HP teams up with Brocade

HP is extending its relationship with Brocade Communications Systems and leveraging the vendor’s SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform as its looks to deliver adaptable, continuous and cost effective storage management in heterogeneous environments.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  March 27, 2003

Partnership|~||~||~|HP is extending its relationship with Brocade Communications Systems and leveraging the vendor’s SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform as its looks to deliver adaptable, continuous and cost effective storage management in heterogeneous environments.

The joint development, which is part of HP’s ENSAextended architecture, combines the vendor’s VersaStor technology with Brocade’s intelligent SAN switches. The completed offering will also extend the capabilities of other HP storage area network (SAN) products, such as OpenView continuous access storage appliance (CASA) and the OpenView storage area management (SAM) software.

“The deal with Brocade is part of our overall strategy based on the ENSAextended architecture, which is to deliver an adaptive storage infrastructure,” says Bosco Moraes, network storage solution product marketing manager, UAE, Gulf & Eastern Mediterranean, HP.

“Part of this architecture is our virtualisation strategy and the highest level of our virtualisation technology is the VersaStor technology. We have a vision of taking VersaStor network-wide… and because Brocade is the first to market with intelligent switches that have routing capabilities it is natural we would want to work with them,” he continues.

According to Moraes, extending virtualisation capabilities throughout the network and SAN environment will provide enterprises that have large heterogeneous storage solutions with higher performance levels and easier consolidation & scalability.

“This type of solution would be ideally suited to our enterprise customers that have heterogeneous storage environments or those that have a really huge amount of storage. This [HP/Brocade solution] will provide them with a platform to get higher performance out of the SAN and the ability to consolidate all their heterogeneous storage assets,” he explains.

Utilising the intelligent switching capabilities of Brocade’s platform alongside other HP products, such as CASA, will also enhance backup, replication and snapshot processes, with smaller amounts of data filtered through CASA and larger amounts of data directly routed from the host to the storage area.

“Our teamwork with HP delivers on the promise of fabric-based applications to help enterprises save costs and simplify storage management,” affirms Greg Reyes, chairman & CEO of Brocade.

“Our approach assures total investment protection for the customer. Today’s SAN customers will be able to seamlessly integrate HP OpenView CASA into their existing SAN fabrics and gain the benefits of fabric-based applications,” he adds.

HP and Brocade plan to start beta testing the switches around the June/July timeframe, with a commercial release expected before the end of this year. The vendors also believe the products have widespread appeal for both their installed base of customers and those using other storage solutions. “We can address off base storage — customers that are using other storage arrays — because we have CASA that can consolidate storage from different vendors,” says Moraes.

Moraes does, however, outline the lifecycle of the storage environment and explain that the intelligent switches fit in nearer the end of this cycle when the SAN environment has grown and enterprises are looking to their protect investment and extend the capabilities of their existing solution.

“[For example,] users could start off with a SAN from HP and then go for a management platform such as HP OpenView SAM. For heterogeneous storage they can use the CASA to replicate and move data from more expensive storage environments to less expensive ones. Then users can add the intelligent switches to scale the performance — customers that are basically at the limit of their performance can enhance it with these switches,” he explains.

While the joint initiative with Brocade will extend HP’s capabilities in the SAN environment, the vendor is also working together with Microsoft to address the network attached storage (NAS) market.

The development work between HP and the software giant is designed to enhance the performance of its NAS boxes, with full NAS integration expected by the end of this year.

“Microsoft realises that storage is becoming more strategic to customers,” comments Moraes. “Within Microsoft they have a dedicated storage team that is working with our HP team to deliver products that are optimised for NAS environments. Most of our new NAS boxes will have much better performance because Microsoft’s software kits that work on our boxes will offer more [storage] functionality,” he adds.||**||

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