Enterprise customers take two different approaches to SAN-based business infrastructure deployments, according to Michael Fineberg, chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard's network storage solutions organization. One group will literally buy an application software, servers and storage from a single one-source supplier. The second type of customer "makes vendor-independent best- of-breed decisions, meaning they select Oracle software, Sun servers and HP storage," Fineberg says. But all too often, that customer wants an outside partner to help choose, integrate and deploy the products.

One of the main reasons HP merged with Compaq was to strengthen its ability to meet the needs of both customer types. "I don't think you can exist in today's competitive market unless you do both," says Mark Lewis, HP vice president of marketing. According to Fineberg, even if a customer is planning to look elsewhere for some key infrastructure components, vendors must have a full range of products before customers will talk to them about their business infrastructure needs.

Indeed, some might say HP's plate is too full because of overlap – if not outright duplication – in key storage and server products. A survey of 28 HP-Compaq customers entitled, "End-user perspectives on the HP-Compaq merger," published by the investment banking firm Robert W. Baird in April, found that 67 percent were concerned with technology roadmap/investment protection because of the merger.

On the high end, HP will continue to offer both the large XP subsystems it resells from Hitachi, as well as Compaq's modular Storageworks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) storage offerings. Support will continue for the midrange HP Virtual Array and Compaq EMA lines until, sometime during the next few years, they are consolidated onto a next- generation product based on EVA technology.

NAS and SAN products will converge, so that NAS devices will be accessible via SANs. HP will continue to resell SAN products from its existing suppliers, such as McDATA and Brocade.

HP will continue to offer StorageWorks tape libraries for midrange and enterprise customers, adding LTO support. It will continue to offer DLT/ SDLT and Ultrium tape drives.

HP's main storage management offering will be the HP OpenView Storage Area Management (SAM) suite. Selected pieces of Compaq management software, such as storage resource management, will be integrated into SAM over time, Lewis notes. HP's Omniback II will be the strategic platform for lifecycle data management. Compaq's High Availability/Replication suite will be augmented with selected capabilities from HP's product.

HP will continue to support Compaq management software that is specific to Compaq server and Storageworks arrays, such as Securepath and Data Replication Manager.

Elisabeth Horwitt, Storage Networking World Online, June 24, 2002

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