HP Takes On EMC, Dell In Major Storage Expansion

This month will mark the arrival of a new entry-level EVA bundle and a significant bump in EVA performance and capacity next month, according to channel sources and confirmed by Mark Gonzalez, Americas vice president for enterprise storage and server sales at HP, Palo Alto, Calif.

HP this month plans to increase EVA performance and capacity with new 300-Gbyte, 10,000-rpm Fibre Channel drives, as well as fast 15,000-rpm, 146-Gbyte drives, channel sources and Gonzalez said.

By next summer, HP plans to boost EVA capacity to up to 240 Tbytes and give it the ability to work natively with host bus adapters (HBAs) from IBM, Sun Microsystems and other major server vendors. Gonzalez confirmed the native HBA support, and said by next summer the EVA will support "hundreds of Tbytes."

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based HP solution providerpartner, said it makes sense for the EVA to go to hundreds of terabytes in capacity. "Not bad, right? A quarter [of a] petabyte in a modular array," he said.

Sponsored post

The enhanced HBA support is also important in multivendor server environments as vendors move toward supporting more generic HBAs, Baldwin said. HP this month also will unveil the EVA 3000 Starter Kit, aimed at competing with EMC's CX300, which is sold mostly by Dell. The Starter Kit includes the array, an entry-level Fibre Channel switch and licenses for Business Copy software, which allows data clones and snapshots for business continuity purposes.

While not providing exact pricing, Gonzalez said the bundle will be priced aggressively. HP is positioning it at the upper end of the CX300 market, with the MSA1500 bracketing the CX300 at the lower end. The new EVA products should compete strongly with Clariion, said Geoffrey Lilien, president of Lilien Systems, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based HP partner. "It fills in the spot between the MSA and EVA now occupied by EMC," he said.

Solution providers and Gonzalez said the EVA road map counters industry reports that HP may be looking to replace EVA with midrange arrays OEMed from LSI Logic or HDS. Gonzalez said such rumors began when HP started looking at various competitors' products to understand what is coming.

Also coming next month is a major upgrade to HP's XP series of arrays, said channel and vendor sources. HP OEMs the XP arrays from Hitachi Data Systems, which markets it under the Lightning brand. HDS plans to unveil its Lightning 3 array next month, the sources said.

The Lightning 3, which is expected to be resold by Sun Microsystems and OEMed by HP, is expected to have increased capacity of up to 1,152 hard drives, with random cache reads of 1.8 million IOs per second and cache sequential reads of up to 6 Gbytes per second.

Gonzalez would only say that a boost in the enterprise storage side is coming. "You remember the original 'Crocodile Dundee' movie where he gets accosted by a guy who pulls out a knife?" he said. "Crocodile Dundee reaches behind, pulls out his big knife, and says, 'You call that a knife? This is a knife.' That's what we will do."

HP may also be shopping for a new tape library from StorageTek, its main supplier before HP acquired Compaq.

Channel sources also said that HP plans to OEM or resell the SL500 midrange tape library from StorageTek, which would bring that vendor back into HP's good graces after the divorce caused by HP's acquisition of Compaq. Gonzalez would not confirm or deny the move. However, he said, "It's not like the EVA rumor."

Coming versions of the EVA series, combined with the recently released MSA1500 storage array, will be key to grabbing market share back from EMC's Clariion line, solution providers said.

"There's no comparison between the Clariion and the EVA," said Don Richie, CEO of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based HP partner. "The EVA has much higher technology. Now that HP has filled in the gaps, I believe HP will surge ahead."

HP needs to do something. A recent Merrill Lynch report shows that HP's midrange storage market share this year has dropped to 22 percent, compared to 25 percent for EMC's Clariion and just over 23 percent for Network Appliance.

To help solution provider partners target the midrange, HP plans to put an additional 25 storage specialists in the field to support solution providers targeting the small- and midsize-business market in the next couple of months, Gonzalez said.

"The job of the storage specialists is to work with partners, not against them," he said. "They get significantly more compensation if they work with partners."