HP anniversary: Work remains on HP/Compaq storage merger

One year after Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Compaq officially became one company, HP has not yet finished merging its storage product...

One year after Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Compaq officially became one company, HP has not yet finished merging its storage product line.

Some product phase-outs and new product introductions are scheduled for later this year. Still, analysts are impressed with the progress.

Compaq ruled the storage front in Europe, the Middle East and Africa before it was bought and many Compaq names, products and people remain at HP's storage division, which also had to cut about 10% of its staff as a result of the merger and the economic downturn.

About 60% of the people at HP's Network Storage Solutions unit come from Compaq, including Howard Elias, general manager of the unit and an HP senior vice-president, and Olaf Swantee, vice-president EMEA.

"They do the merger well. They select the best people and the best products; there is no battle and no hostages are being taken," said Josh Krischer, a Germany-based research director with Gartner.

ENSA (Enterprise Network Storage Architecture) was Compaq's storage strategy and has been adopted by HP, which had its own FSAM (Federated Storage Area Management) strategy. Carly Fiorina, HP's chairman and chief executive officer, this year spoke at [email protected], originally a Compaq event.

"Both strategies went in the same direction, with the objective to provide storage as a utility," said Martin Regli, EMEA manager product management for HP's storage unit. Regli is also from Compaq.

Under its ENSA Extended strategy, formulated in April 2002, HP is focusing more on storage management and storage virtualisation and less on the actual San, Nas and Raid (redundant arrays of inexpensive discs) hardware. Based on that strategy, the company decided which products would stay and which products would have to go, Regli said.

The first overlap was in the interconnect area. Both HP and Compaq resold switches for storage networks from Brocade and McData. The merged HP is still working on a new switch portfolio, Regli said.

Looking at the actual data storage hardware, HP also has some work to do to get to a clear product portfolio.

For small companies, requiring up to 6Tbytes of storage capacity, the line up is clear. The MSA1000, previously from Compaq, is the only offering, since HP had no competing product. "It was kind of an adopt and go," Regli said.

It gets more complex at the mid-range level, for companies requiring about 8Tbytes of storage. Both HP and Compaq offered products at that level and those are still sold today, but will be phased out later this year and replaced by a mid-range version of Compaq's EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) product for the enterprise.

HP's virtual array 7100 and 7400 series will be phased out later this year and so will Compaq's modular array 8000 mid-range system.

"We will only have one mid-range product," Regli said.

In the enterprise area, where one system can hold about 35Tbytes of data, Compaq has its EVA offering, while HP resells the Freedom 9900 system from Hitachi Data Systems as the HP disc array XP1024.

The systems are different; the EVA is good for a storage network, while the XP1024 is meant for a mainframe environment.

"We will keep both, because they are different," Regli said.

In back-up tape libraries, both HP and Compaq had different reseller agreements. HP sold StorageTek products from Storage Technology while Compaq resold Quantum and Overland Storage products. The merged HP dropped Storage Technology.

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