Sources: HP Embraces Object Storage Startups, Partners Call StoreAll Product 'Ibroke'

Hewlett-Packard is apparently making a push into object storage with two of the hottest vendors in the space.

That is because sales of its own StoreAll object storage product have fizzled, according to HP partners.

HP has existing technology partnerships with Cleversafe and Scality, two highly-regarded object storage vendors and uses their technology with its ProLiant servers. HP quietly posted a new webpage on Monday with more details about the joint offerings it's delivering through the vendors.

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The new partner-led push into object storage comes in the wake of poor or possibly non-existent sales of the company's StoreAll technology, which is based on technology HP received with its 2009 acquisition of Ibrix.

HP's Cleversafe-based object storage solution combines Cleversafe's dsNet object storage software with HP's ProLiant Gen (Generation 8) SL4540 servers running the storage side, along with HP ProLiant DL360p servers running the access side.

The Scality solution can be configured using the ProLiant SL4540, DL380 or DL360 servers.

HP isn't commenting on its reasons for posting the object storage webpage, and neither is Scality.

A spokesperson for Cleversafe also declined comment, but noted "there are other servers in the HP ProLiant family that are well suited" for the joint HP-Cleversafe offering.

Last week, sources told CRN HP planned to unveil an OEM agreement with Cleversafe to boost its object storage capabilities. That may yet come to pass, but HP appears to also be focused on Scality.

An HP spokesperson said a "key element" of its object storage strategy is to provide end-to-end hardware and software support, which it does with StoreAll.

While HP resells products from other vendors, "they do not constitute a strategic storage solution since these typically lack end-to-end HP hardware and software support," the spokesperson said.

HP partners told CRN the vendor is focusing more on Cleversafe and Scality because the Ibrix-based StoreAll isn't selling well.

While the HP StoreAll product line -- which consists of three appliances -- is supposed to scale to handle up to 16 petabytes of data, partners said the product hasn't performed as advertised. One longtime HP partner described StoreAll products as "complete junk" that do not scale as advertised.

NEXT: Partners Turn From "Ibroke" StoreAll As HP Turns Towards Cleversafe, Scality

"Inside HP, the sales reps call Ibrix 'Ibroke,'" the HP partner said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It doesn't scale at all. It is touted as an EMC Isilon competitor, but it doesn't seem to scale beyond two nodes."

Some HP partners said they have stopped selling StoreAll, and at least one partner has had a customer return the product to HP because of the performance issues.

Another longtime HP partner told CRN he has only sold one StoreAll solution, and that didn't go well.

"The customer was unable to find an appropriate use for it," the partner said. "It didn't do what the customer thought it would do."

An HP spokesperson said HP is still selling StoreAll, both through the channel and directly to customers, and that it was mentioned in an HP press release as recently as this week. But partners told CRN they believe HP has been telling partners via word of mouth not to continue selling StoreAll because of the problems.

The purported scalability issues with StoreAll contrast with Cleversafe and Scality's ability to handle massive amounts of data, partners said. These vendors also offer things like standardized API integration, secure multi-tenancy and the ability to disperse data across storage nodes, which HP StoreAll lacks, partners said.

Object storage is a fast-growing part of the storage market. IDC in late 2013 estimated that the market for commercial, object-based storage devices will expand by a cumulative annual growth rate of 27 percent through 2017 to reach $21.7 billion.

IDC ranked Cleversafe and Scality in its report atop its list of leaders in the object storage market.

Object storage treats data as objects rather than as files or blocks of data, making it useful for storing and managing the fast-growing amount of unstructured data which includes data that is not stored in a pre-defined manner.

With object storage, data is stored as flexible-sized objects rather than the fixed block sizes used for storing data in traditional SAN arrays, making it more suitable for handling unstructured data or data in a cloud.

One HP partner told CRN he expects HP to OEM the software of one or both of its new object storage partners, as opposed to acquiring one or both of them.

"HP's probably a little gun-shy from its Ibrix acquisition," the solution provider said. "OEM is a smarter strategy."