HP updates XP high-end storage

Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage

Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage

HP has announced updates to its XP7 high-end storage offering that bring some of the virtualization technology introduced in its 3Par product line up into the enterprise space.

XP is HP’s highest-of-the-high storage offering, designed for mission critical applications in large enterprise environments. The company boasts “six nines” availability, and Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage, said it’s not unheard of for units to see 100 per cent uptime over a number of years.

With the new release, HP introduces the ability to do autonomous virtual arrays within the XP7, with each subset presenting itself as a full unit to the network and to admins. Similar technology, called virtual private arrays, has been available in the 3Par lineup for some time, but the company is keen to bring them into more traditional storage environments.

“It lets you change resources physically without moving those applications. That’s important when you look at the install base of those using XP. They may be a bit more conservative, but they’re looking to navigate the journey from traditional IT to IT-as-a-service just like everyone else,” Parks said.

Although Canada is primarily a nation of SMBs, XP does enjoy a decent footprint in this country. Parks said there are more than 100 XP customers in Canada.

With the new version, customers are able to migrate from the previous two releases of XP up to XP7, even across different data centres, without taking applications offline, further its uptime story.

At the same time HP is updating its more traditional XP high-end storage, the vendor is urging partners selling XP to also take a look at its 3Par lineup. The company has extended 3Par both upwards into larger enterprise accounts and downwards into the midmarket, and is positioning it as its primary storage platform. It’s also a much bigger channel play. While channel accounts for about 35 per cent of XP sales in the Americas, Parks said HP has grown its channel base around 3Par over the last year, and that in turn has helped make 3Par one of HP’s fastest growing product lines ever. By selling both, Parks said partners can be ready for enterprise needs, whether it’s a traditional high-availability storage infrastructure with XP, or a more IT-as-a-service environment with 3Par.

“It’s about helping them navigate their own journey,” Parks said.

That said, there are significant channel opportunities around the XP7, including a storage consolidation story due to the XP7’s extended capacity and improved performance.

“If [customers] are able to consolidate two or three or four legacy boxes, they can make a significant return on investment by moving to XP7,” Parks said.

The XP7 lineup starts shipping next month, although partners are able to place orders now.

Existing XP-authorized partners will have access to XP7 immediately. New partners must have staffers complete both a four-day instructor-led technical training course, and a two-hour Web-based sales training course.

Unsurprisingly for a product that carries a $450,000-plus list price and focuses on large enterprise customers, the company maintains a smaller channel for XP than some of its more mainstream products, with the focus on deep storage practices, and significant consulting and services expertise around storage.