HP teams with Qwest, Intira for storage on demand
Hewlett-Packard and Qwest Communications International recently announced a three-year initiative to deliver storage on-demand services through Qwest`s nationwide Web hosting facilities. Customers will use a broadband Internet connection to access data stored on HP hardware and software located at Qwest`s CyberCenters.
The announcement may signal a significant step toward realizing the emerging "storage utility" vision of system and service vendors. HP and Qwest officials maintain the alliance will answer an emerging customer need to outsource applications and storage. Research findings from the Boston-based Forrester Research consulting firm show that by 2004 more than 90% of legacy data will be accessible through the Internet.
HP`s move follows similar storage outsourcing initiatives by vendors such as StorageTek and independents such as StorageNetworks Inc. (see related story on this page).
"We think this is indicative of the way the market is going, and reinforces HP and Qwest`s vision that computing is going to be provided over high-capacity broadband access," says Nick Earle, senior vice president of HP`s enterprise computing group. The two companies plan to offer storage services such as backup and recovery, remote data copying, security, and disaster recovery.
For companies willing to give up some control of their data, outsourcing storage operations will alleviate the procurement, management, and maintenance headaches associated with internal IT operations, according to HP and Qwest officials. The two companies expect to generate as much as $1.5 billion in revenues over the pact`s three years.
"As applications become an on-demand service, storage will follow right behind," says Lewis Wilks, Qwest`s president of Internet and multimedia markets. Within two weeks of opening its Sunnyvale, CA, CyberCenter in August, Qwest`s 50,000-sq.-ft. facility was at capacity.
HP will supply several hundred million dollars of hardware, software, and services to support the building of seven CyberCenters in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Tampa, and Sterling, VA by the end of 2000. HP`s SureStore E Disk Array XP256 will be installed with SureStore software to provide centralized management, continuous access, backup/restore, and disaster recovery capabilities. The software suites include SureStore SAN Manager, Node Manager, Business Copy, Continuous Access, Secure Manager, MetroCluster, and ContinentalCluster.
In a separate announcement last month, Intira Corp. (formerly digital broadcast network) tapped HP (which has an equity stake in Intira) as its primary storage provider. Intira provides IT and network outsourcing services, or "netsourcing." The company will use HP`s SureStore E Disk Array XP256 RAID arrays and software, in a SAN configuration, to include storage outsourcing services in its offerings. Intira launched the partnership by buying 5TB of XP256 storage for its New York City data center.
According to Jeff Condon, vice president of product development at Intira, the company`s storage services will include primary array storage for customers` databases, backup and restore, and remote mirroring. Condon says that the economic justification for storage outsourcing is similar to the mainframe-sharing model: "It`s analogous to sharing time on a mainframe in the old days, as opposed to buying a mainframe."