Low expectations forecast for HP's board
Earning a Seat for Government Migrations

HP networked storage on view via Connect

The Connect HP enterprise user group is wrapping up its early-bird rate for the new Storage & Networking Symposium tomorrow, Oct. 15. The user group that took over for the now-defunct Interex promised to mount more conferences in 2011, and this event is being held in Europe to fit in the geographic slot where broader-scope Germany-based meetings have been in past years.

The meeting is three days, Nov. 16-18 in the Ramada Micador, located in Niedernhausen close to the city of Wiesbaden and convenient to the Frankfurt airport. The early bird price for Connect members is 100 Euros less through tomorrow (510 €) plus 19 percent tax for a 2-day conference. An extra day of deep hands-on education brings the total to (810 €) at the early bird rate. (Connect says the hotel is 4-star with rooms starting at 99 € nightly; airfares to Europe are at record lows right now.)

Why go? HP's storage solutions, especially the newest ones aimed at small to midsize companies, will have use for migration-bound 3000 customers as well as those who will operate homestead 3000s alongside other environments. HP's been buying plenty of third party solutions -- the multi-billion 3Par acquisition gets HP into advanced cloud-based storage. There's the new deduplication technology developed in HP's own labs, probably a better fit for the non-3000 elements of an enterprise. But the LeftHand acquisition gives HP an entry that can fit in a midsize enterprise environment.

Scott Hirsh, a former 3000 systems manager who's now an IT Infrastructure Architect at reseller Forsythe Solutions, said HP's acquisitions are being pitched as an alternative to EMC's and IBM's array solutions. Some of the new HP headroom and flexibility began with adding LeftHand, which Hirsh said was basically storage software. The storage solutions under 20 TB look like a good fit for a 3000 data profile.

"3000 shops typically don't have a lot of capacity," Hirsh said, "because the data is so ASCII-based. So it doesn't add up the way rich content does. It works for 1-10 terabytes, because those are really important terabytes."

Storage has stopped being pinned to compatibility with specific server environments. HP usually doesn't position its storage as "Unix-ready" or "runs on Windows." Solutions like the new D2D 4312 -- which offers higher capacity and performance, as well as StoreOnce deduplication -- are run by what HP calls "applicances." Those devices are just enough OS to control the IO and often hosted on a Linux mini-server. In short, matching drivers seems to matter a lot less than the classic 3000 configurations for networked storage.

HP talked up StoreOnce as a breakthough Labs-based technology for deduplication. This process to reclaim capacity and keep needs in check "isn't that important" in the 3000 environment's typical database profile, Hirsh said. "Dedupe is getting there, and people keep talking about it, but it's really not for primary data."

Regardless of how compelling the HP storage solutions can compete with non-HP systems, deep-dive analysis will be of help to the IT manager who's going to hear a lot from HP about new products.

Connect promises switch configuration classes and a workshop on the P4000 (LeftHand) iSCSI SAN solutions as part of the conference. Highlights offered by the user group include

EVA, XP, X9000, Solid State Drives, ...
Virtual Connect, Flex Fabric
HP Networking (Procurve + 3COM)
Security, Business Continuity and Availability
Updates of Roadmaps (Hardware, Software, Technologies)
Tip and tricks for HP hardware, software, operating systems, databases, management software and networks