services on EVA arrays. "The EVAs automatically carry a three-year warranty," he said. "Break-fix services would make me happy."