HP to emphasise storage software, look for overlap between arrays and servers

HP admits its storage business is underperforming in terms of revenue, but says smarter storage management software and commoditised hardware can improve financial performance.

HP is working to make its storage devices more like its servers, according to Jim Wagstaff, Vice President and General Manager of HP's StorageWorks Division with responsibility for Asia Pacific and Japan.

"Only 35% of components in our storage products are leveraged from our servers," Wagstaff told SearchStorage ANZ yesterday. "We want to get out of the custom ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) business," he added, and instead use common parts across servers and arrays.

The company has already headed in that direction, he said, as typified by some LeftHand models consisting of what Wagstaff described as "two ProLiant Servers."

HP believes the move to commodity hardware is inevitable across the storage industry because it is software, not hardware, that differentiates storage devices.

"The only reason we bought IBRIX was to get its Fusion File System," Wagstaff said, adding that HP now hopes to bring the features of that software into its LeftHand range to improve manageability and scalability, with scale-out devices very much on the company's mind.

The move to commodity hardware is also an admission that HP's sales of storage hardware have underperformed, Wagstaff said. Claiming that HP leads the industry in terabytes shippped, he said the company's storage revenue does not reflect its success. Research and development funds are therefore being funnelled into software development efforts to better differentiate the company's future products.

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