HP to Raise Storage Grid Profile

After a miserable quarter that saw its storage revenues plummet
15 percent, HP is looking to get back on the horse and
reclaim some of its lost market share.

The Palo Alto, Calif. company next week will prop up StorageWorks Grid, technology it introduced
back in May to fuel its information lifecycle management strategy.

Company executives, including CEO Carly Fiorina, will host a conference call
discussing the technology Tuesday.

The idea behind StorageWorks Grid is to have a number of commodity storage
“cells” or compartments, which can take on different identities, such as
network-attached storage, block or content-addressed storage. The cells are
self-contained, with a dedicated processor, search engine, database, index
and management layer. The Grid runs on standard storage arrays.

Nancy Hurley, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst, said there are a few
unique features that make this different than anything else available,
including the fact that each cell can communicate with the other, share
input and output, load balance and parallel process queries.

“These cells are dynamic; you can load and
unload personalities on an on-demand basis,” Hurley told
internetnews.com. “If I need more block capacity (or
processing), I can reassign an under-used NAS block. The intelligent communications grid will take care
of all of the provisioning and adjustment to the file system, etc.”

While having more “intelligent” systems is the goal of most IT companies
looking to tempt customers with their wares, such breakthrough intelligence
has been slow to reach fruition in the real-world market.

IBM, for one, is prepping a similar technology called Intelligent Storage Bricks,
code-named Ice Cube. Several years in the
making, the project
is taking the supercomputing approach and applying it to a hybrid
server/storage system, which is essentially a block of hardware containers
made up of several cubes.

The cubes, independent computing servers or storage servers that perform
virtualization tasks independently, comprise an entire data
center. The machine is perhaps three years or more from seeing the light of
day and is intended as the company’s replacement for its TotalStorage Shark
Enterprise Storage Servers.

Hurley said that HP and IBM are the only companies that
have the labs to perform such innovative research. But the fact that HP has
something tangible gives it a leg up.

“It truly is a revolutionary new approach for them,” said Hurley, who
expects there will be storage grid advancements soon. “If they can execute,
it will definitely change how storage is implemented.”

HP’s StorageWorks Grid forms the basis of the company’s Reference
Information Storage System (RISS), which stores and archives
information, so it can be found and retrieved quickly.

RISS, which includes assets from HP’s acquisition of Persist Technologies,
is part of the company’s information lifecycle management strategy for
managing information from “cradle to grave.”

More broadly, StorageWorks Grid RISS and ILM are all core pieces of the
company’s overarching Adaptive Enterprise strategy for aligning the proper
measure of IT service levels with business needs.

HP’s Adaptive Enterprise goes head-to-head with IBM’s
on-demand computing foray.