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Storage

HP unpacks storage updates

Swaps out new midrange systems for old and highlights its vision of a modular future for storage.

Hewlett-Packard revamped its midrange storage systems Monday and introduced a framework for future storage technology.

The company replaced two members of the Enterprise Virtual Array product line, the 3000 and 5000, with three models, the 4000, 6000 and 8000. The new systems have greater top capacity and faster communication performance, HP said. The addition of the EVA 6000 means customers now can buy an intermediate system: The 3000 and 4000 have 56 hard disks, the 5000 and 8000 have 240 disks, but the 6000 straddles the divide with 112 disks.

The broader product line should help HP compete against storage makers EMC and Network Appliance, particularly for sales through HP reseller partners, Merrill Lynch analyst Shebly Seyrafi said.

Also on Monday, HP announced its Enterprise File Services (EFS) Clustered Gateway, a network-attached storage, or NAS, system built using HP ProLiant DL380 servers linked together with clustering software from PolyServe.

The company also released its WAN Accelerator, which speeds data transfer over wide area networks. HP said the device will provide faster file sharing and other features that will make it feasible for large companies to move storage systems from branch offices to a central location, where they are easier to manage.

Inconsistent profitability in HP's storage and server group has been a sore point for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, but it is working to keep customers interested.

One carrot the company is dangling is a vision called the HP StorageWorks Grid, which deals with how storage should work in the future.

Under that vision, storage systems should be easy to expand, configure and operate, said Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group. The systems would combine small modules of mainstream technology components called smart cells, and a virtualization layer would shield the software using the storage system from particulars of the smart cells, so that configurations can be changed easily.