Q&A with HP

Q&A with HP

Marilyn Edling

General Manager

HP`s Enterprise Storage Division

Tom Rallens

Product Marketing Manager


InfoStor: You describe EMC`s SAN strategy as overly proprietary. Why is their SAN approach any more proprietary than other vendors` SAN approaches?

Edling: EMC is not necessarily more proprietary than Dell, Sun, or Compaq. All of them, however, are more proprietary than HP. What we announced, with our Fibre Channel switch, Storage Node Manager and MC256, is a SAN architecture that provides choice. For example, our customers today can deploy HP storage products, StorageTek tape libraries and Symmetrix arrays. No other company?system or independent storage provider?enables that.

InfoStor: The MC256 array appears to be based largely on HDS` Freedom 7700E technology. How is this reseller deal different from the Symmetrix reseller deal?

Edling: It`s significantly different. First of all, it`s not a reseller arrangement; it`s an OEM arrangement. We OEM the core storage engine and added significant IP [intellectual property] around that; specifically, in firmware, the Fibre Channel connect that`s provided by HP, and solution integration in things like MC ServiceGuard and mission-critical suites. All of that is added by HP. In fact, the product is so differentiated that Hitachi Data Systems is going to be a reseller of MC256. In Japan, Hitachi Ltd. is going to re-OEM this product under its own label.

InfoStor: You said you plan to continue to support Symmetrix arrays in your installed base, but do you plan to continue to resell them? Are you going to position the MC256 directly against Symmetrix?

Edling: We are going to continue to resell the Symmetrix product. We`re committed to choice.

InfoStor: What are the advantages of the MC256 over Symmetrix?

Rallens: No single points of failure in the array. And the MC256 supports mirrored cache. When you write data to the array, the data goes into two different cache boards that are supported by two different power buses. If you have trouble on one cache board, you have a mirrored copy and can continue to operate with the other one. That is not true with Symmetrix. There`s only one cache board for the array.

Another difference is that the MC256 is scalable from a low-end 60GB configuration to 9TB with no replacement of the frame. With Symmetrix, you have three different frames to go from the low end to the high end, and each time you exceed a capacity boundary you have to actually replace the frame. We have the ability to scale across that entire range without replacing the frame.

The last differentiator is that we have the ability to do online firmware updates, such that the application environment is not disrupted. That is not possible with Symmetrix.

InfoStor: In addition to its high-end disk arrays, HDS has RAID arrays that could be considered mid-range. How will your deal with HDS effect your reseller agreement with Clariion? Will you continue to resell Clariion arrays, or will you offer HP arrays as alternatives?

Edling: With the joint technology agreement with Hitachi, we will be primarily focused on the high end and SAN technology. As to how we refresh our portfolio over time, you`ll have to stay tuned.

InfoStor: The MC256 and accompanying software suites are available now. What`s on the horizon?

Edling: Server-less backup will be ready toward the second half of this year.

Rallens: We announced zero downtime backup and a totally automated solution environment, which will be available in the latter part of this year as well. You can do it now, but it`s not totally automated yet.

Edling: I think what distinguishes this announcement is that we introduced real products, of which 95% are available today. I think that distinguishes us from companies like Sun.

This article was originally published on June 01, 1999