HP began selling the OpenView Storage Provisioner software last week, adding a tool for users of storage hardware acquired when the company bought Compaq.
The software will allow users to set up policies that automate tasks such as freeing up more storage space for an application and backing up data. The new product is similar to EMC's Automated Resource Manager software that also started shipping last week.
"This offers customers a clear time and cost saving in that it cuts down tasks that used to take hours, days or even weeks to something that can be done in a few minutes," said Don Langeberg, director of marketing of network storage solutions at HP. "It also reduces the amount of human intervention, which can sometimes translate into human errors."
Storage system rivals HP and EMC are locked in a fierce battle to provide customers with software than can manage storage hardware from a number of vendors. Their efforts to open up their storage platforms and develop advanced software could have a big payoff for the end user.
Jamie Gruener, senior analyst at The Yankee Group, said: "These tools help automate a lot of the manual tasks that administrators have been challenged by and are a top priority for the enterprise."
HP's provisioning software fits into the company's OpenView Storage Area Manager (SAM) suite of software. It iwill work with the storage hardware HP acquired in its merger with Compaq and then will be extended to additional HP hardware and products from other vendors some time next year.
Administrators can use the OpenView Storage Provisioner to handle a wide range of tasks. The software will automate the steps needed to designate a certain class of storage system for a particular application and also to free up more space for that application if the need arises. Users can also set up policies to tell the software when it should take snapshots of data for backup purposes. The new product also will alert administrators to potential problems such as dwindling storage capacity.
HP has built in some billing functions for the OpenView Storage Provisioner, which will report on how much storage a certain groups of users is consuming and what types of performance they receive.
Pricing for an entry-level configuration of the software, which includes the OpenView Storage Management Appliance needed to run the applications, will start at $20,000, HP said.